Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Whirl Wind subsiding – Prepare for the Rollercoaster Ride!

The Met Office didn’t warn us that the Welsh football team would last longer than England in the Euros (and longer than the whole of the UK in the EU);  Andy would win Wimbledon again; we’d need to keep up with which political party has a leader today;  and that formerly red-haired TV stars would join in the fun!  What is normally the start of the silly season as the press gamely scrabble round for stories has had more bombshells than even seasoned hacks can remember.  No wonder they missed an HMRC building, struck by lightning losing its, already fragile, IT systems!

It has been an emotional roller coaster and many have felt distracted from getting on with day-to-day (I won’t say “normal”) life.  As hard as it may seem, we have to trust our new PM, our MPs and the civil servants (who really run the country) to keep UK Plc on track. There are positives in Brexit and we all need to grab them – from opening up new trade deals with the world on terms that work for the UK and our partners, to forcing us to be, again, a truly entrepreneurial powerhouse.

While we work out Brexit, UK business needs to focus on keeping operations on track and, in some cases, learning to be more proactive, rolling with the punches that may come in the ensuing months.

At BattleAxe HQ the jungle drums have brought stories from both sides over the last few weeks.  Contracts lost “because of Brexit” which, when you delve further, seem likely to have been cancelled even if the vote had gone the other way.   Contrast that with exporters who have rapidly signed new deals as the fall in the value of the pound has meant products are now more attractive to overseas buyers (btw, a little reminder to bill in sterling to avoid the exchange risk!). Both of these have a dramatic effect on a business – how do you resize rapidly enough to deal with the consequences?  Can you invest and recruit fast enough to grasp opportunities or scale back quick enough within your cash flow?

Those businesses that have planned will do more than just get through, they may well thrive – just as many did in the last recession.   Planning is key: taking on new business just because it’s there isn’t always the right thing to do, indeed it can ruin a business. But it takes clear thinking to say no.  For all of us in business building in flexibility of workforce and operations, thinking positively about each opportunity and broadening our horizons is going to be as key to survival as ever.