Hard or soft. Deal or no deal. Whichever shape Brexit takes, things will change for Irish SMEs and even now, it's not too late to put plans in place.Despite the uncertainty, one thing is for sure, Irish SMEs will rise to the challenge. Ambitious homegrown businesses will continue to create jobs, support local communities and drive our economy forward.
At Linked Finance, we're committed to supporting these ambitious local businesses as they navigate this period of great uncertainty.
Whatever the ultimate outcome Brexit will mean big changes. It will impact every business in the country, across every sector of the economy.
Even now, it's not too late to make preparations. Here are some of the practical things you can do to put your business on a safer footing for life beyond Brexit...
Ensuring you have sufficient working capital in place to proceed with preparations or overcome obstacles is crucial. Many of the businesses we work are putting additional facilities in place now. The logic being that it is easier to access credit now before any Brexit-related challenges have taken a toll.
Our advice is simple, don't wait until your cash flow is depleted before applying for credit. It's easier to secure business finance when bank statements are healthy and commercial performance is strong.
Include your Team
Talk to the members of your wider organisation about the impacts Brexit may have on your business. Include your team in the process of preparing for Brexit and inform all employees about the steps you are taking to minimise the impacts Brexit will have on day-to-day operations.
Certification, licensing and authorisation to practice may be effected by a UK withdrawal from the EU. Assess the impact of these potential changes on your wider business but also how they may impact individual employees. If an employee's UK accreditation becomes invalid for the EU post-Brexit, put steps in place to ensure that they can secure the necessary EU certification as quickly as possible.
Also, if you employ UK citizens in your business, make sure you take the time to inform them about the ongoing validity of the Common Travel Area and their right to work in Ireland, even in the event of a "No Deal" Brexit.
Secure Your Supply Chain
Even if you don't export to the UK, Brexit could impact your supply chain. Some of your suppliers may be based in the UK, products that you secure from local distributors or wholesalers might originate in the UK. Or maybe some of your key inputs need to transit through the UK before reaching you.
Analyse your supply chain and forecast the effects that IMO tariffs are likely to have on your cost base. Where the impacts are significant look, for new suppliers or source an alternative product locally or from another EU market.
Train for Tariffs & Logistics
In the event of a crash out on October 31st, tariffs on trade between the UK and Ireland are very likely. A good practical step in this area would be to procure customs training for your staff. Help up-skill your team so that they are ready to cope with the changes that a new customs regime might bring.
Similarly, logistics could become more complex post-Brexit. Lots of goods bound for Ireland come through the UK. Make sure that your shipping and logistics functions are ready for any changes.
Find New Markets
A recent survey of companies attending International Markets Week found more than half of SMEs who export only some of the time, have already been impacted in some way by Brexit.
A major goal for many is to develop new markets, with Eurozone destinations such as Germany taking precedence. But investment in new markets requires the finance to plan, gauge and embed your product or service with a new market segment. Read this blog about finding new export markets for more.
Manage Cash Flows
It's important to look ahead and anticipate the impacts Brexit might bring for your business and the potential strain these impacts might put on cash flows. Forecast the likely effects and start budgeting for increased expenses.
The biggest challenges that Brexit could bring will likely take a toll on your cash flow. Put additional working capital in place now to insulate your business as best you can.
At Linked Finance, we're committed to supporting ambitious Irish SMEs through this uncertain times. Talk to us today about how we can help take your business beyond Brexit.