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by Rachel Goddard

July 1st, 2016

Time to face up to Brexit

They say a week is a long time in politics – and it’s certainly been a long week in business.

It began for most of us with disbelief at the referendum result. It seems that however we voted, most people were surprised by the outcome – not least the politicians.

We’ve since had time to reflect. We’ve had lots of discussions with our clients, who are mainly business owners, as well as colleagues and friends. Initial shock has given way to resolve that we have to get on with it and adjust quickly to the new environment. As business leaders, we need to lead. Many people are concerned about a repeat of the financial crisis in 2008, but the feeling is that banks and businesses are stronger this time around. The worst thing we can do is talk ourselves into another recession.

While the politicians argue among themselves about how to go about exiting the EU, we must get on with running and growing our businesses.

So what should we do?

  • Be realistic, and remain positive – we learned in the recession that fear and uncertainty can escalate into panic. What we need now is calm and rationality.
  • Be brave and bold – we are on our own now. Our economy needs our businesses to be strong, to lead us into whatever the future holds
  • Invest in our teams and businesses. Now is not the time to put growth plans on hold. We need to be the best we can be.

No-one knows how Britain’s exit will play out or how long it will take, but what we do know is that it’s as imperative to market your product or service now as it ever was. Indeed, there may even be new opportunities to define your place in the world. If that means demonstrating more efficiency and effectiveness of spend, more business acumen and a reallocation of budgets here and there, so be it – we are getting pretty good at that.

So here are our top tips on how to handle the new Brexit world:

1. Don’t bury your head in the sand. It’s time to get out there and get busy.

2. Talk to your customers. Really listen to what they’re saying. Is there something you can provide that would help them? Keep a close eye on what is happening – how are clients thinking, feeling and behaving? Remember how Lidl and Aldi flourished in the recession.

3. Talk to your team and your suppliers. Look for new ideas. Now is the time for collaboration and teamwork.

4. Keep an eye on the competition. What are they up to? How can you be better?

5. Be careful with budgets – but don’t stop spending. Instead be strategic about how you spend your money and work out how to maximise your ROI. Businesses in the recession who continued to spend on marketing recovered much more quickly than those that didn’t.

6. Build your brand. What does it mean to your staff and customers? Look inwards and outwards – how can you make it stronger? Do you need to introduce changes to make your business more attractive and relevant in the new era?

7. Be creative. Think outside the box and make things happen. Look for new opportunities.

8. Embrace technology. Be smart with how you use the platforms available. Use social media to engage directly with customers. Keep your website updated and active. It’s good for SEO and will reassure potential customers that you are forging ahead. Start a blog!

Many of these actions are part of business as usual – and that’s precisely the point. They will create a strong foundation for growth whatever happens in the wider world. Things will eventually settle down, and when they do, Britain will need strong businesses to lead it confidently into the post-Brexit world.

So, ‘Keep calm and carry on’!

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