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How many times have you filled out business credit applications, and had to use your personal credit to get approval?  Did you know that businesses have a credit report all of their own?

This week on Intrepid Entrepreneur, Ty Crandall of Credit Suite is sharing the secret to applying for and building your business’ credit, and how to keep your personal credit out of it.

He’s explaining how to get your business ready to apply for credit, and where to go first to build this credit. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the bank. We’re also digging into the benefits of working on business credit instead of personal credit. As Ty says, “Anybody can bootstrap a business, it just takes longer.”

There’s so much important, practical business information in this episode, so get ready to take notes on this one!

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Bravery in Business Quote

“The truth behind crowdfunding is they’re set up that way. . .They already had tons of money from people.” — Ty Crandall

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Cliff Notes

 

  • Ty Crandall, owner of Credit Suite, a company that helps entrepreneurs build a credit report for their business.
  • People don’t realize that their business have credit and a credit score because no one talks about it or teaches them how to start building this credit.
  • A lot of businesses qualify for financing, but don’t know where to get it since bank loans are often the most rigorous to obtain.
  • Anybody can pull your business credit report without permission. For personal credit, people need permission but business information is public.
  • It doesn’t take much time to get your business credit started. But it takes more time to build your credit, fill out applications, etc. Just like personal credit, business credit grows and changes with the business.
  • If you have the business credit, you won’t need to ensure your business’ finances with your personal credit, but can rely on the company’s EIN and credit score to get financing. It’s a great way to protect your individual finances.
  • Business credit can speed up the start time of your company, because it gives you access to more funding and makes your business more credible. You can finance everything with your own credit, but it takes longer.
  • Crowdfunding can require a lot of money upfront. A lot of successful crowdfunding drives come into it with a lot of backers and financial support and are using the campaign as more of a PR event.

Steps to Building Business Credit

  1. Get your business credible on paper. Need: website, email address, address, phone number, specific to your business even if you work from home. Make sure every line on an application
  2. Go to “secret” vendor sources that will give credit to your business. They will give you credit even when you have none, and will report it to business credit reporting agencies so you can start building your credit. Take that to major businesses/retailers to apply for business credit cards.
  3. Start leaving out your SSN on applications. Leave that blank so that they will have to start pulling your business’ EIN to check business credit instead of personal credit.

“You can really go out right in the beginning and start obtaining capital through business credit without that personal guarantee“ – Ty Crandall

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Resources

CreditSuite.com

YouTube.com/channel (youtube channel)

Transcription (click to expand)

[INTERVIEW START]

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Ty Crandall, welcome to the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast.

Ty Crandall: I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I’m actually super excited that I have found you through Credit Suite–that’s Ty’s company. He’s the founder of Credit Suite. I found him through creditsuite.com. I’m just going to go ahead and let you explain because I almost went into it because I’m really excited about discovering this option. But just so you know dear audience, this is yet another awesome new way to put together funding, and to protect your credit, personally, as you’re building your business. So take it away, Ty. Tell us about Credit Suite.

Ty Crandall: Well, what we do is we help entrepreneurs build credit profiles for their business. So what all of us are familiar with is, obviously, the–we have a profile and score that’s linked to our social security number. But what a lot of business owners don’t know is that the business itself has its own credit profile and score that’s linked to that business [inaudible]. Even if you haven’t intended to build a business credit profile and score. The business reporting agencies get your information from rental companies and utility companies and all these different sources, so chances are good. Even if you haven’t even tried to build your business’ credit yet, you probably already have a profile started.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: And you’ve just recently launched something to help people like me and my listeners do this, correct?

Ty Crandall: Right. Yeah, last month, we rolled out our brand new business finance suite. And it’s an all-in-one system where people can go through step-by-step with our team and build their business credit from going from no credit, even as a start-up, to getting high-limit accounts that are in their business name, which means they’re not personally guaranteeing what’s happening within their business. There’s not even personal credit checks involved to obtain that kind of credit. And then we also help them with all aspects of getting business loans. So what we found is that a lot of business owners, they qualify for financing. They just don’t know where to go to get it.

So they’ll go to a bank or go to a source that offers one kind of product, and they might not qualify for that one kind of product. But they can typically qualify for a lot of other products that are out there. So we kind of pulled a lot of lenders, a lot of different products together into one place, and through the system, they can do both. They can get loans and they can go through all aspects on building their business credit.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: So this is, just so you know, audience, we’re recording this in the middle of August of 2016, and Verde is my other company. Everybody knows that who’s listening. I’ve had [inaudible] 15 years, and I’ve always had the credit for that tied to my social security number, my house, everything. And when I discovered your work, Ty, I was literally like, “How come I didn’t know about this?” And in fact, Verde does not–we’re not of the size to quality for “corporate credit cards,” okay? So I’ve even gone back and forth with my CPA, my banker, asking friends and family and people who are well-networked like what do I do in this situation. And literally, like, nobody mentioned this. So can you talk a little bit about why maybe people are–is it being hidden? Is this some sort of a conspiracy?

Ty Crandall: It’s a conspiracy! You know, I had the same problem. The first business I had was a mortgage company. I built it in the height of the mortgage industry, and was there through the fall of the mortgage industry. So I tied everything to me, personally, and I didn’t think anything about it. I just didn’t even know that another option existed. This was me being in the midst of a ton of financial experience. And I still didn’t know. Then years later, I would be asked, because I was in the consumer credit world, about what business credit was. And I didn’t really know, and I Googled it and I couldn’t find anything. And I looked and looked and there was just no information out there.

And then as I finally started to piece together what it was, it was a shocking. It was baffling to me. I didn’t know. I had no clue that a company had its own credit profile that was linked to the [inaudible]. And how easy it actually was to obtain, if you knew, the process. But what I’ve discovered through the years is this: there’s no reason that credit issuers are going to tell you about this because there’s no personal guarantee. Since we don’t know by default, we provide a personal guarantee. We were conditioned that when there’s a social security field on an application for credit, you fill it out like there’s never been a thought in our mind that you could leave that blank, force them to pull your business credit instead and make the approval decision that way.

So when you walk into Target or Walmart, they’re offered you 20% off to get their credit card. But they don’t offer you a 20% for a business credit card. They don’t even mention it. So that’s a lot of the problem, I think, is that these credit issuers don’t have a benefit in telling us about it because they like the fact that we’re volunteering our personal guarantee. And then companies get so big down the road that they get CFOs, they get financial divisions to their companies, and then those people know these things, and then they’re the ones that usually then go out and start to establish the corporate credit. So it works well for creditors because the bigger population that does know about it are really well-established, wealthy companies. And those companies, obviously, have less chance of failing.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. I totally appreciate exactly what you said as fact, but it definitely kind of–it rubs me a little bit the wrong way that they didn’t make this available to entrepreneurs because as you well know–sounds like you’ve started a couple of companies. We are so head down in terms of execution and focus, and honestly, just keeping ourselves positive through the ups and downs. I mean, knowing this existed, this is one of the major worries is where I’m trying to go. For me as a business owner with two businesses, and I’m sure my audience is in the same boat. So I’m so excited to have you on just to share the solution here. Did you just discover through your personal experience that this system works for an entrepreneur and a startup?

Ty Crandall: Well, yeah, basically. I mean, what happened was that at the time I owned a consumer credit company–and then when I discovered what this was, I was really angry, upset, frustrated–there was just a lot of emotions. I’ve been brought up that you just don’t complain about problems unless you’re willing to produce a solution. And I just kind of realized in that moment in time that I found my calling that I was going to stand up and let every entrepreneur that I could get ahold of, that would listen to know that this existed. And so then within a year, I’d sold my business and moved full blown into just teaching and educating about business credit, about corporate credit, what it was. And during that timeframe, I went from having a little bit of knowledge and understanding what it was to starting to take the steps to actually obtain it.

To actually build the business credit and go through the process and piece together all the information, all the facts I could. As I did so, I just put it out there and educated. I’ll never forget that because I remember seeing my YouTube channel and not even realizing I have subscribers. I didn’t know, and I had thousands of subscribers. And I had no background on my channel and I had no playlist–none of the things you’d have. I just did webinars and attract small groups of people and put it out there on the web. And then I came to realize how many people out there were interested in this topic. So that’s kind of how my path in the beginning of how I discovered it tested it for myself. And then as I was testing, just putting the information out there by what was going on in real-time, and then I found out how big of the audience, the entrepreneur spaces that wanted that kind of information.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. I actually think–sorry, the PR person in me, I’m like, “You really should get a column in Entrepreneur or [inaudible], one of these things.” I mean, honestly, I read those magazines pretty religiously in [inaudible]. Doesn’t it seem like it would be a perfect thing to have in there?

Ty Crandall: It’s a perfect thing. But it’s time, right? To get what these guys–and I’ve done articles and I’ve been featured in articles with all of them, but what it takes to be a contributing contributor is they want 4, 5 pieces a month of good content that requires research. You know how it is. I’m running a highly successful business on this side that occupies all my time, and I have a family here that I’m responsible for within the company. So eventually, but probably the next step for me is to bring a content writer and to help with that. But that’s like the one thing I can’t let go of yet. I like to write the content, the information that’s out there, but I don’t have enough time to do that although you’re right, it’s a brilliant idea.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: So tell me, how long has Credit Suite been in business?

Ty Crandall: We’ve been around for 5 years. We actually started as a division of another company, and then in 2015 was our first full year in business. It’s been a heck of a ride.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I’ll say it sounds like you’ve really grown a lot. So obviously, I’m working with–I love to think that my audience is special. And really, when it comes down to it, we’re all just business owners, we’re making it work, but at the same time, I love to provide content to people who are building businesses and industries that they choose to be and that really reflect the passion. So obviously, a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, some sport enthusiasts, health and wellness enthusiast, etc. How much time does it take? Because obviously, we want to protect our time because we want to build our businesses, but we also still need to also stay very connected to the passion that got us into this in the first place.

So I totally respect what you’re saying about respecting your time on content, etc. But can you give my audience a little bit of an idea if they’re just discovering this like I am, how much time does it take to really get it up and running? And this is really a great time of the year because so many of us are starting to plan for 2017.

Ty Crandall: You know, to get it started it doesn’t take a lot of time at all. To build your credit profile, it takes a lot of time. And that’s the same in the consumer space. If you really think about it, I mean, how much time have you really dedicated to building your consumer credit with all the mortgage applications and loan applications and the credit card applications and everything’s involved? So just like anything else, your credit profile builds with use an individual. And then as the business, it grows as well as the business grows. But to get started, it’s not that difficult. The first step is you have to make sure that your business is credible on paper. You need to have the business address and the business phone number and a website and an email address.

When you’re filling out an application for credit, they want to see that you’re legitimate business. Even if you’re working from home, you want to use something like a virtual address versus a home address. And you want to use a RingCentral phone for $10 or $15 bucks a month versus a mobile phone. So that’s really the first step of applying for any kind of money for your business. Just to make sure that every line you’re going to fill out on an application reflects that you’re an established, credible business. And then after that, it’s just a matter of going to kind of these secret vender sources that will give you credit, initially. And these are places like [inaudible] Monopolize Your Marketplace are a handful.

And these kind of creditors are very unique because they’ll do two things: they’ll give you credit even when you have none, and they’ll also report that credit to the business credit reporting agencies. And the minute you do that, then you have a credit profile, then you have a score. Hopefully it’s a good score if you’ve paid your bills on time or early. And then you can start taking that next step of walking into your Staples and your Best Buy and Amazon. And most major retailers offer business credit. The key is just that once you have 4, 5 trade lines established on your credit report, you want to start leaving your social security number off that application. You want to force them to pull your EIN credit to make the approval decision versus providing your social where you’re also providing that personal guarantee.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. There isn’t a line for that, but it’s acceptable to put your EIN right where the SSN normally goes on those applications.

Ty Crandall: We definitely can do that. It’s against federal law to put anything other than a social security number. Let me clarify, let me clarify. Because some people tried to get around it. People have credit problems on the consumer side, and they try to get these CPN numbers. CPN numbers are legal, you can get them, but you can never use anything in the place of a social security number on a social security number field. It’s like you’re breaking two walls to do when you do so. But every business application you fill out for credit is asking you for your EIN. You’re supplying the EIN anyways. So if you go and tell them: “I want a Staples business credit card,” they’re going to ask you for your business name, they’re going to ask your EIN.

And then when you get to the social field, you just don’t put anything there. You just leave it blank. And you’re going to run across people that will tell you you’re crazy, what are you doing, you have to fill this out. We can’t even process this application without it because they don’t know it’s just a lot of the frontline people–these stores, they don’t even know themselves if it’s possible. So you have to insist the application before without the social. And then when they do that, what they’re going to do is do what they’re going to do anyways, which is pull your business credit. But usually, they pull your business credit and your consumer credit both, and when you’re not putting the social there, they can only pull your business credit and then they go, “Oh, okay. Well, look. This company’s established. They have a good credit profile, they have a good score, there’s trade lines, there’s a high at $2,000, $3,000, $4,000. And they’ll make an approval decision based on that.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. And is there anything you need to know when you’re filing your taxes around this or is it, obviously, we probably all either bring our final return to a CPA for a signature, I hope, or we have CPAs, right? And I’m sure a CPA would understand how to deal with this.

Ty Crandall: It’s no different than anything else. Your CPA will love you because you’re truly separating it. I mean, their nightmares, when you’re trying to use personal credit cards to fund the business–that’s a nightmare to deal with because what you’re doing–you got your consumer credit–are you paying it with the business or are you paying it yourself on the consumer side? So they just love the simplicity of the separation. But it doesn’t do anything. Different on your taxes, it’s just, look–you’re going to probably go to Staples to get a business credit card anyways. Or Amazon or whatever it may be. Or Dell. The difference here is is that you’re doing the exact same thing. You’re just not providing the social or the personal guarantee. That’s the big difference. But from an accounting standpoint, it doesn’t make a difference then. They won’t do anything differently than they always have.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. That’s good to know. I’m literally asking questions because I’m curious, personally, because I’m going through this process myself. With two companies, everybody, so I’ve got little Intrepid that’s just over two years old that I have actually done the personal credit card bootstrap on. Which is a pain in the rear. And I did that also with Verde, 15 years ago. I had a baby, I was starting a company, I was like, “Whatever.” I didn’t really know this existed, and now we’re really well-established. And I can tell you, we have a lot of business credit lines already. But when it comes to getting a revolver through our bank which is how we’ve always done it, that’s what I’m curious about. Like I’d like to maybe not do that this year and move it to this. Is that something I go?

And again, really, I hope you understand, I’m coming up, hopefully, from the level of my audience or even less. Because that’s something that my banker–like I can apply for a business credit loan through them, using this. And I won’t [inaudible] my home.

Ty Crandall: It’s tough on me. When you get in–it depends on what the credit you have. So the really starting point for you is that you want to go to [inaudible] or you want to go to [inaudible] or you want to go to Equifax. Or maybe all three, and you want to get a copy of your business credit report. Because that’s what’s going to determine this. I mean, if they pull your business credit and = they see a ton of trade lines, a lot of accounts, a lot of debt, then your chances of getting more credit without the guarantee are much better. But if you really look at the definition of personal guarantee, it’s required when you don’t have a strong enough credit standing to go without it. And so that’s what’s going to determine what you can do with it. To get store credit cards, fairly use it [inaudible] very quickly. Just start going into banks and getting cash credit is more difficult to do. It just requires more established credit to be able to do so. So that really depends on what’s on your credit profile now.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. That’s great. Honestly, I think Verde is in a really great position to try some creative things here. But Intrepid on the other hand, I’m literally going to be starting exactly where everybody else does. So again, I’m just excited to know that this exists because I have gotten to the point–two years in where I’m like, “Wow, this is actually really starting to weigh down on me.”

Ty Crandall: Right.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: And I definitely have traction and I’ve got legitimate businesses making money, but it’s still very much in start-up [inaudible].

Ty Crandall: Where’s Verde out of? What city?

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I found it in Durango, Colorado, but our headquarters is now at Boulder, Colorado, and then we have an office in here. This is going to be a great one for you. We have an office in Jackson Hole, I bought a company up there` in 2009, another brand communications firm. We also have–so it’s Jackson, Boulder in Durango, and then I have a small office in Sun Valley, and we’ve done all of the tax setups for all of these states and everything else.

Ty Crandall: Nice! Nice!

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: We have to be in those mountain low [inaudible], right? That’s how we find the right people to show up and be absolutely stoked to sell telemark booths or whitewater kayaks or whatever to our magazine editors, and now consumers directly through social media. It’s really important that we live in these awesome places.

Ty Crandall: Hey, listen, I’m all about it. I love Florida because of the outdoor lifestyle here. I love to boat and do a lot of things outside so I could definitely relate.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. That’s why, again, it’s important to get these types of things set up and systematized so that we don’t get bit in the rear end or it doesn’t take up our time. It gives you more opportunity to grow your vision, too. I mean, that’s the one thing that I’m really good at bootstrapping and keeping me super lean. But it’s actually time for me to step up with Intrepid Entrepreneur to the next level, and that’s why I’m like, “Thank God I found this.” Because honestly, you have to have access to capitol to do that. And something with Verde, I don’t know how I got away with it, but I literally have never raised money for Verde. I’ve always just bootstrapped. And it’s 15 years old. But in the case of Intrepid, I’m like, “Now I actually think I want to do that.”

Ty Crandall: Sure. And that’s the thing. You can definitely do that. Anybody can bootstrap a business, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s fantastic to do that. The only problem is that it takes longer. And that’s the thing. The most successful companies out there are companies that–they have a concept, they roll it out, and people widely accept it, and boom, they immediately get to see capitol to blow it up. And so you can build any business by bootstrapping. I’ve been there. The only problem with it is is that it just takes more time to do it. And again, you’re attaching a lot of that to you, personally, so if things do go wrong, which we never, as entrepreneurs, even think can happen, but if it were to happen, then you take the hit.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. For sure. So I’m really excited about this. Just so everybody knows, too, there is a download on Ty’s website, c that gives you kind of a jumpstart with basically your four first steps, correct? It’s the free guide you have offered here?

Ty Crandall: Yeah. I’ve got a [inaudible] on the main site and then creditsuite.com/ein, and that really maps out the exact steps to actually build business credit.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. And then you have other free stuff I see on your site. What else have you got in there for people like us?

Ty Crandall: I’m big on free. I love free stuff.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. It’s my favorite color.

Ty Crandall: Yeah, me too. So if they go to the top of the page in creditsuite.com, there’s a YouTube channel, our YouTube channel link, and that’s just loaded with information. I mean, all kinds of videos that have mapped out exactly how to build business credit, set up your business credibly, and get your business listed everywhere for free, and how to choose the right entity where you don’t have [inaudible] the wrong liability there. And how to get business loans and what’s available out there in the business financial world. So our YouTube channel is packed full of so many free things and so much free information on basically how to get credit, how to get financing. And I think that’s a great resource as well.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Cool. I have to say, I had no idea that somebody in your field would have just how many people are following you on YouTube? I’m curious.

Ty Crandall: I don’t know. I guess probably like 10,000 now, I think are on our channel?

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s proud.

Ty Crandall: Well, yeah, it is. And that’s actually in the last year because what happened was we switched over our servers about a year ago, and when we switched over our servers, we lost our entire channel which was really sad because we had a massive following. So we had to start all over about a year ago. So that’s been about in the last year. I guess free is other people’s favorite color as well.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I’ll say. That’s awesome. Well I have to tell you–I mean, obviously, I made myself pretty vulnerable on this podcast, which I love to do with my audience. I mean, I’m in it right with them, with Intrepid for sure, and with Verde. Even though it’s more established, it’s an entrepreneurial company. And it’s crazy that this exists, and I just am so delighted that I was able to share you with my audience today. This fits in so nicely with some of the other creative funding solutions I put up there. But this one feels like it has a foot in traditional and a foot in non-traditional even though it’s more just because it’s not as discovered yet. You know what I mean? It feels like it’s very traditional. It’s not like crowdfunding.

Ty Crandall: Yeah, well, it is. And like I said, I really love what we have because I love what we do because it is. And what I like about it is that anybody could do it. Even as a startup, if you’re just got a concept and an idea, you don’t have to bootstrap. You could really go out right from the beginning and start obtaining capital through business credit without that personal guarantee, without that personal liability, which I think is awesome. Crowdfunding and those type of things are great if you have a great idea. But the truth behind crowdfunding is that those biggest projects you see about the news, they’re set up that way.

They already had tons of money from people ready to commit and they use the crowdfunding platform to put a really low amount they’re looking for, bring all these people in to really pump it up, to make it go viral. It’s tough to get money without going to that internal network of family and friends and business credit. It’s definitely a great path. Do it.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay. Well, you got my vote. Just so you know that. It’s funny because I actually interviewed a really fantastic visionary agency owner by the name of Roy [inaudible] who helps companies with PR efforts around crowdfunding. And it definitely sounds like it is literally–if you’re set up exactly the way you just described, it’s a great PR push, too. It’s just for visibility, and also getting that feedback from your consumers like through nauseatingly long 12-hour days on social media throughout the campaign.

Ty Crandall: Well, yeah, that’s the thing. What’s cool about the business credit world, what’s different is the consumer credit world have to have your permission to pull your credit report. But in the business credit world, anybody can pull your business credit report. Your competitors, your prospect, your clients, investors–your information’s out there. The employees, the revenues you have, the amount of tradelines you have, how you pay. Anybody can easily get that in a matter of a few clicks. It’s a scary thing. You have to control the perception that other people have about you, and the business credit is definitely one of the best ways to do that.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Wow. That’s something I probably should have started the podcast with, but thank you so much for saying that. I didn’t really realize that. That’s great.

Ty Crandall: Well, that’s it. I’ll go over. That’s why you heard me clicking because I pulled up Verde’s–

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Oh, God.

Ty Crandall: It’s here.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: [inaudible] if I want to have this in here, but go for it, I guess.

Ty Crandall: No, I won’t even talk about it. Just say I was going to talk to you about it after. I just thought it would be interesting takeaway to say.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I definitely want to talk with you about it after, but now that you’ve said that, everybody else can pull it up, too, and that’s fine.

Ty Crandall: Well, that’s it. Well then what we can do is we can put the outcome on the show notes page.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay, that’s a good idea. I’ll do that. Okay. Well, that’s amazing. And honestly, I knew I was going to learn a lot coming into this even though I’ve been devouring your content now for about two weeks since I discovered you. This has been fantastic. In fact, I’d like to even maybe invite you back to do a Q&A a couple months from now. And I really hope everybody on the call here or on the podcast rather will go and investigate creditsuite.com. It’s just another choice, it sounds like it’s super important for anybody who owns a business to be setting this up anyway, so check it out. There’s tons of great resources on here. Ty, you’re really on to something. Thank you so much for showing us the light.

Ty Crandall: Well, thank you so much for having me. Like I said, I’m excited to share them. I just want everybody to know the business credits out there so anybody can take advantage of it.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay, that sounds great. All right. Well, thanks so much. I’m sure we’ll be back in touch with you soon to get you back on the show.

Ty Crandall: Sounds good. Thank you so much for having me.

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Alrighty.

[INTERVIEW END]

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