The vote to leave Europe has been held and many were surprised that the leave side won the vote, leaving the EU and politicians without a plan of the next step. There has been an increasing number of questions on both sides of the debate and it’s only now we are starting to get some idea of where we could be heading for
So where does this leave the business owner? As it stands businesses owners will continue to abide by the same EU rules they did on Thursday and await new ones in the coming months and years. Free trade agreements don’t happen overnight and the first one to be thought about maybe with the EU. But there are vast growing markets in India and China and a new President in the US who may also have a very different view about Europe.
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has called for clarity from the government on issues such as the single market and free movement of people. “Nearly a quarter of FSB members export, with the majority exporting to the single market. Access to the single market means access to 500 million potential consumers, more than 26m businesses and is worth €11tn,” he says.
However, for some businesses, this will be an opportunity. With many companies treading water perhaps for 24 months whilst negotiations go on between Whitehall and Brussels there is the chance to fill the vacuum. When the UK has faced previous major shocks ground breaking products & ideas have emerged as companies become more flexible in their thinking to gain an edge
Many believe that small businesses will lead the recovery. “We should expect a bumpier economic climate in the short term, but as Mark Carney has commented, we have a resilient UK financial system and the ‘real economy’ will adjust. Private businesses and SMEs are at the heart of the real economy and they are nothing if not resilient, flexible and adaptable. I am confident that they are well equipped to weather the changes.”
Jim Duffy, CEO of business accelerator Entrepreneurial Spark, part of RBS, suggest they will be ploughing on regardless. “True entrepreneurs are opportunity-hungry and with change comes that opportunity,” he says. “Entrepreneurs will simply just get on with it and what’s important today is that they continue to focus on planning to ensure that they can navigate any turbulence in the coming days and weeks while exploiting bigger opportunities in the months and years to come.”