Whether you voted in or out of Europe for Britain, it’s now our chance to ‘Keep calm and carry on’. Change brings opportunities so here is our action plan for what you can do to move ahead for growth over the next 2 years; the time I predict it will take to Brexit.
Speak to your customers and clients
Many of your clients will be feeling uneasy and budgets could be tight. Their clients may have cancelled or delayed projects and orders. Now is the time for you to reach out. Call your customers, find out if this is the case, meet them face to face and talk about their business issues; you are perfectly positioned to help them overcome their concerns.
Many of your clients will have customers and suppliers in Europe and indeed the rest of the world. They need a plan, and you can help them create one. How are they going to deal with Britain leaving the EU? Who do they need to communicate to? What is their strategy? How can you help? Lots of questions you can help them work around.
There is a lot of potential for you to win new work, to collaborate with clients and ensure growth, despite a potentially volatile marketplace. We all have a choice in how we react to any situation presented to us. We can move forward with hope, seeking new opportunities or we can be fearful and falter. What are you going to do?
Consider work abroad
Don’t shut the door on European friends and allies. It is business as usual so far, so don’t write everyone off immediately – talk to them and stay close.
When the pound is weaker, your services are more affordable for clients outside of the UK.
The common trend has been to look at Europe but will now be to look towards Asia, America and Australasia.
While there are new concerns about EU funding and the UK’s image within the EU, our creativity and ingenuity is well respected across the world. Now could be an excellent time for you to look at developing new markets further afield.
I would recommend taking a look at the UKTI website and Exporting is Great both of which offer webinars on how to start exporting and occasionally there are relevant, supported trade missions to others countries which you can join. These missions put you in front of potential contacts and could lead to stellar opportunities.
What unique skills could you bring to foreign markets?
Ensure projects are profitable
In uncertain times it’s more important than ever that we have a firm grip on the business. We should all be measuring what we’re doing, setting ourselves targets and adjusting to changes in PEST factors (Political, Economic and Environmental, Social and Technological).
Are you clear on how profitable each of your projects are? I would strongly advise you to make sure your team is tracking this and that you understand where your resources are being spent; time and money.
Do you currently outsource work at peak times? As the pound takes a tumble, it could be more expensive for you to use talent from outside of the UK than it has been in the past. While this is unlikely to be permanent, do you need to consider and prepare other choices? Is there talent you could use in the UK instead?
I think this is something that simply needs to be monitored over the next few months. Things will inevitably settle down. In the meantime, we need to remain agile, flexible and open minded.
While the UK’s buying power might be temporarily diminished it is balanced by the opportunity for exports.
We don’t know what the future holds however we can decide how we react to challenges presented to us. We are a talented, resourceful and tenacious nation; we must look forward and do the very best we can.
It’s also important to note that you are not alone. Many organisations are in the same boat as you. Co-marketing can really save costs. Are there any non-competitive companies targeting the same prospects as you? I would also recommend joining some of the great networks that exist, talking to your colleagues and working together for everyone’s benefit. In particular, your local Chamber.
Uncertainty brings opportunity. You can find those opportunities and make the most of them.
Some Brexit statistics:
Bank of England – July 20, 2016 – Monthly Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions; “The annual rate of activity growth had remained moderate and little changed in the month up to the EU referendum. Consumer spending and construction output growth had eased a little, offset by a pickup in manufacturing growth from a low base. There had been further signs of uncertainty leading to delays in decision-taking, including on capital spending, hiring and property investment.
Following the EU referendum, business uncertainty had risen. Many firms had only just begun to formulate new business strategies in response to the vote and, for the time being, were seeking to maintain ‘business as usual’. A majority of firms spoken with did not expect a near-term impact from the result on their investment or staff hiring plans. But around a third of contacts thought there would be some negative impact on those plans over the next twelve months. As yet, there was no clear evidence of a sharp general slowing in activity.”
The quarterly IPA Bellwether Report expects adspend to dip 0.2% this year and drop 1.3% in 2017. Last quarter it expected an increase of 3.3% in 2016 and 2.7% in 2017. A record 68% of respondents kept their marketing spend flat in the second quarter amid uncertainty about whether Britain would leave the European Union.
Numis Securities said it expected ITV to see a drop of between 5% and 10% in ad revenues in the next 12 months. The TV market looks to be flat or better in July and August with the troubled newspaper market worsened with double-digit declines.