Establishing Business Basics
In order to qualify for funding from banks or other financial institutions, entrepreneurs must establish a sense of stability for their businesses. This includes obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Banks generally require them before they will open a business bank account. An EIN also helps in establishing separate business credit.
Even solo practitioners who never intend to hire employees should have an EIN. The process is free and can be completed entirely online, with an EIN issued immediately. Telephone and hard-copy options are also available for Luddites or those without private Internet access.
Another basic piece of the business credit pie is a D-U-N-S number, which can be obtained from D&B (Dun & Bradstreet) through its website. As far as credit is concerned, a D-U-N-S number serves much the same function for businesses as a Social Security number does for individuals. Obtaining a D-U-N-S number is also a necessity for any business that expects to work with the federal government. Register the new business with Experian along with obtaining a D-U-N-S number and EIN.
Experian advises establishing a separate address and phone number for the new business to further establish its distinct existence. This can be accomplished by obtaining a box at a mailbox facility and a phone number provided by a free voicemail service. Avoid using a Post Office box if any packages are to be delivered to the business, because package delivery services will not service post office boxes.
Finally, establish a business bank account using the EIN, business address, and business phone number. The bank will also probably require a copy of the articles of incorporation (or relevant papers for a particular jurisdiction) before opening the account. For sole practitioners, a copy of the "doing business as" (DBA) paperwork will suffice in place of articles of incorporation. If any business is to be done with vendors or clients outside the country, be sure the bank has a SWIFT code. Without one, incoming and outgoing international wire transfers are impossible.