Top 10 action points for business owners post-Brexit

John Green, Director and Chairman of Pierce Advisory and Accountancy Group outlines 10 key points for businesses to action so they can thrive post Brexit.

At times of such unprecedented political and economic upheaval it’s very difficult to assess what will happen next. Significant uncertainties are likely to remain for some time and with the Government indicating that no important decisions will be taken in the short term there is a need for local business owners to focus on what they can control.

The reality is that the majority of such businesses are in good shape and as such a strong case exists for approaching Brexit positively (regardless of initial views) and seeking out new growth opportunities. These will, of course, vary dependent on the individual business but to do nothing is not an option, and certainly would leave the business exposed to future headwinds.

The following 10 point plan covers the main areas relevant to any business looking to grow and is a useful check list for the local business owner.

1. Consider Acquisition Opportunities. Details around the timing of a formal Brexit will likely be unknown for some time; we anticipate prospective business vendors adopting a realistic stance to company valuations over this period, and with lenders advising that they remain committed to supporting such deals, now could be the time to consider growth by acquisition.

2. Review your Capital Investment Strategy. Fundamentals for investing in new premises or plant and equipment remain unchanged, and with a strong order book and finance available this could support your growth strategy. To delay, may result in the loss of potential new business.

3. Explore the possibility of entering, or expanding into, new Export Markets. The recent reduction in the sterling exchange rate (particularly in those markets making payment in $’s) makes UK products and services more competitive. With support available in this area via the local Chambers of Commerce and UKTI, your business could benefit from an opportunity like this.

4. Review your Recruitment Policy. As other businesses delay, or potentially downsize, is your Recruitment Policy still appropriate? Is there an opportunity to take advantage in the short term by recruiting high quality staff with the appropriate qualifications for your business?

5. Is now the time to set up or expand your Apprenticeship Programme? Government support is currently available in this area, and with school exam results out shortly there is likely to be a good number of capable and enthusiastic school leavers entering the job market.

6. Take advantage of the Grant Availability. If you are planning to expand, then significant grants are currently available, however many of these are linked to European initiatives and job creation. Over the coming years prior to formal Brexit, the terms attaching to these may change or they may be withdrawn altogether. Whilst the Government is likely to seek to replace these in some way there could be delays so it makes sense to act now.

7. Improve the Liquidity within your business. Clearly this can be a challenge but if your business is able to build a cash reserve, or similar, it will leave you very well placed to take swift advantage of purchasing stock at advantageous prices or taking early settlement discounts etc. should these emerge.

8. Update your Business Plan to reflect the above. Your plan should incorporate your revised budgets and latest actual monthly management accounts.

9. Maintain a regular dialogue with your Bank. Over the upcoming months, apprise them fully of your plans and seek confirmation of existing funding lines and reassurance on their ongoing commitment to support your growth ambitions.

10. And finally, ensure your Staff remain aware of your confidence in the business and future growth plans. As your ‘most valuable business asset’ it’s essential that your team are fully engaged, particularly in times of uncertainty, and buy in to your positive vision of the future. At Pierce, our award winning Corporate Finance team would welcome the opportunity to talk further with businesses regarding their plans as we can help you realise your ambitions.