How To Protect Your Business From Brexit

Brexit flagsAs the dust is settling on a historic referendum, with the majority vote for Britain’s exit from the EU, the big question “what next” has created a mass of uncertainty amongst the business community.

As I write this article, there is no clarity from the Government on what must happen or indeed, what will happen. There are still discussions about the legality of the referendum, anger at the outcome and complete disbelief and dismay by some at the result.

This article is written against the backcloth of uncertainty and with no political sentiment. We need to understand the cold facts and what you, as a business owner, need to consider and act upon now, despite the uncertainty.

What is the reality of Brexit for small businesses?

  1. At the moment, Britain will, at some time, exit the EU and potentially lose its open trading agreements with this community.
  2. Our exchange rate, with the weaker pound, has meant goods purchased will become more expensive however, this also means that foreigners buying our goods and services, are paying less.
  3. There could be a loss of foreign workers if they had to return to their country of origin or they choose to move to provide more certainty in their future employment.

I’m sure there are other implications too, but as I said, this is not about politics and more so on practical things you can do. So, there are a number of key strategies for you to consider.

5 key strategies for you to consider post-Brexit

  1. Are there other markets your business needs to compete in? These could simply be non-EU countries. However, it’s important to consider diversification in terms of expanding your product/service offering. Is there a need for these new opportunities in the UK now? For this you’ll need to do your research.
  2. How can you focus your resources NOW, possibly saving money and time which will allow you to re-invest these resources elsewhere into potentially more profitable activities? This could mean establishing new departments, buying methods, ways of doing business better or faster. The list is far-reaching and requires TIME spent discussing this with your management team. Whilst it may be unusual, it could be a positive step to include all of your staff in these discussions because you’ll never know who has the brightest ideas…it’s not always management!
  3. What are the key basics to the business that need re-enforcing, bolstering or completely revising to build a solid backbone to the business? You see, sometimes as a business grows, it loses its identity. What were the strengths in the early days and why were they deemed as strengths? What has happened that has eroded these strengths? What MUST they be now in this ever-changing world? How are you as a business going to re-introduce these strengths and communicate this with your team and your customers/clients?
  4. Where are the potential staff issues and what is required to resolve them? If this means you could lose key individuals with a skill set, then this is the time to identify what these skills are and where can you get them from within the business or the UK?
  5. With potentially higher raw materials costs, what can you do in terms of production times, processes etc that could improve the manufacture time, true cost per unit etc? Sometimes, when faced with adversity, the biggest breakthroughs occur. BUT, they won’t happen unless somebody is driving the business to reflect, question, test and change. This means that you as the leader must also change. You must constantly question your performance.

Rather than sit around and wait for politicians to sort out the next steps, you as a business leader must take the first steps to lead your company. This means setting the stage NOW. Perhaps this will be the biggest, radical shake up your business or even your industry will see, so it is folly to sit back and do nothing.

Having recently watched the film Titanic, the attitude of the higher classes in the film reminded me of the current situation. There is an abundance of arrogance, followed by denial which eventually led to panic and, in the film and real life too, a tragic and sad loss of life. We know that this accident could have been avoided and also that many more lives could have been saved. But, let’s move on… the lessons can be learned.

Instead of waiting two years and then being a potential victim of the “referendum”, be the leader and begin the process of change. It may prove to be the most enlightening and rewarding leadership you ever perform. Leave no stone unturned, and listen, really listen to your team and your inner voice. Pay attention to the small things, the detail, because this is where you may find the golden nuggets of data and the hidden profit centres in your business.

I began this article saying that it wasn’t political and I hope you concur. The questions raised are a beginning and not an exhaustive list. No doubt you will add to and answer them as you lead your business towards a more robust existence in the future.

You will find other articles I’ve written on this website which will help you with the process of change so please take a look. Finally, I wish you every success in the future and please share this article with others if you have found it useful.

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