Preparing for EU-Exit is about understanding how much your business will be affected and what the steps are you can take, whatever the outcome.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the business community, and whilst we could wait to see where the dust has settled, we felt that now is the time to address how businesses should prepare for the UK’s exit out of the European Union.
In the last few months, many of the East Sussex businesses we have talked to told us that they feel underprepared, most taking little or no action to prepare.
Over 90% of businesses in East Sussex have fewer than ten employees. They are the economic lifeblood of the county, they are also the most likely to be the ones unprepared for the EU-Exit.
- Very few of us are in the position to fully comprehend the extent to which the UK’s economy legislation, finances and workforce have become tied into Europe since we joined the EEC the 1970s.
- Nor will they be able to Judge how the single market truly affects them. Businesses who do not deal and trade directly with Europe themselves will have supply chains and customers who do. They may employ staff and workers from the EU, manufacturers may source Asian parts from European suppliers, the rights to a process may belong to an EU company.
A No Deal scenario is one where the UK leaves the EU and becomes a third country, there is no agreement to apply any part of the Withdrawal Agreement. In a Deal scenario, there is no guarantee that it will be business as usual when we enter negotiations into the framework.
Businesses waiting for answers can be more at risk than thoses taking action now.
Making your business fit for purpose is the best thing you can do, it is actually excellent business practice anyway.
Money, Manpower, Marketing
Evaluate your business, there are three principles that are common to all types and kinds of companies, the Ms:
- Money– Your businesses’ money is working for you efficiently and effectively
- Manpower– Your staff and suppliers are doing their best work and delivering results
- Marketing– Your marketing is successfully reaching the right customers.
Following these principles, you have well planned for your business’ future.
Here are a few, but not all the questions that you should be considering when addressing these three principles:
- Have you got the right money in the right place/s?
- Have you maximised your business margins?
- Are your terms of trade robust and your credit management on the ball?
- Play with “what if” scenarios; what if I don’t get paid on time or indeed paid at all on a contract, what effect could it have? Just a ‘bad cold’ or could it be fatal?
- There are many alternative funding options these days compared to traditional bank funding – whichh is the most suitable for your business?
- If you need to invest in capital items, processes or develop new products, are there any grants you could be tap into?
- Does your workforce have the skills, knowledge and the ability to capitalise on opportunities?
- Do you have the skills and ability to drive your business through possibly tricky times? Are your staff willing to retrain?
- Do you have the flexibility and ability to diversify your products?
- Do you have the flexibility and ability to diversify your market/s, nationally or even internationally?
- Have you stress-tested your business strategy? Have you adequately linked your activities into one coherent plan?
- Is your business fully adapted to the digital, hyper-connected world that we live and trade in?
- Have you considered how you might reach new markets, both in the UK and abroad?
- Does your marketing plan support your business objectives?
- Have you considered and looked into all avenues both online and offline for lead generation?
This list is not exhaustive, and it will take time to review your business, but following this list, you will undoubtedly make a difference.
If you do not have the time or resource to make your business ready for EU Exit, many businesses have benefited from our business navigators to get you the right advice and funding opportunities. Struggled with any of the questions posed?
Our approach will allow you to gain dividends in the long run, helping your business not just answer the questions you have, but ask the right ones.
Other Sources of EU-Exit Information.
The government has created an online tool for businesses to find the latest information on EU Exit, how they will be affected, and the actions they can take to prepare from: https://euexit.campaign.gov.uk/
Starting with a questionnaire, their sector-specific guidance can give you the information your business needs to prepare for any issues that your business may be facing in the upcoming year. From regulation and standards, intellectual property to employing an EU citizen, the website holds up to date details.
If you feel more comfortable talking over the phone, the Business Helpline is available from here: https://www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline
With so much information out there, here are a selection of links from GOV.UK to important topics for your business, but please get in touch for more information:
- Operating in the EU after Brexit– what to do if your business has branches in the EU, financial services sector, selling goods in the EU and planning a merger with our without a deal.
- Product Manufacturing after Brexit– what good regulation there is and if there is a no deal, what to place goods on the EU market without a deal and other questions involving trading of goods including batch testing, chemicals and ‘new approach’
- Customs procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal– Ireland land border, importing with or without an agent, duty, economic operator status, temporary moving, modification or a part of something else
- Consumer goods sector– importing/exporting, employees, recognising harmonised goods, trade associations
- Professional and business services– employees, personal data, operating in the EU and cross-border business operations, trade associations
- Economic Operator Registration and Identification Guidance– UK business will need a UK EORI number to continue trading without a deal.
- UK Conformity Assessed requirements– UKCA Guidance Replacing CE mark with the UKCA mark and guidance for their use.
- Food labelling changes after Brexit guidance– changes from 29 March 2019, 31 December 2020 and March 2022 including health and identification marks, organic logos, specific food-related labels
- Personal Data after Brexit– GDPR and its implementation, how it will affect your business if there is a deal, no deal, what is needed now and what will happen in the long term.
- Intellectual property including copyright, patents, trademarks– a hub of information for deal or no deal legislation and how your business could be affected in cross border applications