Brexit through the gift shop – top tips for small businesses

On the 23rd June the UK is holding the in/out referendum to decide whether Britain will remain in European Union. There is much speculation about the effects of a Brexit but nothing is known for certain, which makes decision-making in small businesses difficult.

The Federation of Small Businesses recently released their findings from a poll they conducted of more than 4000 SME’s in the UK. It showed that 42% of SME’s were undecided about whether to stay in the EU or not. It also showed that over half (52%) felt they did not have enough information to make a firm decision.

Industry experts have given their advice to SME’s on what they think the biggest changes could be and how SME’s can be prepared in advance of the vote.

Plan ahead with your clients
Every business knows that planning ahead is the key to success, but with the uncertainty that the Brexit throws up, it becomes vital. The prospect of leaving the European Union means that businesses could lose a great deal of control when it comes to their practices, especially if they involve expanding or exporting.

Chief Marketing Analyst at Foreign Currency Direct, Jonathan Watson, recommends businesses get prepared now to solidify their supply chains. “By speaking to clients and exploring how trade and business could continue to operate, there is at least open lines of communication within which to discuss the situation.”

Watch your spend
Phil Foster, MD of Love Energy Savings suggests that businesses watch their spending during uncertain times. “With the possibility of a Brexit drawing closer, it is essential that SME owners make economies wherever they can, so that they can redirect those funds into more important aspects of their company and keep business ticking over.”

Check your contracts
Many of the UK’s employment laws and procedures are set by the European Union and if Britain leaves the EU, no one can be sure how these may change.

Karen Bexley, head of employment law at MLP Law suggests businesses review their employee contracts. “As the majority of employment laws are written into an employee’s contract, businesses should start by reviewing this document and the terms currently in place – particularly surrounding agreements on holiday pay and rest breaks,” she commented. “They need to consider whether they would amend these terms if changes are made to UK employment laws – such as the Working Time Directive which determines holiday pay – following an EU exit. For existing employees, their contract would remain the same, as it’s a legally binding document. But for new starters, the business could put a revised contract in place to take the new laws into account.”


Photo credit: Dean Hochman


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