SMB’s are the lifeblood of the British economy, making up more than 99 percent of the private sector business landscape. And so far, Brexit has not been good to most businesses- particularly small businesses. From uncertainty causing a serious skills shortage right across the country to the slowing of the economy, there are lots of reasons why business owners are feeling unsure and keen to find out what lies ahead for the country. As a member of the EU, companies in the UK currently benefit from being able to sell their goods and import goods freely with no additional taxes being levied. However, outside the EU, the UK has to strike new deals in order to have free trade with those countries or the remaining EU members. One of the main issues being that the UK isn’t able to formally to negotiate trade agreements with other countries before exit day
Preparing your current business
The future of the UK and its businesses will largely depend on the trade deal we eventually reach, and at this point, no one can be certain as to what that will be. It’s fair to say they uncertainty is the only certainty at this stage, and it will take up to a decade for all of the plans to be put in motion. However, there are some things you can do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU, from switching to British suppliers where possible to take a look at your exporting skills. Whether you send or receive a pallet delivery or a whole truckload each day, you’ll need to prepare for the export documentation and processing letters of credit. An export audit of your business could be useful to consider to make sure you’re ready for future changes. If your company employs EU nationals, you’ll need to research things like UK permanent residency status. The end of free movement and tighter immigration rules post Brexit will force many small businesses to rethink both their recruitment and their skills strategies. Another way smaller businesses can prepare for Brexit is by adapting their online presence, allowing international customers to browse their website in their own language and pay in their own currency.
Starting a post- Brexit business
Savvy entrepreneurs and small business owners often thrive during periods of financial instability, mainly due to being leaner and more flexible than more established organisations so they can quickly and effectively adapt to changes in the market. There are some industries that could see a boom in profits post- Brexit, and if you’re considering starting up something new then this is well worth considering. While there’s uncertainty, there are still many factors that make the UK a favourable environment for entrepreneurs which is helped by things like their finance culture and tech sector. Admittedly, Brexit does present growth opportunities for SMBs, the health industry and tech startups are two areas which have been highlighted as possible areas of growth. Due to skills shortages, a boost in teaching is likely to occur where people are wanting to upskill and retrain. A shortfall in our imported workforce allows UK business owners to focus on upskilling and cross-skilling their current staff, filling any talent gaps with skilled workers from the UK. Growth opportunities are always going to exist for businesses who are prepared to work towards instilling a culture of lifelong learning throughout the company, which includes upskilling staff to fill immediate knowledge gaps, as well as continuing to actively support their learning through a mixture of on-the-job training and external courses. If you’re considering starting a business post- Brexit, you’ll need to carefully consider which kinds of markets are the best to go for, and what needs to be avoided. Businesses that have always met the needs of the public will still be in demand. What may change is how much pressure external factors place on your ability to make a profit.
As a business owner, it’s so worth educating yourself on what could happen post-Brexit and what different eventualities could result from the deal we manage to strike. Be sure to have a backup plan, in case things don’t go your way and your company either needs to close completely or will require a serious overhaul.
How is Brexit likely to affect your business? Is this something you’ve taken steps towards yet?