Whilst a lot of uncertainty exists around exactly what Brexit will mean for the trading landscape, one way or another, businesses will have to deal with a new set of circumstances in the years ahead. Companies will need to take a strategic approach to their business and plan ahead to ensure that they maximise opportunities as well as mitigate risks and vulnerabilities arising from Brexit. Building strong leadership and management will be crucial to provide the vision and conviction required to navigate through unchartered waters.
Each business will face different challenges and the opportunities and threats of Brexit will be unique to each one. Preparing now for what might lie ahead and considering the implications of Brexit for different scenarios will help ensure that you are ready to take action and quickly adapt to the evolving situation. A change in your business strategy could include anything from diversifying your supply chain, targeting new international markets or innovating your offer to create a competitive advantage.
Possible Opportunities and Challenges
Planning for risks and uncertainty
Identifying risks and starting contingency planning now will make it easier to put plans in place once the details of the final deal are available. Businesses should consider having someone in place that is responsible for managing this and the impact on the organisation. This will be critical to steer the business through this period of uncertainty. This role could fall to the business owner if you are a small business or in a larger business a senior manager or HR professional who has decision making authority and is widely known in the organisation.
Change in market opportunities
Brexit could mean emerging and alternative markets for export opportunities in international markets and/or reduced competitiveness in EU markets. To prepare for this changing situation, you should monitor the business environment and identify the potential to maximise opportunities and diversify markets. It is important to gain a greater understanding of your current competition now and start developing differentiated or strengthen existing offers and look to where you can reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
The potential impact of Brexit across the business could see increased pressure on margins. Companies can look to innovate, increase effectiveness and reduce costs out of their production process to improve efficiencies in order to maintain or even increase profitability. This is one of the measures a business can take to plan against the potentially challenging impacts of Brexit but makes perfect business sense, irrespective of Brexit.
Supply chain agility
Depending on the Brexit deal reached, businesses must ensure they are able to react quickly to any cost-changes within the supply chain and potential delays that could impact flow of supplies. Even businesses that do not directly import from the EU may find critical suppliers are adversely affected. It is important to understand any potential vulnerabilities in your supply chain to ensure your business operations are not impacted. Audit supplier contracts and relationships to clearly understand your supplier base and identify critical areas that may be vulnerable in light of Brexit changes. Identify options to strengthen these or consider diversifying suppliers to mitigate risks.
UK Government have released a series of technical notices which are available on the GOV.UK website including:
- Producing and processing organic food if there's no Brexit deal
- VAT for businesses if there’s no Brexit deal
- European Regional Development Funding if there’s no Brexit deal
- European Social Fund (ESF) grants if there’s no Brexit deal
- Vehicle type approval if there’s no Brexit deal
- Merger review and anti-competitive activity if there's no Brexit deal
- What telecoms businesses should do if there’s no Brexit deal
- Data protection if there’s no Brexit deal
- Industrial emissions standards (‘best available techniques’) if there’s no Brexit deal
- Running an oil or gas business if there’s no Brexit deal
- Changing your company registration if the UK leaves the EU without a deal
- Leaving the EU: advice for SMEs
- Structuring your business if there’s no Brexit deal
- Operating in the EU after Brexit
- Mobile roaming if there’s no Brexit deal
- Sanctions policy if there's no Brexit deal
- Trade remedies if there's no Brexit deal
- EU Exit: Avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland in a no deal scenario
- Five ways civil society organisations can prepare for EU exit
- Guidance on how variations to Marketing Authorisations (MAs) will be handled after exit day if the is no deal
- Guidance on the handling of applications for Centrally Authorised Products (CAPs) pending on exit day
- Handling civil legal cases that involve EU countries if there’s no Brexit deal
- Health and Safety Executive information if the UK leaves the EU without a deal
- How renewals of Marketing Authorisations will be handled in a no deal scenario
- International Agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal
- Operating in the EU after Brexit
- Passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit
- Prepare to use the UKCA mark after Brexit
- Providing services to EEA and EFTA countries after EU Exit
- Statutory Instruments relating to EU Exit
- UK, EU and EFTA legal professionals after Brexit
- Government Procurement Agreement: UK participation after EU Exit
- Public sector procurement after Brexit
- Public-sector procurement after a no-deal Brexit
- Public-sector procurement under the EU Withdrawal Agreement
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