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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.

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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.

New laws to protect SMEs that work for big firms

10 September 2018

New laws to protect SMEs that work for big firmsThe Government is to introduce new measures to protect small businesses against unfair contracts that stop them raising money from unpaid invoices.

The new laws are intended to make it easier for small businesses to access invoice finance. Currently a small supplier's contract with a larger company may prevent it from securing invoice finance from providers such as banks and other investors.

Under the new proposed laws, any such contractual restrictions entered into after 31 December 2018, with certain exceptions, would have no effect and could be disregarded by small businesses and finance providers, which will help stop larger businesses from abusing their market position.

Invoice finance allows a business to raise funds by assigning their right to be paid (known as "receivables") to a finance provider in exchange for funds, typically representing 80% of the value of the invoices. The initial advance is received within a few days and the balancing 20% (less fees and charges) is paid when the customer settles the invoice.

Invoice finance is not borrowing because the supplier is receiving an advance against a future payment. However, some purchase contracts include terms that prevent access to invoice finance. Suppliers sometimes accept these contracts because of their weak negotiating position.

Small business minister Kelly Tolhurst said: "These new laws will give small businesses more access to the finance they need to succeed and will help ensure they have a level playing field from which to set fair contracts with the businesses they supply."

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