The government is telling the civil service and business to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. As an SME that trades solely in the UK, and is unlikely to export our services, how should we be preparing for such an eventuality?
Some 10% of SMEs export – meaning the majority do not, but even though your business may not be in the front line, all of us could be affected through our suppliers and customers.
This makes it harder for businesses such as yours to prepare and we can only make intelligent guesses.
Imports may suffer from a sudden interruption of supply, and demand from export markets may fall. Costs, through tariffs, may well increase. The GATT default ones generally stand at 10% (which may be less than the fall in the pound).
Funding (through grants and aid) and cashflow needs to be monitored closely, with back up sources in the event of these drying up. (Equally, the government is suggesting that European funds will be replaced by UK funds although the extent of that is not clear.)
Existing employees who are EU nationals will need to apply for settled status. Businesses reliant on EU workers should investigate measures they could take to boost staff retention and motivation.
All of this means not taking unnecessary risks. Talk to customers and suppliers who are at greatest risk to establish their position. Secure short-term vital supplies including those from third parties that might find imports dry-up or are delayed.
There are websites set up for businesses by HMRC and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce to support both those who trade directly with Europe – and the vast majority of business, which does not.
As Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
For help and advice on preparing for a no-deal Brexit – get in touch with one of our Birmingham business advisors.
Find and contact your local Haines Watts office