Premier Foods - owners of the Mr Kipling brand, along with several other household names - have encountered their fair share of negative press recently, since it emerged that they were demanding that suppliers should invest in the company in order to continue receiving orders.

Yep, that's right - suppliers to Premier Foods, many of them fairly small foodservice businesses, were apparently told that if they wanted to keep receiving future orders, they had to put their own money into Premier in the form of investment finance.

For small businesses, the internet has proved to be a great levelling ground, making winning custom less about size and brand power, and more about simply topping the search results.

But as more people prefer to pay remotely for goods and services, are small businesses at risk of losing custom - or worse, going unpaid for work done - due to their lack of good electronic payments technology?

Lord Sugar, the artist formerly known as Sir Alan, has made his feelings on late payments very clear - and, like us, he's less than impressed with the government's efforts to tackle the problem.

In particular, during the second reading debate on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, he criticised the lack of "practical, common-sense" solutions to the problems faced by small businesses.

This Saturday December 6th is Small Business Saturday, an annual initiative to support small businesses throughout the UK, and it's not just about visiting your local independent gift shop.

Much of the focus will be on the nation's high streets and town centres, where free parking and special offers will encourage many people to finish off their Christmas shopping at small independent retailers.

Finding a supplier for your business can be a tricky process at the best of times; so many online businesses rely heavily on customer testimonials.  So what do you do if you are a new business, say a new Debt Collection business and you want to impress potential customers?  Are you going to be honest about the fact the business is new and try and offer a great service or do you "fake it till you make it"? 

Unfortunately for many businesses trying to find a reputable debt recovery partner the latter seems to be the preferred option, with many so called debt collectors recycling or just stealing testimonials from other sources.  Now not only is this dishonest and as such contrary to the Advertising Standards Authority rules on misleading statements, it also shows a marked lack of invention and imagination.  As such, we've decided to offer a helping hand to all those debt collection companies out there with fake testimonials by providing some suggested "testimonials" of our own.

A company called "The Emergency Services (Media Dept) Limited" that falsely claimed to be linked to the emergency services in an attempt to convince small businesses in to placing adverts in its publications has been wound up in the High Court following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Telesales operators from the company would cold call small businesses across the country and claim to be "connected" to the Police or other emergency services and then try to sell advertising space in a magazine, with the funds raised allegedly going to support these services. In reality these funds were largely destined for the owners and no one else.

We have previously covered how unpaid invoice spammers target credit control failures using an archaic .arj file to spread malicious software, but a new and considerably more dangerous threat has just started to land in inboxes throughout the UK and across the globe.

This latests threat is more insidious as it uses a well known file format to deliver a malicious payload specifically designed to steal sensitive financial data from users.

The zombie apocalypse could be coming sooner than you think, with R3, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, warning that an even greater number of companies are now showing the hallmarks of being 'zombies'.

It's a term that rose to prominence at the height of the recession, and was used to refer to those firms capable of covering their outgoings, but only just - and which would therefore very quickly fall into insolvency if their interest rates rose, or their cash flow was interrupted.

A dairy-free chocolatier was forced to threaten supermarket giant Tesco with a winding-up petition after they failed to pay for part of their order for five months - leaving him without his staff's Christmas wages.

Moo Free Chocolates produce dairy-free and gluten-free confectionery, with an annual turnover of around £1 million.

But when a £2 million order came in from Tesco, co-founder Mike Jessop was understandably excited.

If you deal with customers in the Americas - including not just the USA, but also Canada, Mexico and Brazil - you should be aware of the increased likelihood of a very late payment becoming an uncollectable bad debt.

According to a report from credit insurers Atradius, a whopping 52% of the most overdue payments in the region are simply never collected, compared with 35% in Europe.

Hitting the Headlines: Safe Collections in the Guardian

in About Safe Collections by Adam Home
If you're a Guardian reader, you may have seen Safe Collections' collections and partnerships manager Adam Home quoted in a Guardian Professional article on May 12th. Tim Aldred's piece looked at the case for credit control teams as a way for businesses to…

Hitting The Headlines: The Independent on Sunday

in About Safe Collections by Adam Home
In 2009 our founder and Managing Director was interviewed for a piece in The Independent On Sunday, this article is reproduced below with their kind permission. in 2009 we still went by our original name of Creditsafe Ltd, whilst our name may have changed our…