You may not think your business web presence has much impact on your company’s credit profiles and scores, but it does. While your business credit reports (more specifically the credit scores) aren’t directly impacted by your business web presence, it is a major part of the underwriting criteria for major banks, creditors, and lenders. They aren’t always just pushing your company’s application through some complicated approval algorithm. Most of the time, they have to manually look your company up using tools that you already have access to. Your odds of getting approved for loans, leases, and credit lines go up substantially if they are able to easily find your company.
Try this: Do a quick search for your company on Google and see what comes up. If you’ve given your company’s web-presence the back seat, you’ll probably find anything but relevant information about your company.
Let the items listed below serve as a checklist for what these underwriters are looking for when you apply for credit with them.
Your company website is one of the first items credit underwriters examine when evaluating your company’s credit worthiness. These days, any legitimate business has a website, whether your doing $1,000,000+ a year or moving homes on the weekends. You might say to yourself “But I don’t need a website. I only do business locally through referrals and word-of-mouth”. That’s fine, but a potential lender isn’t going to know that and if you don’t have a website, they’ll have nothing to go off of. Your website is a digital representation of your business and it should display the same level of professionalism that your business delivers to its customers.
Some sources we recommend for getting a website set up are:
- Vistaprint.com (this one reports to Dun & Bradstreet)
All 3 of these have very simple solutions for building a website. You don’t need to know code. If you can use Microsoft Word, then you can build a website with their easy website builders.
Any major bank is going to have a hard time believing that your company meets their requirements if your company’s email address ends with Gmail, Yahoo, etc. You should use a dedicated email address that follows a format of [your-name]@[your-business-name].com. This lets clients, prospective customers, and lenders know that your business is in it for the long-haul. Plus, website and email hosting is dirt-cheap these days, and if you already have a website, then you probably already have options to easily set up a company email address. Also, all of the companies we listed above include this with their website packages.
National Directory Listings (Yellowpages, 411, etc.)
Now, I know what your thinking: “Nobody uses phone-books anymore. Why do I need to list my company with Yellowpages?” Almost every one of these companies have changed their business model to now provide online listings for businesses. Because of this, these listings have become a valuable asset for anyone trying to distinguish their business online. For example: If an underwriter looks your company up and finds 5 different results for companies with a similar name, they won’t know which is yours. This can be especially difficult for companies that don’t have a distinct name (think Google, Yahoo, etc.).
Having your company’s info listed in as many places on the web as possible will make it hard not to find your company online. And you won’t run into issues with underwriters mistaking another company for your’s.
Social media might not seem important to your company, but it can be vital in making your company visible on the internet. If you look at any credible business, they almost always have accounts set up with every major social media platform. Similar to directory listings, they provide another source for underwriters, and even potential clients to find your company online.
More important than just having these accounts set up, you’ll need to update these profiles regularly. This can include sharing images of your work on Instagram or Facebook, making how-to-videos for YouTube, sharing news articles relevant to your industry on Twitter, and everything in between.
Having a good amount of positive online reviews will let underwriters know that you not only service a lot of clients, but that you are good at what you do.
Business referrals are the lifeblood of any small, emerging business. These days, people review their consumer experiences online. Sites like Yelp and Angie’s List offer a location for clients and customers to review businesses. Pay attention to your reputation on these sites. You can encourage clients to leave reviews for positive experiences and attempt to alleviate dissatisfaction by remedying iss