Brexit-proof your business

Uncertainty is one of the biggest hurdles you have to manage as a business-owner and it doesn’t get much more uncertain, or drawn-out, than Brexit.

With tariffs, taxes and immigration all yet to be decided upon while the government finalises the negotiations to exit the EU, it’s a time of complex ambiguity and uncertainly affecting issues such as supply chains, finances and staff.

Many businesses have built their business models on access to the EU single market and have EU supply chains involving cross-border movements of goods.

Businesses with such critical supply chains have developed them to be highly efficient and resilient within the EU but they will become subject to stresses that they weren’t designed to withstand, including higher tax, tariffs and trade costs.

While the full effects of Brexit are unknown, it doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing now.

Here are our recommendations:

  • First and foremost – stay positive! Managing uncertainty is challenging but it isn’t impossible. Instead of trying to guess what’s going to happen next, focus on the outcomes that are within your control and look for opportunities while identifying and managing risks.
  • Plan and prepare. As Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, so forward planning and adopting flexible, fluid reactions are critical to weathering this transition period. Reviewing and adjusting your supply chains and your business overall against any possible future requirements post-Brexit will be a valuable business planning exercise in any event.

Anticipating the possible impacts that Brexit may have on your supply chain and the management of imported goods that support your production process is essential.

Depending on the type of Brexit deal reached, it’s likely you may experience delays at borders for goods, so you should ensure that your supply chains have increased stock levels to avoid any delays and consider procuring in advance.

Keeping close to the political discussions will give you a competitive advantage regarding the decisions you’ll need to make to meet your business needs.

  • Communicate! Keep your communication lines open and transparent so suppliers, employees, and any other stakeholders feel an element of comfort. Effectively communicating any changes in your company policies and processes will provide clarity and manage expectations, particularly for those from the EU, and will help avoid panic-driven reactions.
  • Explore and engage collaborations with other businesses will offer many benefits and could contribute significantly to the success of your company.

Building trusted networks and relationships can help you to improve your business performance, save costs and increase sales, improve capacity and efficiency, and allow you to access new markets.

All businesses are different, and the effect of Brexit will vary significantly depending not just on your business model, but how you anticipate the changes and the choices that you make now.

Getting these foundations right will help you navigate the uncertain road ahead, remove the ‘Brexit Fear’ and future-proof your business.