Skip to main content
Guiding you to a better future

Search

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.

More SMEs resorting to legal action to chase payments

15 October 2019

New research has found that two in five small business owners are taking legal action against customers that haven't paid them on time.

A study by Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that there has been a 22% rise in the number of small businesses spending time and money on legal action to chase a late payment (rising from 31% to 40% since 2018), and a 14% increase in SMEs being unable to pay suppliers because of late customer payments (up from 31% to 36%).

The research also reveals that many bosses are foregoing their own salary in order to ensure their employees get paid on time. One in five business owners (20%) are not paying themselves because unpaid invoices are affecting their cashflow. This number doubles for smaller ventures with less than ten employees (40%).

The cashflow challenges that result from chasing late payment has forced more than one in three small businesses (35%) to seek short term-borrowing in order to make ends meet.

"It is disheartening that so many small business owners feel impeded because their customers are not paying on time and, for many, this wreaks havoc with their cashflow," said Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance. "The fact many small business owners are sacrificing their own salary also means they are literally taking their business worries home with them."

Other key findings of the report include:

  • 62% of small businesses are affected by late payments;
  • 38% of business owners said late payment placed a huge risk on their supply chain;
  • 31% said their crucial relationships with suppliers, clients and customers were "greatly affected";
  • 44% of sole traders said they were worried about incurring bank charges as a result of short-term borrowing.

A recent report published by IPSE has found that late payment is having a detrimental effect on the work-life balance of the UK's 4.9 million freelancers. Its findings show that 21% of freelancers spent their summer holiday chasing late payment rather than taking time off.

Inna Yordanova, senior researcher at IPSE and author of the report, said: "Late payment is a major factor holding many freelancers back from a good work-life balance. Chasing late payments is creating extra stress and taking up disproportionate amounts of freelancers' time - an average of 20 days a year ? We're calling on the government to give more powers to the small business commissioner to clamp down on late payment and even fine the worst offenders."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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