The UK’s decision to leave the EU caught a large majority of businesses offside. Whilst uncertainty abounds, there are ways for businesses to navigate the current landscape by focussing on the things they can control.
The InterTradeIreland All-Island Quarterly Business Monitor (April-June 2016) indicated that over 95% of businesses surveyed across the island have no plan in place to deal with the consequences of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Moreover, nearly one in five report that this uncertainty will lead to a decrease in their level or speed of investment.
Crucially this uncertainty and degree of pessimism comes at a time when the wider economic and business back drop is very positive, with 90% of businesses reporting they are stable or growing. Encouragingly, also, is the result that almost two thirds of businesses on the island state that they have the ambition to grow in the immediate future.
In the meantime we encourage businesses to focus on the things they can control, such as:
- Customer and Supplier Relationships
Focus on developing close value-adding partnership relationships with customers or suppliers that can endure potentially destabilising changes in pricing relationships.
- Business Planning
Possessing a clear and concise plan for your business that identifies clear objectives, critical processes, threats and opportunities is a vital step to navigating uncertainty. Clearly this plan should be reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis.
Innovation should play a key part in your business plans. Uniqueness in a product or service offering comes with a premium that can offset disadvantageous cost movement. InterTradeIreland’s Challenge Programme shows businesses how to build innovation into their DNA.
- Currency Hedging
A currency hedging plan reduces a business’s risk of losing out when the value of the market currency selling in declines relative to the company’s core operating currency. As such, hedging is a risk management strategy that protects rather than creates profits. Advice on hedging can be provided by most banks or specialised currency brokers.
InterTradeIreland is supporting businesses to navigate the uncertain landscape and realise their growth ambitions as the terms and conditions of the UK’s new relationship with Europe – and more specifically that between Northern Ireland and Ireland – emerges.
Our range of trade programmes will become more attractive to inexperienced and first time exporters as new trading relationships begin to emerge. Our Trade Accelerator Vouchers, which can be used for market advice to help scope the potential business opportunity in the opposite jurisdiction and any regulatory hurdles, offer the perfect vehicle for getting expert company-specific advice on changes in the trading environment as they emerge.
Most importantly, we encourage businesses to continue pursuing an export growth strategy. Businesses that export, including those that trade across the border, are three times more likely to be growing!