There comes a time in the life of any small-business owner when he or she poses the question: “Can I apply credit in a smarter way without getting my business into too much debt?” The basic answer to that is: “Yes, by protecting your credit.”
The first three years of a business’ life are the most crucial. During this time, the business owner will need to carefully budget business expenses and realistically project income. This forces the owner to give the important numbers a good, hard think. It is important to develop a picture of the monthly cash flow, particularly in the first year. This ensures that you know where your money is going and that you are keeping tabs on every aspect of the business.
The Small Business Administration says that many businesses fail because of undercapitalization – that is, not recognizing how much you really need to start the business and / or not having the means to access the capital. This is where business credit cards can help. Business credit cards are a common funding option for small businesses. So good, in fact, that there is a general observation that small business owners often overuse their business credit cards during their first years of business. And, if they do not yet have small business credit cards, they normally end up overloading their personal credit cards.
Small business owners understandably heavily rely on business credit cards to help them over those rough periods when the bank balances are low. Unfortunately, in using the business credit cards, some of the small business owners defer paying off the balance for too long and often suffer the penalties of charges in late fees and interest as a result.
The first thing to remember when it comes to using business credit cards is that you should reserve the use of business credit cards for short-term spending only. Business credit cards will allow your business to start building a credit history. If you pay off a large portion of your business credit card balance each month, or even the whole balance when you can afford it, this favorable credit behavior will enable you to build a solid credit reputation under the business name, which will make cheaper commercial loans accessible sooner. That kind of payment behavior also helps you avoid the dangers of falling behind on your business credit card bill.
Remember you already have a budget worked out. Use the monthly statements for your business credit cards to note down your expenses and to track your cash flow status. The business credit card companies already classify your charges, so it should be much easier to do. You can even download your business credit card transaction history from the websites of the business credit card companies. This should speed up your expense reconciliations and give you the time to focus on making your business grow.
Learn to use the discounts offered by business credit cards for business expenditures. Using business credit cards for certain purchases can entitle you to as much as 5 percent discounts. This feature in business credit cards can actually help you save and will go far towards balancing your budget.