As was mentioned in part one, a new business owner will eventually encounter the good people from Dun and Bradstreet who can be quite aggressive in trying to get information on your business. Some small business owners consider this “none of your business,” but viewing D & B in this way is to immediately start heading down the wrong road. Instead, a better view point is to view your Dun & Bradstreet report as a marketing tool for your business, produced at D & B’s expense!
What this does not mean is giving Dun and Bradstreet everything that they want (or falsifying information which is actually a crime). It does mean giving D & B the information you want them to have! For example, if you have opened an auto repair service, have worked many years in the field before at a major garage, and sponsor a racing team, this shows a commitment to automotive industry both for work and leisure, that’s excellent press! This is a part of what D & B calls the ownership antecedents (your work history).
Continuing with the auto garage theme, if your company pays an auto aftermarket supplier like Jasper or Target like clockwork, list them as trade references (although large companies like this probably report via electronic trade). Know who the credit manager or credit analyst is and have their phone, fax, and e-mail ready. In fact, have a credit sheet prepared that you can give the D & B reporter, or fax or email in to D & B. Also have a bank reference with a business banker who is willing to talk to either D & B or your potential supplier’s credit department. This makes your new business look professional. Know what these people are going to say before you hand this information out by building a good relationship with them as was mentioned in part one. (When I was a senior credit analyst for a Fortune 50 company, I had a medium size business owner who called me every month to make sure that his accounts payable was paying within terms, and that I could in good conscience speak well of his company).
If your company has financials that are solid (ask your accountant how your companies balance sheet and income statement would look to a potential supplier), submit them to D & B who will then run some ratio analysis, and then tell the world how financially solid your small company looks. If your financials do not look that strong at the time, politely defer them for a later time.
Taking these steps can help your small company grow and add to its financial prestige, and the best part of it, Dun and Bradstreet helps you pay for it!
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