Skip to main content
We're here with practical information for your business. Learn about business planning, running a business and more.


For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Late payment to SMEs is "market abuse" says report

5 December 2018

Late payment to SMEs is "market abuse" says reportLate payment practices continue to adversely affect UK small businesses and self-employed contractors, according to a new report.

Small Business and Productivity, published by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee, has found that late payment practices are still widespread and that some big firms exploit the imbalance of power with small suppliers to impose unacceptable terms.

The BEIS report said: "SMEs still suffer from late payments, inhibiting their ability to grow, affecting overall UK productivity ... late payments are built into the business models of too many companies, leading to many SMEs losing staff, profits and their businesses. This is totally unacceptable, unfair and constitutes a particularly disgraceful form of market abuse."

The report has made a number of recommendations including:

  • All medium and large companies should be required to sign the Prompt Payment Code, and adopt statutory payments terms of no more than 30 days;
  • The small business commissioner should be given powers to fine persistent late payers.

Jordan Marshall, policy development manager at freelancer body IPSE, said: "Big companies must stop exploiting the self-employed and small businesses by treating them as an additional line of credit. Government and industry should treat this report as a wake-up call. It is totally unacceptable that larger companies are building late payment practices into their business models."

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "Some of the payment practices described here are really shocking. A big business waiting 800 days to pay a supplier is nothing short of disgraceful. The committee has exposed a late payment hall of shame. Many of these businesses are household names.

"It's now up to the Government … to come up with solutions that definitively end a UK late payment crisis which destroys 50,000 small firms a year, stifles economic growth and hampers productivity."

Commenting on the report, the CBI said that improving payment practices is good for the overall economy. "Strong, collaborative supply chains are vital - when big, medium-sized and smaller businesses work together, the economy prospers," said Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director-general.

"Firms have already done a significant amount to improve … but with too many small and medium-sized firms still disproportionately affected by late payment, it's right that policy-makers are looking to drive down unfair and dishonest practices where they still exist.

"For companies themselves, prompt payment is core to their reputations as well as their sustainable growth. Tackling this issue must be a board level conversation and all businesses must take accountability for their own practices seriously."

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to this lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.

Contact us

Make an enquiry