Making it easy for others to do business with you is vital, especially in the current political climate
There is no escaping the current headlines around Brexit, from scaremongering over the repercussions of a hard deal or the unknown consequences of no deal at all. For UK manufacturers, indeed for all UK businesses, the most frustrating aspect of this situation is exactly that: the unknown. Knowing the likely outcome and what will happen, won’t happen, or needs to happen is vital: without this knowledge, it’s like walking into a meeting with no agenda or starting a project with no strategy. Business works well within parameters and when it’s driven by facts, plans and targets; this current situation leaves no room to make any such plans, let alone embark upon them.
However, Brexit is not the first defining moment in British business and certainly won’t be the last. The priority now is for ‘UK PLC’, from the political stage down to each and every boardroom, to collectively work to make themselves an attractive business proposition. Whether Brexit is hard, soft or deal-less, the fact remains that we are a nation with goods to give and services to offer. The same goes for businesses: no matter what the specific circumstances or market conditions are, if we shout loudly about what we do, how we do it better and the results we can deliver, the rest is largely inconsequential.
In business, opportunity is everything. Turning every challenge into a door to be opened and a new prospect to be explored is the best way forward. In terms of Brexit, despite inevitable challenges, leaving the EU will present new opportunities and the chance to try new avenues and strategies. This can be translated into business: every challenge encountered is and should be an opportunity to try a different method, whether it’s trying a new supplier, switching to automated processes or opening a new location.
With any business negotiation, it’s crucial to establish what factors you can emphasise or accentuate in order to sell your best strengths and make it difficult for the other side to disagree to your terms. Now is the not the time to be modest: shout about your achievements and showcase your results. That said, it’s also vital to convey a positive attitude and sense of collaboration. No one is going to want to do business with any individual or organisation that seems as if it will be a tricky customer.
Whatever happens with the Brexit negotiations, it’s essential that the UK is perceived as an attractive prospect and an exciting partner: a lesson that can be taken and repeated in every business. Together, if we play our cards right, we could be a force to be reckoned with.