We are going to leave the EU. Whether you wanted out or not, what you must do is to manage problems that will arise and take advantage of opportunities. What this means to small businesses, and to an extent middle-sized ones as well, is impossible to be specific about, but we can identify the likely outcomes for us.
One of the limitations to planning is that it is impossible to make a single specific plan that can cope with all the likely scenarios. However you can still come up with an overall objective that is more useful than just avoiding catastrophe. On top of that, some possibilities are predictable and can be planned for.
What your plan has to cover will depend on your type of business to a great extent. For instance, if you have a number of employees from the EU, or perhaps, one or two in critical positions, you will be concerned, as will your employees, as to whether they will be allowed to continue to work in post-exit UK.
Whilst most commentators suggest that one of the first bits of legislation the new PM will produce is to allow those working in the UK to remain, you should still have, at the very least, an outline of your response should it mean that you might lose staff. If you have had to employ someone from abroad due to lack of specialist skills in the UK workforce it might be useful to consider some kind of training programme.
Hopefully, as time goes on, we will hear from the various pressure groups their thoughts on what the negotiating team should opt for. This will give you some ideas on what you should plan for.
In the initial stages some form of reassuring response to such plans to your workforce, companies you work with, your supply chain and those to whom you sell will repay the effort. Letting them know that you have considered the various impacts of the ideas floated and, most importantly, come up with ways of coping, will give them a degree of confidence in your company.
It seems that the most popular scenario for Brexit is something akin to the Norwegian Option. It won’t be identical of course, but could be all but transparent. However, eggs in basket time: don’t suggest to those you wish to assure of you competence that that is the only scenario you have based your plans on.
I’m not normally prescriptive on these pages, but you must have flexible plans, ones where you can adapt to changing circumstances without having to go back to basics. Remember that even in the worst case scenarios will provide opportunities for those who are resourceful and confident.
Don’t forget to reassure those on your email marketing lists that you have everything in hand and that there will be no changes.
At the same time consider how, for instance, you might handle the pound dropping against the euro and dollar. When it comes time to choose between lower prices or a change in product line, you won’t have to spend valuable time calculating.