Small business owners - doing what they do best!
Do you run a business? Are you planning to open a business? Perhaps you’ve been in business for a long time.
Whether you are new to starting an enterprise or a seasoned business owner of many years, it seems the forecast for UK business is becoming an inclement one.
The Business Climate
In October Reuters based a report on two surveys, which said that Britain’s businesses are suffering from Brexit-related uncertainty, that exports are slowing, recruitment difficulties are mounting, and investment plans are being scaled back. The report went on to reveal the results of a British Chambers of Commerce survey of 5,600 companies. It showed firms within the services sector were having the most trouble finding staff since the survey began as far back as 1989.
There will be other more optimistic assessments and forecasts – such is the nature of Brexit. There’s an awful lot of mist and fog around what might or might not be true making it hard to know which way the wind will blow.
It’s no-longer about how the country voted in the 2016 Referendum that's so important, though many are still holding out for a reversal of the decision to exit the EU club. Nor is it the embarrassment of Westminster that's primary in the minds of business owners and employers. For UK business it’s good decision making and sound planning that's urgently needed in the national interest.
Aside from the impending and menacing risk, all the confusion and political posturing seems far removed from the demands that are upon the shoulders of the small business owner day-to-day. While there are some precautions business owners can take and contingency plans that can be made, it is, in the end, a game of wait and see. It is this that accounts for the unwelcome uncertainty with which businesses continue to wrestle.
2019 – Planning Ahead
Your business idea may have been established before (even many years before) the Brexit Referendum. Perhaps yours is a start up conceived around the time or since Parliament voted in favour of Theresa May’s triggering of Article 50.
Whichever, how and exactly when Brexit will impact on or after 29th March 2019 will be a matter for each business to process and to handle.
Trade with the EU
For many business owners, the need to adapt and re-plan may be more obvious.
This most especially for businesses that trade directly with the EU. A change to trade directives (on a ‘no deal’, for example) to World Trade Organisation rules will likely subject the movement of goods to cross border checks and tariffs, thus increasing costs and slower processing.
Supply Chains within the EU
Businesses with supply chains in the EU will be forced to establish stronger relationships going forward, perhaps strengthening negotiated trading terms for the future and conceivably paying suppliers in their local currency to minimise volatility, where possible. The alternative to this being to source within the UK, subject to availability and cost etc.
All of us will remember the dramatic drop in value to Sterling post Referendum. However, subsequent currency fluctuations have since become the norm. Many business owners will want to do all that’s possible to safeguard against future potential risk.
It's almost impossible to predict what the outcomes of Brexit will be and the uncertainties are likely to be with us long after the March 2019 D-Day.
The EU will remain an important trading partner for the UK. However, many business owners will be looking at ways to buffer against the short-term impact of Brexit, perhaps by furthering sales within the UK home market, all the while exploring markets beyond. Expansion into markets outside the EU, such as the United States, China, Australia and into the African continent could be a healthy upshot longer term.
The Smaller of Small Business
For the smaller of small businesses it's simply a waiting game. Business owners will keep a watchful eye on consumer confidence. The lead up to Christmas and the Boxing Day sales have been noticeably disappointing, on the high street and online. The chaotic and tiresome withdrawal process along with the fast approaching Brexit deadline may well explain why the buying public is less willing to spend.
In the meantime, however, it is when times are hard or uncertain that small business owners do what they do best. Here are some positive thoughts - a 10-point reminder list - for business owners, as we leave 2018 behind us to boldly go:
in your brand with purpose
to be radically different and better
for continuous originality
for mistakes and the tough times
without compromising on your vision, mission and purpose
goals on small budgets until your lasting success formula is found
like it’s a marathon and not a sprint
yourself, your health and your relationships with those you love
like it truly matters
As we step into 2019 let’s do so with energy and optimism. We wish everyone a happy, successful, prosperous and peace-filled New year!
Author: Phillipe Avery
Founder Director, Future Point 4 Business
Future Point 4 Business
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