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Brexit – What now for SMEs?

By Richard Wickes

The electorate has decided that the UK should leave the EU.  How best can SMEs respond to the coming changes?

Whether you are pleased with the outcome or dismayed is irrelevant.  The decision has been made.  What you need to focus on is how best to manage and grow your business in the short to medium term.  Long term planning is more difficult as the Brexit option only leads to many uncertainties.

The first thing is – Don’t Panic.  Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems.  Every triumph always has at least some form of downside, and every disaster  (except perhaps illness and death) is never as black as it first appears.  There is almost always some benefit to be found, and things are very rarely as bad as they seem initially.

As small business owners we are naturally optimistic people.  We would not have started and continued to run our businesses if we were not naturally hopeful.

Now is the time to start thinking what the opportunities are for you and your business in the new situation.  If you are already an exporter or are considering exporting, there will be benefits to you from the weakening of sterling.  If you are competing against those importing goods or services, you will have a competitive price gain.

In all the turmoil there will be opportunities, and as a small business you are agile and can react quickly to new situations as they arise.

If you employ immigrants there is a risk that they may feel themselves unwelcome following the vote and a few unpleasant instances of xenophobia.  You should reassure them that they are still welcome and valued here by you and by most decent British people.

If you yourself were not born here and now own and run a business here you should recognise that there is still huge potential for you in the UK.  There will be some upheaval, but this country has a long history of enterprise, and of welcoming entrepreneurs from around the world.  We have been an outward looking, mercantile nation for centuries now.  That has not changed.

Now is the time for all business owners to start considering how best to respond to the new situation.  Now is a good time to network with other business owners to exchange ideas and opportunities.  Now is a good time to talk to one of our business advisors by calling 0333 444 8522 or emaling as they have all had long experience of the ups and downs of the business cycle, and how best to take advantage of both.

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