EU Referendum Result
TOLD YOU SO! Don’t worry I am not commenting on the result, Prime continue to be neutral, however my co-directors have asked me to write a follow up to our EU Referendum Survey Blog. This blog is much harder; in the last one all I had to do was comment on a set of results, now I am being asked to predict the future!
Well perhaps I should be asking our clients what the future holds for us now, as they seem to know their stuff. The results of our survey had Leave with a narrow majority and we all know that is what happened.
However asking what will happen now we have the results is much more complex, as we are in the unique position of not knowing the terms of our exit; many commented beforehand it would have been an easier decision if we knew this.
Anyway as we don’t know how or when the exit from the EU will take place, I will concentrate on the only thing we know for sure that we will need, and that is "Change Management"
The country has voted for change, therefore don’t be surprised and unprepared when it happens.
History has taught us that the best performing businesses are those that have changed when they have needed to. It’s also very easy to point to firms who failed because they didn’t change, BHS being perhaps one of the most high profile recent cases.
So how do we manage change when we don’t know what form it will be taking? This is the hardest question businesses will have to ask themselves. I wish I had an answer, but in truth I don’t. Instead all I can offer is a list of my initial thoughts about how I would approach it:-
- Don’t panic, don’t make any huge reaction decisions. Friday the 24th June 2016 will see the pound fall and the markets drop that's for sure. I suspect these markets will recover to some degree after the initial shock and then will react in a more measured way when the new Prime Minister starts the leaving process and we see how that takes shape. This will be a long process, don’t expect any concrete plans anytime soon.
- Do keep looking at what the main commentators and advisers say for your industry. You now need to get as much information as possible, from those who are most informed to help guide your future decisions.
- Review your business plans. For those of you that don’t have a business plan and we are aware that the vast majority of SME businesses actually don’t, then start the process. Importantly keep the plan fluid, if things don’t work out for you, find out why and make changes. Perhaps equally important is if things go well, find out why and keep doing it!
- Be better than your competitors. It doesn’t matter how the markets react to change, if you're better, then you're in the driving seat to either reap the rewards of change or limit any downsides. Keep on investing in the things you need to make your business better, i.e. better machinery, staff training, marketing etc
- Look for efficiencies. This never hurts however in the more comfortable times we don’t tend to run as lean as we can do.
Interestingly with the exception of point 1 which is Brexit focussed, this advice is the same as what I would have said before the result and in the interests of impartially I am not assuming we are heading into recession here.
Finally, get over it, we had our say yesterday and there is no point in celebrating or worrying about it, let’s just be better businesses.