If you do not have a recent credit report you are entitled to one free report per year. Each of the three credit reporting agencies are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every twelve months, if you ask for it. The three companies have a central website, a toll-free number and a mailing address for consumers to order the free annual credit reports.

This free report can be obtained in three ways:

Online form: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

Call: 1-877-322-8228

Mail form to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105281

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

This report will NOT give you your credit score, but will give you a credit report that will show items on your credit history that may be potential problems when it comes to financing.

You can also visit each of the credit reporting agency websites for information on obtaining your credit report & score:




If you find information that is incorrect or outdated, you can dispute them…. it doesn’t cost you anything to dispute mistakes or outdated items on your credit report. Follow the steps below to dispute an item on your credit report:

Step 1: Write a letter to the Credit Report Agency . . . Tell them what information you believe to be inaccurate. Include copies (not originals) of any documents that support your position. You will need to provide your complete name, address, and each item that you disputing and why. You can enclose a copy of your credit report with the items circled. You will want to keep a copy of everything that you send in. The Credit Reporting Agency must investigate the items within 30 days—unless they consider your dispute frivolous.

Step 2: Tell the creditor, in writing, that you dispute an item. List the item, along with all details of that dispute.

Regardless of your credit history, financial advisors and consumer advocates recommend that you review your credit report periodically for three reasons:

1. The information in your credit report affects whether you can get a loan or insurance and how much you will have to pay for it!

2. It is important to make sure the information in the report is accurate, complete and up-to-date before you apply for a loan.

3. It can help you deter, detect and defend against identity theft.

What is a credit score? A credit score is a number that helps lenders and others predict how likely you are to make your credit payments on time. “Your score” refers to the FICO score developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO scores range from 300-850.

There are five parts to the FICO Credit Score:

1. Payment history—about 35% of a FICO score.

2. How much you owe—about 30% of a FICO score.

3. Length of your credit history—about 15% of a FICO score.

4. New credit—about 10% of a FICO score.

5. Other factors—about 10% of a FICO score.

Your credit scores change when new information is reported to the credit reporting agencies.

Here are some general ways that might help to improve your credit scores:

1. Pay your bills on time.

2. Keep balances low on credit cards.

3. Pay off debt rather than moving it between credit cards.

4. Apply for and open new credit accounts only when you need them.

5. Check your credit report regularly for accuracy.

6. If you have missed payment, get current and stay current.


If you are organizing to raise start-up capital from individuals or lending institutions, a written business plan is usually required. It will enable you to convey your ideas to perspective banks and lenders. Someone who is interested in lending capital will want to see some type of plan in writing. We will work with you to create a business plan for your new business.

Your business plan will contain the following:

1. Your business idea.

2. Why you think it is a good idea.

3. Your background, experience, etc.

4. Where you plan to locate.

5. How you will obtain inventory.

6. Are you getting outside assistance? If so, give credentials.

7. Who are your target customers?

8. The status of the competition.

9. How much money you will need to get started (listed in categories).

10. How much time and money of your own you plan to commit.

11. How much you will pay yourself.

12. How you plan to repay the investment or loan.

13. Demographic Studies.

14. Traffic Counts.

15. Population information.

16. Target Audience.

17. Break Even Analysis.

The item listed above are only a broad overview of a business plan. Our Business Plans include over 100 pages!!


Your first and most likely source of capital is, of course, yourself. The amount of money you plan to invest in your start-up will depend partly on how much money you personally have readily available. It could be in savings, investments, or home equity. Another option to consider when thinking of your own finances would be using your readily available cash or equity as collateral. This would build up your credit and the interest paid on the loan could be tax deductible.


Most loans to new businesses come from relatives, friends and acquaintances in the community. This type of financing will be on repayment terms entirely between you and the lender.


Try starting out applying with one or two banks. Typically a bank will run a credit check on you first so if you have turned in information all over town it will show on your report. Too many credit inquiries will put up a “red flag” for most bank representatives. Applying with two banks will not raise a “red flag” but will enable you to compare interest rates, loan terms, etc. The most important thing to remember when meeting with a bank is to first sell yourself. Openly discuss your plans with him/her and come well prepared. You will need a business plan of your intentions and any other proposals you may have for your new store, copies of the past two-three years of your tax returns, a recent Personal Financial Statement, and completed bank loan applications. Establishing your worthiness is the most important criteria of your meeting. If you have done business with or obtained a loan from a particular bank, that bank is the best place to start. If a bank knows your willingness and capability to repay a loan, it will be more willing to give serious consideration to your ideas. If you own your own home or have any collateral you will be an excellent candidate for a loan. Display a strong positive attitude and commitment toward your new venture.


If you have a life insurance policy and have been paying on it for a few years, you can borrow on the “cash value” of the policy. Most long-term life insurance policies accumulate cash value. The policy is worth money to you. If you were to cash in your policy this would be money in hand. If you keep the policy you cannot get the money, but you may borrow as much as your cash value from the insurance company. The insurance policy remains effective during the loan. Interest rates on the policy loans are substantially lower than bank interest rates because you are simply borrowing your own money. For more information concerning this type of loan, contact your insurance company.


Another source of funds, similar to a bank loan, is the Credit Union. Credit Unions offer lower interest rates than banks, but in order to qualify for a loan you must be a member.


The best way to finance your business is undoubtedly the financing that deals with the equity in your home. The four main reasons why:

1. The percent interest is usually 1.5% to 2.5% lower than a straight personal or business loan.

2. Payback on a home equity loan can be Amortized over a 10-15 year period, opposed to only 5-7 years on most business loans.

3. The funds loaned to you allow you to turn around and act as the banker. You can lend the money from your equity loan to your business and charge your business interest. This is just another way of deducting more funds out of the business to benefit the owner.

4. Ultimately, the interest you pay on the equity loan is completely deductible on your personal taxes. On a business loan it is not. All this added could amount to about $500-$800 in your favor each month, or $6,000-$10,000 a year.


In this time of tight credit, you can still finance a new business by rolling your retirement funds into your new company. You pay no income taxes or early withdrawal penalties, avoid debt and have money available immediately to rent a space, pay a franchise fee, hire employees, etc. You should be aware that retirement rollovers are not simple and will require an outside company to accomplish. The three main administrators of rollover plans are SD Cooper, Benet rends and Guidant Financial Group. It works this way—you pay one of them a fee and they will do the rest: move your current 401K into an ERISA profit-sharing plan, which then becomes the retirement plan for your new company. That plan buys up the stock of your new corporation. Once the funds have transferred, they become tax-free capital for your business. In essence, you are spending the money on your own corporation instead of for stock of another company. You will be paying an annual fee to the administrator company for the paperwork that they will have to do each year for the life of the business. In this type of venture, be sure to do your research and ask questions.


Another popular form of funding for the startup of your business is obtaining lines of credit. This type of funding requires no collateral or down payment so it a very popular method of obtaining funding for your business. One of the requirements for this type of funding is excellent personal credit. You will need a credit score of at least 700. You will also need to have a “clean” credit history. Most people have things on their credit report that can hurt their credit score and don’t even realize it. If there are things on your credit report, such as inquiries, closed collection accounts, etc., these can usually be removed—which will help to raise your credit score to a level that you could obtain lines of credit. Keep in mind that not only the business owner can apply for these lines of credit, but any partner, family member or friend associated with the business can as well. We have successfully worked with several companies that provide this type of funding for our clients. For further and more in-depth information regarding this type of funding, please contact our office.

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