With the UK now in a transition period while we negotiate additional arrangements with the EU, we now have less than a year until the full implications of Brexit take effect. After that, the UK businesses will need to deal with new rules on trade, travel and more, creating a completely new business environment. British businesses are already feeling impacts, from loss of retail jobs to damage to London’s status as the world’s top financial centre.
Now, therefore, is the time to prepare and get ready for these changes. Doing so will mean your business will be ready to hit the ground running and thrive rather than struggle in post-Brexit Britain. Here are 5 top tips for preparing your business for the post-Brexit landscape.
- Do Your Research
The most important thing businesses can do to prepare for a post-Brexit Britain is to do your research and read up as much as possible. This includes the changes that Brexit will involve, any aspects that may impact on your business, and how your business can best adapt to these changes.
The UK Government has put together a comprehensive website to help UK businesses prepare for leaving the EU. The Gov.uk Brexit site has information on a range of topics, including personal data, intellectual property, and EU funding.
It is also important to remember that much is still largely unknown about the long-term effects Brexit will have on UK business. So the best thing to do is to prepare for likely eventualities, but be flexible and responsive to new developments at the same time.
- Review Your Supply Chain
One area that is likely to impacted significantly by Brexit is supply chain. In the transition period, UK businesses large and small should be reviewing their suppliers. Many UK businesses currently rely on suppliers in Europe, but these relationships will likely be less favourable once Brexit comes into effect.
In a post-Brexit Britain, depending on final trade negotiations, the UK may leave the EU Customs Union, which will means that trade between UK and EU countries will be subject to duties and other customs controls. This will greatly affect the price of supplies procured in Europe, from the raw materials need to make products to essential business equipment like card and pin machines, as well as making importation slower, more complex, and more expensive. Now is the time for British businesses to look for new suppliers outside of Europe, and at least start to source and build relationships with potential suppliers, should this become necessary.
- Look to Export Markets
One benefit British businesses are already seeing in the context of Brexit is that fluctuating exchange rates have made British goods and services more affordable to those overseas. This has been good news for UK businesses that export their products or services.
This means that post-Brexit Britain may present great opportunities for UK businesses to expand into new foreign markets. If we see an undervalued pound, which economists are predicting, thing will be the perfect time for businesses to establish new buyers all over the world, while their products are relatively cheap. Therefore, in this stage UK businesses should be looking to make contacts with overseas buyers and build these markets.
- Prepare Your Workforce
Another unknown is whether UK and EU workers’ rights will change post-Brexit. It is almost certain, however, that businesses that employ European citizens will need to demonstrate proof of their employees’ right to work in the UK. There may also be a range of other implications for employing staff in the new context.
This means that during this transition period, British businesses should review their recruitment and workforce-sourcing strategies. This will be particularly relevant to companies that rely on low-skill EU workers. Any business that was European employees should now be looking to assist their staff members to get their paperwork in order, so that they will have the right to work in the UK once changes come into effect. Business should also be looking to skilled domestic workers to plug gaps in their workforce, and should start preparing local recruitment strategies accordingly.
- Research Intellectual Property Rights
One of the more confusing areas that British businesses will need to deal with in a post-Brexit world is intellectual property. Currently UK businesses operate with registered EU trademarks and Community designs. These will still be valid in the EU post-Brexit, but will need to be protected by new UK equivalents.
The UK government has also indicated that GDPR regulations will continue to be in effect for UK businesses under all scenarios. Although this has been a headache to implement, sticking with GDPR is good news for UK businesses, as consumers respond well to transparent marketing and privacy protections.