If you are reading this and feeling despondent after the UK’s vote to leave the EU last week, it’s time to take action. There’s no time like the present to counteract what is happening economically. There could be business positives to come of Brexit. We do need to counter Brexit creatively.Why do I suggest this?
Let’s look at the news for Monday 27th June 2016:
- George Osborne Chancellor of the Exchequer does nothing more than say ‘we’re doing our best’ in his speech today.
- Sterling has hit a low against the dollar not seen since 1985.
- Budget Airline EasyJet warn profits will be hurt.
- Foxtstones shares plunged by 22%
- RBS and Barclays crash and trading is suspended
And so it goes. But is there any news that can help entrepreneurs and businesses alike? Bearing in mind such people have taken risks to kick-start their careers and have often run roughshod over pension provision, holiday and sickness entitlement, surely they are the ones to kick-start this brave new world?
How to counter Brexit creatively? What’s needed is a growth mindset
We have overcome recessions, Black Wednesday, two world wars, a depression, a three-day week and much more. So why shouldn’t we be able to recover our creativity and agility? Why are we all wringing our hands in fear?
I guess for all those that voted to remain in the EU we feel the decision has been taken out of our hands. This is quite a shock as the economy has been buoyant of late. To find others rejecting that and voting against membership of the EU is a massive dent to our pride and businesses’ understanding of how the world works.
However, entrepreneurs have passion. They want to inspire, create and develop. After all, in London and the south-east in general we have been – and still are – pro tem, the EU start-up home. In fact 40% are based in the capital. London is a major EU finance hub too. Yes, some organisations may take their ball home – HSBC has already said it might move its headquarters to Paris – but bearing in mind London is such a massive centre, our experience doesn’t suddenly evaporate. UK tech has grown by over 25% year on year and is worth at least £161 billion. Is anyone really going to pull that apart in revenge?
So it’s time to prove that we can make it under a different guise – that eventually we will have a global market to pitch to and that opportunities are there for the taking.
We interviewed one young CEO of a much-lauded prop tech start-up, No Agent. These guys have set up a business to revolutionise the rental market. So how do they feel about their future? Do they think their business can counter Brexit?
“It’s difficult for me, in one sense. Of course right now there’s a massive concern regarding a potential recession. That happened back in 2009 when I set up my very first company. It’s ironic that as I grow my second it’s likely I’m going to face it all over again. This will undoubtedly affect the company’s next funding rounds. It’s annoying because it’s out of my control. But then again, I guess the first recession was nothing to do with me either, seeing as I was just 20 years old! A lot of us in the tech sector are younger than Millennials so we always feel like we are picking up the pieces, somehow”.
“Having said that I have no intention of curling up and dying. The question I keep asking myself is how agile can I be? In fact, the more I thought about it, Brexit potentially hands startups an opportunity on a plate. We now have to find ways to be more agile and bootstrap our business; that’s not a bad thing. Right now if people spend less on property and batten down the hatches it will impact No Agent’s business model for sure. But it makes excellent sense to make every pound count and little waste makes excellent business efficacy. If we can weather the storm of this impending recession, by trimming any fat, we’ll get through to the other side and take advantage of the global opportunities that will inevitably come our way”.
Calum Brannan, CEO of Noagent.io
I also spoke to Paul Quarrell of Reappraise Consulting, based in London. He told me:
‘We need to realise risk and understand future issues, particularly if you are involved in wide scale EMEA delivery or in facilities management where you have European arms of UK businesses. This will mean considering the diversification of the supply chain and starting to think about engagement and procurement structures. If you supply services to government, for example it’s worth taking stock of how formal EU rules will affect how you deliver and conduct business”.
“I think it’s a marvellous moment to draw breath and think about what you have and who you have it with. I believe it’s essential to ensure contracts are robust and Brexit-proof”.
Stuart Bladen, a senior leader and trouble-shooter for IT and client facing technology businesses, thinks there are some key points for businesses post-Brexit. He feels they will need to keep their eye on:
- Uncertainty over VAT, tariffs and trade.
- Siting HQs and Demo Centres.
- In which jurisdiction to contract, consolidate finances and invest.
- Where to recruit staff, skills, leaders, to locate R&D and host data.
- How to gain Regulatory approval and access the EU Single Digital Market.
In my personal opinion it’s time to show just what business is made of in the UK. After all, tech is international and we have to find ways to develop the growth mindset. If we force ourselves to adopt to abundant rather than scarcity thinking we can counter Brexit creatively. Even better, we can actually nail this. We have to tell ourselves there will always be more. We also need to collaborate as much as possible in order to convince everyone we are THE people to do business with. They may not like our decision to leave the EU but they can’t ignore us, with luck! We need to share knowledge and help one another. In addition, developing trust, building up rapport and then striving to grow will be the positive response to any difficulties on the horizon. We have to believe that the best is yet to come. We have to think big, embrace risk, then finally take ownership of change; it’s inevitable.
How will Brexit affect your business? Will it change your processes?
Vivienne Neale is a strategist and consultant working in social media, change management and digital transformation.
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