Has the result of the referendum on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union left more questions than answers for small to medium sized businesses?
We were perhaps thinking that the picture would be much clearer after the votes had been counted and had the “Remain” vote triumphed then it may well have been, “Business as Usual!”
To say a “spanner has been thrown into the works” with a “Leave” vote is a proverbial understatement. So what is the future for small to medium sized businesses?
Should businesses look to the future with high expectations and prosperous times or is it doom and gloom and a time to consolidate?
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for almost half of the UK economy and are therefore of great significance to the prosperity of the country. The general impacts on SMEs are likely to relate to regulations, including social and employment regulations, trade policy, immigration policy and funding from the EU.
What are the experts saying?
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of Small Businesses has said, “Smaller businesses up and down the country now need to focus on economic certainty and stability”. The FSB has also urged policy makers to improve the ease of doing business in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Cherry went on to add that, “Even before the EU referendum result, our members were reporting tough business conditions right across the country.”
Positives and Negatives for Small Businesses
Small Business Trends reports that business owners themselves have mixed opinions, with some reporting that it could be catastrophic. However, other observers feel that, “Small and medium sized businesses are constantly held back by unnecessary EU regulations and red tape and therefore need the freedom to be able to thrive in the 21st century.”
One hundred small business owners sent a letter to The Sun newspaper calling on readers to vote to “Leave”. They argued that the ideals of the EU no longer represent the “best interests of British businesses or the British people.”
Professor Stephen Roper, Professor of Enterprise and Director of the Enterprise Research Center at the Warwick Business School, Coventry, England said, “Small businesses need to prepare for a period of volatility as markets react. Gains in terms of reduced regulation and EU membership costs may follow, but are probably some years off.”
Uncertainty is Assured
Paul Goodman, Chairman of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) stressed, “The UK is facing a period of considerable uncertainty, and small and medium-sized businesses will not be immune. Nobody knows how the result of the EU Referendum will play out, and its ultimate impact on the economy, but choppy waters in the short-term are almost guaranteed.” He went on to add that, “Business owners, for their part, should not panic, but simply be vigilant”.
A Good Time to Assess Your Business
What is abundantly clear is that your business needs to put itself into the strongest position possible and now is the perfect time to assess and implement measures to ensure that your business is seen and potential clients come to you first. Take stock and have a look at the following:
• Check Your Business Plan
• Assess Your Marketing Strategy
• Revamp Your Website
• Revise Your Content
• Maximise Your Social Media
Your business has to be better than the competition.
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