One of my employees just asked me how I would have benefited from Nav when I opened my first business almost 20 years ago.
I told him that Nav would’ve boosted me in multiple ways, but that its main benefit would have been helping me get my ducks in a row about business credit.
When I opened my sign company in my early 20s, I didn’t know anything about business credit. My ducks were all over the place, and I struggled as a result. Cash flow was constantly a problem, because none of my suppliers would extend me credit. I drove around begging customers to pay me early in order to make payroll.
Back in those early internet dark ages, solid information about building business credit was hard to come by. You had to teach yourself as you went along, and make a lot of dumb mistakes in the process.
Fast forward to today. Even with all the resources of the internet at their fingertips, small business owners still struggle to understand the importance of business credit. In fact, a recent study by Manta and Nav shows that 72% of business owners surveyed didn’t know their business credit score. Almost 60% didn’t even know where to find it.
What gives? How could so many smart people be so clueless about such an invaluable tool?
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The answer is simple. Running my sign company, I woke up every morning thinking of one thing: Signs. How was I going to build the next sign, install the next sign, service the next sign? I didn’t have the luxury to sit around worrying about business credit.
I sympathize with small business owners who don’t make it a priority. I’ve been there.
I also know what it feels like to have good business credit versus not having any at all. Good business credit eliminated my need to dip into personal funds to run my business. It enabled me to hire new employees and buy better equipment. It invigorated cash flow and opened the door to increased financing on improved terms. It brought order to chaos, as a surge in liquidity meant that I could react quickly to new opportunities without upsetting operations.
As noted in Manta and Nav’s whitepaper, good business credit earns you the trust of those you do business with, gives you a surefire advantage competing for lucrative business deals, reduces the need for personal guarantees to win business loans, and heightens your chances of qualifying for lower insurance rates.
So let’s talk.
Yes, you’re busy as hell. No, you don’t have a ton of extra time on your hands for research. My promise to you is that if you sacrifice and make a thorough study of business credit regardless, your future self will thank you as your opportunities grow.
Besides, homework mode won’t last forever. Although it may be difficult getting your ducks in a row, keeping them there is much easier.
I wish I’d had resources like Nav and Manta in my corner when I first started out. But you know what? Being in your corner now is a pretty great consolation prize.
This article was originally written on August 26, 2016 and updated on October 3, 2023.
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