NEW YORK, NY – Nav co-founder and CEO Levi King said his company’s decision to change their name from Creditera came from an effort to better capture their vision and service offering.
“We began moving away from credit,” Mr. King explained. “(The name) needed to speak to a broader scope of where we were headed with alternative data sets.”
The name also had to work for small business owners, Mr. King added. While Creditera originally made sense to the founders, it created some confusion in the marketplace.
“People said ‘Creditera’ in all sorts of different ways,” Mr. King. “One was ‘credit tiara’.”
So the search began for a name that had to fit several criteria, including uniqueness, no simple process in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
“We looked at thousands of names,” Mr. King recalled.
They eventually found Nav, which Mr. King said allowed them to speak to a broader set of questions and challenges.
“Ultimately we help our subscribers navigate credit and finance.”
A unique, three-letter domain name after two decades of the internet? That was no small feat, but the process had only started. Someone already owned the name Nav, Mr. King explained.
In 1995 a gentleman started a small business and registered Nav, likely for a pittance compared to what it would be worth today.
He passed away a few years later and his wife was bombarded by name brokers wishing to buy it.
Mr. King said he and his partner Caton Hanson met with her several times. She told them she wanted the name to go to a business which honored her husband’s small business legacy.
“We told her we would materially decrease the death rates of small businesses and we came to a fair price.”
Nav’s focus is to show how credit data is used by third parties to make decisions, Mr. King said. As their customer base grows to more than 70,000, the next step was to educate those clients on how third parties make decisions about them.
That process begins with new companies who, because they do not even know what business credit is, fail to build it, Mr. King explained.
A small business owner starting out may pay cash on delivery for materials. For fear of owing money on the business ledger, they use personal credit cards, which do nothing to help their business credit while hurting their personal credit.
Business owners have to look closely at their business credit reports, which are prone to errors due to how they are assembled, Mr. King explained.
Searches can be initiated on business name, bankruptcies, uniform commercial code tax liens, or even a partial address, he said.
A new business may not be aware they share at least elements of a name with a failed entity that may have operated in another part of the country, Mr. King explained.
They will be after they get rejected for a bank loan even though they did nothing wrong.
Even if there is nothing wrong on their report, the business owner may come up empty after meeting with the bank.
“Many think no one will help them,” Mr. King said, while adding the problem may have been something as simple as the applicant operates a business outside that bank’s specialty area.
“Many people do not know that the banks do indeed specialize,” Mr. King confirmed.
Some business owners give up while others go to sources which charge high APR rates. Many of those sources do not report positive credit history, Mr. King explained.
“They want to keep you on the drip.”
Many business owners are also unaware that their ability to obtain credit becomes easier after they have been in business for two years, Mr. King said.
Mr.King shared several tips for small businesses looking to maintain a positive credit history.
Avoid excessive revolving balances.
Many suppliers will offer credit terms if requested. Ask for 30-day terms and pay them off.
Monitor your reports for erroneous information and report discrepancies to bureaus.
“They want accuracy,” Mr. King explained. “They want to fix it.”