6. Tips for Welsh SMEs following Brexit
With 77% of Local Authorities areas in Wales voting to leave the European Union on 23rd June this year, it is important each of the 22 Local Authorities in Wales display active leadership on the journey ahead for those business owners that operate within their jurisdiction.
The impact of Brexit will vary from one business to another and now is the time for each business owner to at least consider and asses both opportunities and threats that stem from the decision made.
I would focus on the following 6 areas:
1. Business Footprint Local
If you largely provide products and services to an immediate market place that is unlikely to change significantly. I would make sure you maintain high levels of customer service, adopt digital innovation and have good staff systems in place.
2. Regional Footprint
If you operate across Wales and indeed into England, now is the time to undertake a basic Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis. This will help you to consider where you may be vulnerable, it will also highlight areas you need to tighten up on and provide focus on new opportunities that could come your way. This works particularly well when it is facilitated independently.
3. Internationally Active
Three months in I would expect these businesses to have looked at their activity in different world markets, considered any exchange rate implications and connected with their key repeat customers to maximise strength of relationship. This may well identify new opportunities and as importantly over reliance on a particular product, market or indeed customer.
4. Interest Rates
Borrowing is at an all time low for funding expansion, more efficient process and technology enhancement. The opportunity to become more competitive is very much available. In different parts of Wales there are funds to help in these areas.
Exchange rates are making Welsh goods and services more competitive outside UK and its an great opportunity for incoming tourism. The message is do not wait to see what may happen, instead dust off all historic records of overseas orders or international visitors and make contact now to seek additional sales/revenue.
Does your business rely on european workers, if so, you will need to review your plans. Consider where future workers will come from and ensure you support your existing workers from outside the UK during this uncertain time.
Imports will be more expensive generally. You will need to look at how these are goods/components are priced into portfolio to maintain margin. You may want to consider if there is an opportunity to source elsewhere within UK.
In summary, now is not the time for business owners to sit on their hands. Getting a full understanding of where your business sits and seeking out new opportunities is the very best place to be. There will always be challenges when running a business and Brexit is in my view a great opportunity to ‘put foot on ball’ understand where you want to be in say 2020 and go for it. Those that sit and ponder are unlikely to still be around in 2020.
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