Skip to main content
Guiding you to a better future


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.

Small suppliers suffer as big retailers pay late

18 November 2016

Small suppliers suffer as big retailers pay lateSmall suppliers in the UK are used to waiting for payments from some of their customers; new research shows that late paying is now par for the course among the UK's major retailers.

Data analysis by Ormsby Street reveals that the average time taken to pay a supplier by big retailers is 45 days beyond terms. None of the 20 major retailers that it studied consistently pays on time.

Supermarket giant Tesco has the worst payment performance in the list, taking an average of 105 days beyond terms to pay its suppliers. Department store Debenhams was also a poor performer, taking an average of 73 days.

"Winning a contract to supply a national retailer can be a landmark moment for a small business, particularly in the lucrative Christmas shopping season," said Martin Campbell, md of Ormsby Street.

"But just because a retailer is a household name, it's no guarantee they are going to pay on time, as our analysis clearly shows. If an invoice had 60 day terms, a small business would be waiting, on average, more than 100 days for payment - that's clearly unacceptable - and even the best performer amongst these retailers is still not paying on terms."

Previous Ormsby Street research found that the average overdue invoice to a small business was worth £6,142. With larger orders in the run-up to Christmas, small firms are feeling the pinch.

"A small business could be waiting for even more money during the festive period," said Campbell. "If they have had to take on extra staff or resources to meet the order to a major retailer, this could be a potentially difficult and damaging time for their cash flow."

The best retailer in terms of prompt payment is Fortnum & Mason, which takes an average of five days beyond terms to pay its suppliers. Lidl is in second place (paying nine days beyond terms on average), followed by House of Fraser (15 days) and John Lewis (18 days).

Small suppliers often feel the big retailers have the trump card when it comes to negotiating terms, said Campbell. "The answer lies in small businesses protecting themselves against late payment by learning more about the financial health of their customers, negotiating more favourable payment terms and then chasing hard for payment when it is overdue."

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