The departure of Britain from the EU has been a controversial subject which has been dominating the headlines since the 2016 referendum. Fast forward three years and we’re still none the wiser on the state of the union; Will Britain face a ‘hard’ Brexit or a negotiated deal? Will 31st October 2019 stay the exit date? The suspense is almost too much to bear.
Amid all the uncertainty, it’s no wonder small business owners are apprehensive about the future and unsure of the direction in which to lead their company. Luckily, we’ve collated four simple steps to follow to prepare your business for either eventuality. It may be that your enterprise is totally unaffected, but for peace of mind it’s a good idea to be proactive in ensuring your business is ready to face the music.
1. Protect your supply chain
First things first, talk to your suppliers. Find out what they are doing to guarantee their supply services continue in the wake of Brexit. Considering every step of the chain is crucial as a small business owner, as failures in supply chains can be detrimental to a business’s reputation; late deliveries or lack of stock will lead customers to blame you, not your supplier.
As suppliers should be devising their own plans to navigate the post-Brexit market, they should be able to reassure you. However, if they are unwilling to offer any useful information or are uncertain of their plans to combat potential outcomes, it may be worth switching to a supplier who is ready to tackle Brexit head on. Inserting a Brexit-clause in any new contracts could also save you time and hassle during future trading.
2. Increase your stock held in the UK
Stockpiling stock; much like the way negotiations have played out, it seems ludicrous and a waste of time. However, ensuring the majority of your stock is on UK soil could be hugely beneficial to your company post-Brexit, at least for an initial time period. If you rely heavily on importing stock from overseas, increasing stock now may avoid problems with suppliers not being able to meet demand after Brexit. It would also be a good idea to perhaps diversify your business offering to include that which can be sourced from within the UK.
Keeping on top of all your invoices, making sure existing clients pay on time before the Brexit date will ensure you have a strong cash flow to fund an increase in stock.
3. Research potential regulation changes
Do your homework and learn about potential regulation changes that could be specific to your sector and may impact your trade routes or workforce. In doing so, you will able to consider feasible solutions to any issues that may follow. It’s best to read up on regulations which could come with any of the four Brexit deals; a No deal, The Prime Minister’s deal, a completely renegotiated deal or the UK remaining in the EU (a result of a second referendum or general election). Having plans in place for each scenario will keep you one step ahead of the situation and maybe even your competition.
4. Focus on your company’s strong points
Give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself how far your company has come and what it has achieved since its inception. Remember that there is still a demand for the product or service you offer, perhaps even more so with the shift to buy local due to the UK’s impending departure of the EU, which will inevitably play into the hands of small business owners.
Above all, don’t panic. Be proactive rather than reactive to events after a deal has been put in place. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but potentially not where Brexit is concerned. Visit https://www.gov.uk/brexit for more information tailored to your specific sector.