Brexit. It’s a word that’s enough to strike fear into the heart of any small business. But as scary as it is, it isn’t all bad – where there’s change, there’s also opportunity, and British business owners can really take advantage of that.
Rising costs, changing regulations, higher taxes and skills shortages – you’re right to be concerned about those. But also remember, as a smaller player, you’ve got a real advantage over big businesses: it’s a lot easier for you to adapt and create opportunities and growth prospects than it is for them.
Weak pound = strong market
With the weaker pound, British goods and services are more affordable than ever to non-UK buyers – which can scale up your export market (retail or wholesale, it’s a boost to both) in a very big way. A study by PayPal shows that our international sales are way up post-Brexit: one in seven overseas shoppers bought from UK sellers in the last year, making us the biggest exporter in Europe.
Travel in the UK is also now more affordable for people from outside the country, so tourism (and related) businesses will definitely benefit. With their money going further, tourists are more likely to take a trip – and spend more while they’re here.
Get into untapped international markets
If you’re already selling online, now’s a good time to expand. PayPal is showing hot demand for UK products in the US and China – two massive markets with major potential. To take advantage of that thirst for our wares, create a seamless online experience for international buyers. With the right ecommerce tools, your sites can automatically translate content to the user’s language and currency, and make it a snap for them to buy your stuff.
These days, investors are keen on British business as well: private equity firms and investors can get more for their money, making them more likely to invest.
‘Made in the UK’ will win
The upside of new import taxes for UK businesses? If you’re manufacturing goods locally, you’re at a real advantage. With VAT costs and extra duty taxes bumping up the cost of imported goods in a big way, customers will see local goods as a more affordable option. And businesses that have been bringing in products from Europe will be rethinking their supply chains, looking to local suppliers to save cash and avoid hassle.
Jumping in to fill the talent gap
As EU workers leave the UK and companies close their doors, a skills gap is opening up, and it’s one that UK workers can easily step into with some upskilling. As a business owner, if you focus on helping your employees learn and develop, you’ll see an increase not just in know-how, but in employee engagement and retention. The result? A stronger, smarter, more loyal workforce. And as bigger brands downsize or relocate, the UK workers they lay off will be up for grabs – another source for quality talent and a competitive advantage for you.
There’s help out there for small businesses
The UK government has a site that helps businesses get ready for Brexit: it has checklists of everything you need to do, rules and regulations that might affect you, funding options and more. The Scottish Government has a similar site, and is offering grants, education and other support services. Brexit Support Grants of up to £4,000 are available to help Scottish businesses manage everything from figuring out supply chain issues to retraining employees.
The UK’s banks have also jumped into the fray. Lenders like Barclay’s Bank have bigger lending funds for small businesses, and they’re holding “Brexit Clinics” around the country. These helpful sessions are a great source of practical expertise on issues like food exporting, cash flow, trade, labour, fraud and supply chain management.
Alternative lenders (like us at Boost Capital) are also a good source of funding for smaller players. Unlike more traditional banks – which are known for being slow, strict, and making borrowers jump through all kinds of hoops – they offer fast, short-term unsecured access to financing as you need it.
Problems are our opportunity
Yes, we agree. Brexit has opened us up to plenty of problems, and the change won’t be easy on anyone. But as UK business owners get creative and start coming up with smart solutions for the issues Brexit leaves in its wake, they’ll find success in surprising places. There are opportunities post-Brexit: you just have to identify them and jump right in there with products, services and new approaches to fill the gaps that our big exit leaves behind.
Need funding to take advantage of these opportunities?
Boost Capital can help! See if you qualify for financing here.
Just to let you know…
We might know our stuff when it comes to business finance, but we don’t know everything when it comes to your business’s specific needs. Always consider your options carefully and consult a professional advisor before you do anything drastic.