If you’re like most business owners, you relied on personal funds or friends and family to open your first location. This makes sense, because getting a start-up loan for a liquor store is nearly impossible, with 72% of all small-business bank loan applications being denied.
Getting initial business funding is the hard part. But once you’re up and running, you can build your business’ credit profile to obtain financing to help you grow or open additional locations—if you plan ahead.
Separate Personal from Business Credit
First, you should take steps to build a business credit profile that’s tied to your company, not your personal finances. A few different credit bureaus exist that generate reports and scores based solely on your business. It’s similar to personal credit, but the scores mainly reflect whether your business pays its bills on time.
The higher your business credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for business financing in the future. A business can typically get 10 to 100 times more financing than an individual.
An easy way to is by opening business credit cards in your store’s name. You can start with small commercial credit accounts at companies like Lowe’s or Staples. Use the cards to buy items your business uses every day, like cleaning or office supplies. Just make sure you use your business’ Employer Identification Number (EIN) when applying.
It goes without saying, but you should always pay these bills on time—or early. Unlike personal credit, paying your business bills early can improve your credit score.
Apply for Vendor Financing
Each state has it’s own laws—it’s not always possible to get liquor distributor financing—but you should check. Just ask your distributor if you can get extra time (net-14 or net-30 day terms) to pay instead of paying cash-on-delivery.
This type of financing has two benefits:
1. It helps you build your business credit profile (as long as you pay on time or early).
2. It gives you more time to pay, which helps even out cash flow during revenue lulls.
If you’re approved for vendor financing, make sure the supplier reports your payment history to the business credit bureaus. Most do, but it’s not required.