It’s typical. You’ve just got the perfect idea for your startup, and have your eyes set on an international market. Then all of a sudden the political climate swings and everything is in upheaval – from the value of the pound to the status of London as an international business hub, many things are uncertain in 2016. But there are some steps you can take to ensure that the impending ‘Brexit’ has as little impact as possible on your new venture.
The first thing to remember is that nobody can accurately predict what will happen once plans to leave the EU are finally set in motion – particularly financially. So if numbers aren’t your strong point, it’s time to get training. Many finance courses are now being modified to include content related to operating outside the European Union, so make sure all your knowledge is up to scratch. This will help you to make the best decisions and ensure your business thrives in the uncertain years to come.
Next, take a look at similar projects and businesses already operating outside of the EU and see if you can learn from their successes. Of particular interest should be businesses in countries like Canada, Norway and Switzerland – take a look at how they have made trading outside the single market work for them, and take note of any lessons to be learned. Have you got any contacts in any of these countries you could ask for advice?
You should also try and assess which areas of your business might be worst affected by Britain leaving the EU. You might lose an existing partner, for example, or take a hit from the tumultuous economic situation. If you’re worried about money, now is the time to think about where you might be able to cut down expenses. For example, swapping your normal premises for a virtual office can help save thousands a year.
Finally, be prepared for anything. Although Brexit will surely throw some hurdles in the way of your start-up, it might provide some opportunities as well. The key is to keep yourself open to all possibilities, and flexible enough to be able to take advantage of them. We’re entering unchartered territory, so be sure to be one of the businesses that’s drawing the maps - not floundering in the Channel.