How Northern Ireland’s SMEs can prepare for Brexit
The separation of Britain from the European Union (EU) is going to have an impact on specific business sectors from both large multi-national corporations to small and medium sized businesses. While it can be difficult to know what lies ahead during this time of uncertainty, those who are actively preparing for Britain’s departure from the EU will thrive above the rest.
Northern Ireland will see one of the biggest impacts from the separation with experts forecasting a decline in economic growth from between 2.5% and 12%. However these estimates greatly depend on how Britain decides to leave the EU. For small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Northern Ireland, this is going to cause significant disruption to a lot of processes already in place. Worryingly, it seems like only a fraction of said businesses are taking the appropriate steps towards the future.
It may seem daunting, but unfortunately the only way to overcome the forecasted Brexit slump is to get well acquainted with it. Understand how exactly your business model will have to adapt and get ahead of situation. It’s time to learn exactly how things will change over the next 13 months and how best you can fortify your business strategy to withstand any potential setbacks that Article 50 will bring with it.
With offices in Belfast, here at Glandore, we are preparing our business for Brexit. We’ve put together a guide for how small and medium businesses can also prepare for the change in systems and processes.
The importance of preparation
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Export businesses will need to begin preparing for the eventual end to some of their trade deals once Brexit finally arrives.
They will need to work closely with their VPs and sales teams in order to find viable solutions to these trade issues. Any plans to expand should be rethought, especially if your intended expansion is within Northern Ireland.
Many established SMEs in Northern Ireland will most likely seek to invest in spaces in the Republic of Ireland or in mainland Europe; some have already begun this process. Situations like this should be anticipated and could possibly be a solution for your company.
With Brexit fast approaching, many companies will have to make quick decisions. In order to help with decision-making companies should look to their competitors and neighbouring businesses to see what they’re doing. This will enable your company to stay on top of the changes and make sure nothing gets lost in the oncoming confusion.
Opportunity in confusion
Although there is the obvious wave of uncertainty for business across multiple sectors, there is also room for opportunity.
With issues including finance, currency, data protection (especially with GDPR) and grants facing many SMEs in the coming months, there are some who are finding ways to assist with these issues.
Accountancy firms in Northern Ireland can already be seen running Brexit-specific training courses with SMEs in mind. With classes ranging from VAT, trading, customs and even tariff changes, there are a multitude of different courses to help businesses prepare. If your company has any knowledge which could helps others during this time, share it. Teamwork and collaboration can help businesses that are in the same position.
Acquiring New Skills
SMEs, both in Northern Ireland and across the EU, could lose out on business if they do not have the necessary skills to deal with the fallout.
Companies who deal exclusively with EU exporters and importers will need a transition period in order to identify which skills are needed in order to survive in post-Brexit Northern Ireland. These skills can include certain administration processes or learning to apply certain tariffs.
These may seem fairly straightforward, however without the appropriate time to learn these new skills or even apply them in your everyday routine, it may have an impct on your business. These types of challenges so early on in the aftermath of Brexit could very potentially put your entire operation at jeopardy.
Building up strength from within
As useful as it may seem to keep a close eye on the market, doing your own investigative work may prove to be more effective. Use whatever information you have and build from there.
In-house analytics, predicting possible threats and examining potential profitability will help you prepare for Brexit and the repercussions it may have. This could help minimise any damage to your business.
Building a strong and confident team will also help. Make sure all of your employees are aware of what is happening and what could happen. Organise your own affairs and encourage your employees to get on-board with forming new solutions and highlighting potential risk areas. Being proactive, rather than retroactive, will help businesses assess future problems in advance and mitigate any potential damage.
At Glandore, we believe in supporting businesses in Northern Ireland through Brexit. We support the growth of the companies and individuals by creating flexible options that allow their business to easily expand. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Glandore member in our flexible office space, get in touch here.