Brexit is surely a topic that many are tired of hearing about by now. Unfortunately, in many respects the process of Britain withdrawing from the EU is far from over. Many small businesses are justifiably worried about how things will move forward here and want a clearer picture on what’s going to happen.
Still, they’re not alone. Support is out there in a variety of forms, whether it’s useful, small loans from Liberis or the unwavering goodwill of the British public. Ultimately, everyone is on their side, which will no doubt help practically and in spirit too!
Consequently, it’s worth pondering on how small businesses could struggle in the years ahead.
The Uncertainty Factor
Whether you voted leave or remain, one thing Brexit is most certainly offering is, ironically, uncertainty. Until a deal is struck and agreed on by parliament, things are completely up in the air. While fear mongering is of no use to anyone, one thing businesses simply cannot make do with is uncertainty. It bottlenecks all their processes and puts a ceiling over their capabilities.
When facing the possibility of an unstable economy, businesses purposefully play it safe in all areas of operations. After all, jobs and livelihoods are on the line. Consequently, they’ll be less likely to take risks, limiting how much they push forward and innovate as a firm. Perhaps they’ll limit how many staff they recruit, refuse certain trade and partnership proposals, and overall just keep a low profile. While they may survive, they certainly don’t thrive.
While breaking away from the EU is not all bad in certain areas, it does have an impact on the amount of talent that is available for small businesses. Just last September it was reported that seven in ten EU workers would be barred from working in the UK under the Brexit proposals pitched. Of course, things can (but likely won’t) change here before the UK crosses the finish line, but this is a very severe outcome that should never have been on the table.
One might think ‘well then let’s just hire British workers!’, but this isn’t always viable. Many EU workers are better educated and better qualified to perform highly skilled jobs; engineers, computer programmers, and even entrepreneurial roles. Most British people cannot perform these roles. Small businesses need different voices and perspectives to survive, and frankly, the best workers possible in order to become a bigger success. Without that access to some of the best talent going, small businesses are far more likely to struggle, as will the UK economy.
Smaller businesses are just that; small! They don’t have the resources to drum up a dozen different contingency plans and are likely fuelling their business with every penny they’ve got. Consequently, they’re also far less able to take any measures that will really help strengthen them against a brutally hard Brexit. Put simply, they’re vulnerable, and will be hit the hardest.
The big conglomerates may be able to resist much of the negative fallout that Brexit provides. They have extortionate wealth, and while certain jobs could be lost and branches shut, the business itself will likely endure. The same can’t be said for small businesses. Due to their humble capabilities, success and failure are just one or two bouts of bad luck away. When you add Brexit on top of that, it’s easy to see why they’re on edge.