The historic vote on Britain leaving the EU (aka Brexit) has already seen some interesting changes. While the details are still being worked out (and with Parliament now discussing it) it is difficult to say for certain on a number of aspects of the referendum vote. However, it is important to look at the impact the Brexit vote has had and may will continue to have on small businesses.
In terms of figures growth was estimated at 0.5%. While this was down from 0.7% it was not as bad as some pundits predicted (with some suggesting it would be less than 0.3%).
What these numbers effectively mean is that growth is slowing- figures suggest this is not so bad in the service industry (0.8%) while the decline has hit manufacturing and construction. This is at odds with some pundits who felt that the weaker pound caused by Brexit would help to boost these industries.
One potential worry for small businesses is investment- while larger companies may be able to withstand this it may be harder for smaller companies to get the investment they need in order to help with tougher economic conditions.
There is also the issue of connected businesses- for example if companies close on an industrial estate this will hit the profits of any suppliers to those businesses.
It is important to stress that until Article 50 is triggered technically Brexit hasn’t happened yet. Therefore, it is hard to know the exact implications of any negotiations or trade deals.
That being said we have seen some issues- for example the recent price rises of products and ingredients have seen a real impact and this in turn is likely to be passed on to customers. Any tariffs on certain products/supplies could have a further impact on businesses.
Of course, this is in the short term- the figures may well pick up and a negotiated trade deal may prevent these tariffs from happening. Both people on the remain and leave sides of the argument have confirmed that this was going to happen in the short term, although the consequences of this continue to be debated.
Keep calm and carry on
Whether you run a café by the bus stop or a multi-national corporation uncertainty is always a difficult thing to deal with. However, for any business it is important to be aware and to handle changing circumstances as best you can.
The best thing to do is to keep your customers and clients informed, making sure they are aware of any potential price rises or issues that could arise, while at the same time doing your best to keep your business working as efficiently as possible.
In short while it is hard to predict for certain what effect Brexit will have (and the chances are other twists in the story have occurred as this is being written) the best thing to do is to keep working on your business as best you can.