Last week, Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said small businesses are “paralysed by the looming possibility of a no deal Brexit.”
And now, the CBI have predicted that business spending in the UK is set to decline by about 1.3% in 2019 compared to 2018. That’s the steepest drop in business spending since the recession in 2009.
Look at the graph below. You can see that the overwhelming trend since 2014 is a decrease in investment from UK businesses. The CBI believe that continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit is “crippling UK business investment“.
Slip lane ahead!
On the flip side, if we do get an ‘orderly’ Brexit deal ratified by October 2019, then the CBI group predicts GDP growth of 1.4% this year and 1.5% in 2020.
Fasten your seatbelts, we’re in for a bumpy ride
There is no doubt that we are facing a rocky road head (and not the tasty chocolatey kind). The steady flow of negative headlines are important because they help to lobby our ‘would be leader’ to get a favourable Brexit trade deal.
However, it’s important to compartmentalise the headlines and avoid paralysis.
Leaders of businesses big and small recognise that they must take responsibility for growth and find new market opportunities both here in the UK and abroad.
4 tips to avoid paralysis
What should you do to avoid a rabbit in the headlights situation?
1. Prepare either way
There are a ton of great resources out there to help you prepare for Brexit. Many include a useful Prepare For Brexit Checklist.
Consider how a no deal could influence everything from your workforce’s sustainability, health and safety regulations, the manufacturing process, or cross border trade.
Draw up a plan of what could happen and what you will do if there is a deal, no deal, or even no Brexit.
We recommend you look at these resources to help you prepare. Consider approaching your local chamber of commerce who may also be able to provide more support.
- Brexit planning for businesses in Scotland
- Prepare your business or organisation for Brexit
- Be prepared in Ireland
2. Adopt a growth mindset
What is your current penetration of the UK market? Can you win new business from the UK? How well connected are you to your business network? For domestic growth it is vital that SMEs are connected and servicing each other across the UK.
Consider boosting your networking locally by looking at membership of networks such as your local Chamber of Commerce. Nationally, attend events and conference focused on the needs of your target sectors.
3. Expand internationally
If the domestic market is going to see your business stagnate or even shrink, look elsewhere for growth – especially if your product or service is digital or easy to export.
The ASEAN region, for example, is fast becoming a major economic force in Asia and potentially a good territory to look for international sales to buck Brexit!
Spread your risk by expanding internationally. Before you spend a penny on marketing or sales do your research on the international markets that are best suited to your product or service.
Adlantic’s international market analysts can help you discover where demand for your product or service is highest around the globe. Bolstered with competitor insights in each territory and an expected return on marketing investment, making a decision on which markets to enter is a lot easier.
4. Optimise marketing spend
If you already run marketing campaigns on networks sch as Google Ads, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn we recommend an audit of your spend, campaign structure, bids and competitor auctions.
Adlantic offer a free PPC insights report to review your ads landing pages, and lead nurturing system so you can optimise and increase your return on marketing investment. Adlantic can help you get all three running like a well oiled machine so that every possible lead converts to a sale.
Now is not the time to hesitate. Put your plans in to place sooner rather than later, and give them your all. That means tightening up every process to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Are we ready for Brexit? As a nation, probably not. But as a business? There’s no reason you can’t be.