Words coined in our modern age often symbolise something straightforward, something that has been catapulted into our everyday lives like the iPhone or streaming or even *winky face* twerking.
However, it may be fair to say that no word in recent years has conjured up as much division or opinion, as Brexit.
At the beginning (can you remember that?) it was casually used by the media as a way of summing up Britain’s intent to exit the European Union. It rolled off the tongue and trended on Twitter. It was squeezed into conversations like ketchup at a bbq. It became the norm.
If I mention Brexit now, it comes laden with the following:
Rarely can a word that is now used so often, force such emotional responses.
When chatting with small business owners, their response is one of caution and of concern. Worries fed and fueled by boisterous headlines and scaremongering. Much of the information coming from closed groups on social media or their bloated news feeds.
For SMEs, their focus every day is maintaining a healthy cashflow, understanding where growth lies and where threats exist. And, of course, seeking every opportunity to make a success of their dream.
Uncertainty is anxiety-inducing – particularly if your home, family, colleagues and happiness are tied to a complex and evolving situation that you have very little (if any) control over.
It can be all too easy to forget that behind every SME is a dedicated team and that a high percentage are family-owned. According to family business law firm Shakespeare Martineau, family businesses represent almost two-thirds of the private sector and just over 25% of the UK economy.
Amalia Brightley-Gillott, MD of the Family Business Place, a family-owned business that support, you’ve guessed it, families who run businesses, recommends reaching out to trusted sources to gain insight into preparing for every eventuality.
“The constant swirl of seemingly bad news can be panic-inducing for businesses and sometimes this can resemble an echo chamber of the same negativity. We’ve been chatting at length with our members and to be honest, our advice is centred around gaining solid information to build a plan that supports your business dependent on the outcome of the decision.
“Chatting with your accountant or advisor is a great start – they can offer advice tailored to your needs and based on your concerns. With their finger on the pulse of your business, they’re a valuable asset in your prep-arsenal. Gaining advice from trusted business advisors is also worthwhile – we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of our members asking for guidance on how they can protect their business and plan for any eventuality.”
Echoing this sentiment, is Darren Phillips, Co-Founder and Director of Bloom Accounts, a digital finance team for SMEs, who recommends taking a good look at your business before making any decisions – regardless of any Brexit outcome.
In an uncertain situation, you need to make your business as robust as possible. By taking stock and gaining a firm grip on what your business looks like you’re in a position to make better decisions – a good place to be irrespective of the outcome of Brexit. Sometimes we have a tendency to bury our heads in the sand and avoid looking at the numbers, but with great tech at your fingertips, it makes easy work of complex data. Knowing your numbers under different scenarios solidifies any plans you might want to put in place in the future.
In essence, keeping your finger on the pulse is crucial, but remain in touch with trusted sources:
Media: the BBC is always a great place to start and you can also find helpful articles on Forbes, HuffPost Business, The Economist and for breaking news, Sky is particularly good.
Social media: if you’re part of a community, ensure you question sources and gain the facts when absorbing the comments.
Advisors: chat with an advisor and together map out a business plan that can prepare you for the outcome of Brexit and the impact it may have on the UK’s economy.
Friends and family: you started your business with them at your side, why change now? If you’re worried consider gaining support and wisdom from those who know you best.
With the debate continuing in parliament it seems the UK (and the rest of the world) is waiting with bated breath.
If you’ve read this far, you might like to know that we’ve recruited and gathered insights and expertise from some of the UK’s best advisors and business leaders to keep you ahead of the curve as Brexit progress.
Keep an eye on our social channels for the next Brexit blog.