Brexit is still high on the business agenda, with many firms concerned about what impact it will have when the UK finally leaves the EU.
Yet despite the negativity and confusion surrounding the ongoing negotiations, businesses which have a strong and well thought out plan in place will be able to weather the storm.
There is a world of opportunity out there for firms with the ambition to expand their horizons and export.
Exporting is not limited to only goods and products.
Services can be exported too and are a key part of the UK’s overall export economy.
A question often asked is how you can export services if there is no ‘physical’ item to export.
The truth is that if you collaborate with an international brand to provide a service to them, you are exporting.
Providing the strategy and delivery of marketing services to global brands looking to raise their profile and expand their presence in the UK, as we have done with US commercial refrigeration manufacturer True, is an example of an exported service.
It’s all about creating outsourced service models which can then be sold to companies overseas, much in the same way that a new machine, a crate of widgets or a pallet of bricks can be.
Don’t let Brexit uncertainty derail your business
Brexit has created wave after wave of uncertainty among businesses.
Our messy divorce from the EU is set to conclude in March 2019 and at this stage, we don’t know what the final settlement will look like. Serious attention still needs to be given to what will happen to trade, customs, borders and migration as the UK transitions itself out of the European trading bloc.
We still don’t know how businesses will be paying VAT, how they can move people between offices, or whether goods will get across borders with a minimum of fuss.
The UK’s business landscape is unpredictable and fast-moving.
Just this week, Panasonic announced that it will move its European headquarters from the UK to Amsterdam in October, as part of its preparations for Brexit.
The tech manufacturing giant said its aim is to avoid potential tax issues linked to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Its decision was driven by a fear that Japan could start considering the UK a tax haven if it cuts corporate tax rates to attract business. If Panasonic ends up paying less tax in the UK, that could render it liable for a bigger tax bill in Japan.
Panasonic’s announcement coincided with the release of a new survey, which found that a third of UK companies say Brexit is already having a negative effect on their business.
The Lloyds Bank Business Barometer for August found that overall business confidence fell by six points to 23%, which Lloyds said was due to declines in both trading prospects for the year ahead and economic optimism.
On the other side of the coin, James Bond’s favourite carmaker, Aston Martin, has brushed off Brexit concerns and announced plans to press ahead with a London Stock Exchange flotation that could be worth around £5bn.
The luxury vehicle manufacturer said it had given detailed consideration to what impact Britain’s departure from the EU might have on business but did not believe it would pose a major threat to the 105-year-old firm.
The truth is, at this stage, we simply can’t say with any certainty what will happen to the UK’s economy as a result of Brexit.
So, why hang around waiting for things that may never materialise when you can be planning for your post-Brexit future now?
One thing we’ve learned in the past is that the businesses which are pragmatic and plan to succeed are the ones which get ahead of the curve.
Europe remains the UK’s biggest trading partner.
Last year, UK exports to the EU, worth £274bn, accounted for 45% of all our export activity, while 55% of our total imports, some £341bn worth of trade, were from the EU.
So, it’s clear that there is still a huge appetite for British products and services in the EU, as well as a desire by EU companies to maintain strong links with their UK-based customers.
That won’t change, regardless of what the final Brexit deal looks like.
So, what is your business going to do about it?
The biggest barrier to exporting is lack of confidence.
Businesses will still need clear and detailed answers about many of the practical, real-world questions they face.
Many of these answers will emerge only through the negotiations, which is why it’s never been more vital that negotiators on both sides crack on and make a deal that works for everyone.
But businesses also need to crack on, rather than wait for answers which may never materialise, or be a long time coming.
What help is available?
A trade deal is a two-way street.
On a macro-level, it will be down to our Government to negotiate mutually-beneficial trade deals on behalf of the UK with the nations we want to trade with post-Brexit.
However, as we’ve seen with the negotiations so far, these things take time.
This is where business needs to take ownership of its own destiny.
There’s no reason why ambitious UK companies can’t start reaching out to their counterparts in these countries now, building links, developing relationships and looking for opportunities to open new markets.
There’s a huge amount of support available for companies that want to take the initiative.
The Department for International Trade, for example, heads up UK export strategy and business support and its website is the best go-to source of information.
There are 28 ‘Export Champions’ within the Midlands Engine, representing a range of industries, who all recognise the importance of exporting and promote its benefits to the local business community.
At a local level, East Midlands Chamber provides in-depth practical support and advice to businesses that are new to exporting, are thinking about it, or are established exporters looking to increase their trade and develop new markets for their products and services.
You can find out more in the international trade section of its website.
And as an agency, Purpose Media can also help.
We can carry out in-depth research, based on your business goals and objectives, into your key target export markets and the ideal audiences within them.
We then bring insight and understanding about how best to communicate with them.
We can also provide the digital and technological solutions to help get your brand seen by the right people in the right countries.
Brexit is still a hotly-debated topic which has divided opinion into every shade imaginable.
It has created huge uncertainty for business, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
It will undoubtedly create huge challenges for business, but with those will come opportunities.
Businesses need to be brave and grab them with both hands.
If you have clear objectives, a vision of how to get there and a strategy to make it happen, you can still succeed, in spite of Brexit.
This is where Purpose Media can help.
Our purpose has always been to help our clients achieve their business goals – it’s that simple.
Marketing your own business can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
We can help you understand our processes and the actions we’re taking. We’ll talk you through the key facts and figures, and give our guidance in plain English, so it’s easy to understand.
So, if you need help creating a marketing campaign or a results-focused strategy for your business, we’ve got your back.
We’re a team that understands. We’ve got the creativity to bring ideas to life and the technology to make them deliver.