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Secrets of Trade Credit vs Business Financing

Feb 29, 2008
When you look into getting items and services for your business, the goal is to minimize your personal guarantee and avoid touching your personal credit. A personal guarantee makes you and your partners liable if the loan ever defaults. In bad cases, your personal assets could be sold off to pay for a loan. You don't want to do that.

Let's look into Trade Credit and Business Financing as options for your business.

Business credit is usually credit between two businesses. If you case it would be between your business and another entity such as Dell computers. If you wanted to get computers from Dell, they would issue business credit in your business name and you would get your computers for your business. This is also known as trade credit. Usually you're limited to what you can purchase since it's with a single business. In the Dell example, you're not going to be able to use Dell's line of credit to purchase an automobile.

Usually with this form or credit there's no need for a personal guarantee. Some vendors may still ask for a personal guarantee but it's fairly uncommon. The higher your business credit score the less likely it will be that they will ask for a personal guarantee.

The other form of financing is business financing. Business financing are lines of credit for your business usually done though a bank. Banks will always want something secured. If they can't do it via an asset then they'll want a personal guarantee. This puts your personal items such as your own car, home, and family heirlooms at risk. If you default on the loan, a judge can order your assets to be sold to repay the loan.

The advantage is that you get more options in relation to items or services. It just depends on how you got the loan or financing. If you went into the bank and asked for financing for a truck then the money should only be used for a truck. However if the financing was for a loan, then you have more leeway. With the monies it's up to you to decide what you should ethically get. You'll probably get what was in your business plan but if there's money left over then there's more options.

Here are some tips to help you with your credit.

1. Try to get your debt to not show up on your credit report.
a. Sometimes businesses won't report the debt if everything is ok. If this doesn't happen then your debt to income ratio looks better. This gives you options for another loan if an opportunity comes your way.

2. Check your personal credit reports.
a. A good online service such as annualcreditreport.com or myfico.com allows you to check and monitor your credit reports. This will help you track mistakes and fix them quickly.

3. Separate your credit reports.
a. Make sure to get credit in your business name. Your personal credit is an important asset and you don't want a business mistake to keep you from being able to get a house, automobile or anything else that's important to you in the future.

Following those tips should help to protect you and your business. Please, don't get into the habit of damaging your personal credit. It's your number one asset. You could always start another business but you can't legally start another you.
About the Author
Scott Letourneau is the CEO of NCP, Inc. and an authority in helping people form entities, grow their business, and protecting the assets of that business. For additional information: 702-367-7373 or visit http://nvinc.com/business-credit.htm
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