Click to Print

Building Business Relationships

Don't let bad credit prevent you from starting your business. Our Shoestring Startup Expert shows you how to find suppliers, lenders and contractors.
August 14, 2000

Q: How can a person with bad credit build relationships with suppliers, lenders and contractors?

A: First, let me assure you you're not alone. Tens of thousands of Americans have damaged credit ratings. Many people become buried in debt through a spendthrift lifestyle, miscalculated risks, divorce, emergencies, unemployment or prolonged periods of illness and find themselves in financial distress. One or two late payments turns into several missed ones. After the threatening creditor phone calls and letters, repossessions, judgments and garnishments follow. All this negative information becomes black marks on a person's credit report.

Whatever the reason you suffer from bad credit, your credit history can be rehabilitated. It won't be easy. You'll need to be persistent, creative and persuasive in getting others to take a chance on you. Here are a few ideas on how to work through your situation.

Or contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) in your area. This nonprofit group can help you negotiate with your creditors for better terms. They also provide money management workshops and Internet counseling. The National Foundation for Consumer Creditprovides referrals to local CCCS offices. You may also glean more pointers from the Credit/Debt Management Web site.

Lastly, grow your business on cash flow while managing moderate debt. It may take you longer to build, but your business may last longer, too.

Kimberly Stansell is an author, entrepreneur and businesswoman in Los Angeles. She has a knack for turning her desires into reality with little or no money and helps others do the same in her book Bootstrapper's Success Secrets: 151 Tactics for Building Your Business on a Shoestring Budget (Career Press). For more business-building tips and resources, visit her Web site,

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.