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Brexit Lesson for Tech Sector? Go Global!

By David Orren

Brexit has dominated the news headlines ever since the vote in June 2016. Whether you agree with leaving the EU or not, our eventual divorce from the rest of the European economic bloc means UK businesses are going to have to find new and better ways to trade. No Tech Sector business that wants to be a serious contender in the market can afford to ignore international opportunities for expansion. An Ostrich like response would leave us vulnerable to overseas competitors feeding  at our expense and developing capabilities that put them in the lead. 

While thinking ‘outside of the EU’ is new to many businesses, Tech companies are used to considering at least the competition from North America, if not the market opportunities. So, in some respects, we are ahead of the curve and have an advantage over many other types of businesses in the UK who have relied upon local markets. 

Build a Global Business

But ‘Thinking Global’ is not one-size-fits-all. It can mean different things for companies serving different types of markets, or at different stages of growth. One company may choose to maintain a centralized structure with a strong Thames Valley HQ supporting business partners overseas. Another type of business may choose to actively decentralize in order to build a more global culture and to integrate unique talents more easily found overseas. And there are many levels of hybrid and intermediate matrix structures designed to evolve in different ways and which may favour – and may sometimes hinder – one or other strategic goal of the particular business.  There are some important choices to be made in planning an international organisation and it is worth taking advice from experienced business people who have successfully led business growth overseas.  

One important advantage we do have in our push to go global is that overseas markets tend to like the Brits… international markets are generally very favourable to British products. This is especially true for the Tech Sector. The UK is well-respected for design and technology, for our IP, commercial, quality and service standards, and our very language gives us a key advantage. In some ways we have taken these things for granted. Now is the time to build on our strengths and to consciously develop overseas capability while we are still part of the EU. Stable and productive overseas relationships can be in place well before Brexit is complete.

Hand-in-hand with exporting goods and services is attracting international partners to develop their businesses here. Inward investment grows B2B opportunities here on British soil, and this is ultimately good for our economy. We need global business investments flowing in both directions for the tech sector to remain strong.

‘Thames Valley’ your Global HQ

If the answer to Brexit is to go global and build better business overseas, the next question is where to locate British operations. London is often the first thought that comes to mind. However, ambitious businesses looking build a global HQ should consider the very real advantages offered by the UK’s own version of Silicon Valley. 

The Thames Valley stretches from Oxford, through Reading and Slough to London and is alive with opportunities for tech sector companies. The region offers state-of-the-art infrastructure for global communications and networking. It offers easy access to road, rail, and air transport options, for both domestic and overseas travel. It certainly offers an ample supply of highly skilled workers that technology and scientific companies need to thrive. And it offers the schools, housing and services needed to attract talented employees.

Brexit is coming – be ready

Brexit is coming whether we like it or not. In order to thrive after the separation, the British tech sector needs to lead the way in going global, and the Thames Valley is an ideal place for ambitious tech solutions providers to build their global HQ.

To discuss how your company can create value through a more effective Customer Engagement strategy, contact David Orren at the TVBA Technology Business Growth Practice, on 0/+44 7914 223 691. 

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