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Brexit One Year On: What Should SMEs Expect Next?


In the aftermath of the referendum result that catapulted Great Britain outside of the European Union, many a business owner found themselves wondering what the future might hold for them.

In March of 2017, the UK went through with its promise and triggered Article 50 to begin to process of leaving the EU. Since then, the economy has stuttered, and the world of a business owner has begun to look a less lot secure. With those who are pro-Brexit insisting that businesses will be better off outside of the EU, others find themselves not being convinced by this argument.

So what does the reality hold?

A Date To Remember: March 2019

The UK has not yet left the European Union; that will happen in March 2019, regardless of whether or not there are new trade deals in place. This uncertainty is causing a huge amount of worry for those with larger companies, but SMEs are not any less immune.

It is perhaps important to consider your financial plan up until the actual departure from the EU, and then take stock in the aftermath to see what the markets look like. Most businesses tend to plan further afield than this, but in reality, this is such an unusual situation – no country has ever left the EU before – that all anyone can offer are educated guesses about what’s going to happen.

If things go better than expected with the economy and trade deal negotiations, then being conservative in your five-year plan can suddenly seem like a waste of time. On the flip side, if you’re overly optimistic and reality does have a bite, you could find yourself having to quickly recalculate the next few years of your business. The prudent thing for the moment, therefore, is to focus on the interim period and then reassess once the departure has been completed.

So What Can You Do Now?

Have you ever found yourself wondering: could I export my products overseas? Could I explore new markets? Could I look to licence outside of the UK with my company?

If you have, then now might be a perfect time to look for these links. While the fall in the value of Sterling has overwhelmingly been painted as a bad thing, it does have one benefit: it’s great news for exporters. So if you have ever thought about looking beyond these shores for a customer base, then seizing on the weak pound is definitely a good decision.

While it might seem unwise to look to forge links in overseas markets without solid trade rules agreed, it nevertheless could be beneficial to explore these areas for the next 18 months. Don’t be shy of the rest of the world; the government insists that Britain is open for business, so you should be too.

The Insecurity and The Opportunity

While the insecurity of Brexit, a year on from the vote, is showing no signs of being eased, it’s important to try and remember there are opportunities to be had as well. So while there may be some choppy waters for the next few years, it’s also the best chance to build a business-friendly future – all you need to ensure is that your business is ready and waiting to surf the crest of the wave.