5 Tips on Facing an Uncertain Brexit WAB Future

As an innovation consultant operating across the creative, cultural and tech sector, Erica Wolfe-Murray’s work with clients includes forward projection for their ventures, identifying and creating trends to develop aligned products or services, as well helping them with navigating treacherous rocks; all leading to improved commercial resilience and growth.

It’s been an interesting three years since the 2016 referendum, with the next ten years promising more of the same. Below, Erica evaluates Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Bill and its implications for UK businesses as well as the society we live in.

1. Diversity of thought is key to long-term success moving ahead

Narrow bands of interest and self-interest don’t create a vibrant society, nor a thriving business. Diversity has to include different thinkers, different ethnicities, ages, gender, problem solvers. Those companies, authorities and organisations who can’t embrace and harness this will become moribund. And rightly so.

2. Digital and real-world complementarity is critical

At the moment we have no idea what any post-Brexit trade deals will look like. Developing aligned business models and associated revenue streams is vital. With entertainment, retail and business services moving increasingly online, reducing trading frictions by evolving new digital services and products from real-world trade is vital. And for those only online, there is a rich opportunity to consider how an IRL leisure or experiential offering can enhance your bottom line.  After all, there is space in abundance available in every single UK high street.

3. Environmental responsibility – get with the programme

In the current Withdrawal Bill, climate and environmental alignment with the EU has been shifted to future trade agreements. That might be fine to discuss then, but your clients and customers will be expecting it from you now. This is not an option.

Responsibility has to be taken at every step in the commercial process and, increasingly, will be an influencing factor in every personal purchasing decision. Get your supply chain to sign up to sustainability/ethical mandates now to gain early mover advantages and positioning to enable trade within even the strictest global environmental trade frameworks. Sustainability should be as important to your business and as measurable as profitability.

4. Uncertainty is the new certainty

Nothing is certain over the next few weeks… who will be in power?  The next few months… in or out?

So you need to understand what deep uncertainty means for your business, your customers and your own personal circumstances. Be prepared to pivot, to take advantage of short term opportunities, to revel in the unexpected. What could this uncertainty allow you to unlock in your relationship with your past/present clients? Where will it allow you to find future clients? What could you develop with or for your competitors? And where might you find new buyers in differing marketplaces you had not looked to before?

And if you are not in the D2C world – look out of the window to ask what you can sell to that person walking past? Thinking the unthinkable has to be part of your new strategy.

5. Tough trading breeds new opportunities

The British are inventive people. Everyone who lives in this wayward nation contributes to its determinedly individualistic approach. We lead the world in creativity – in fact it makes up £101.5bn GVA, the second-highest sector in the economy. In times of economic retrenchment and difficulties that may lie ahead, there will be the potential for green shoots to force their way through, for businesses to grow and develop in unlikely sectors and unexpected ways.

In the 2007/8 recession, people delayed big-ticket purchases and cut back on eating out. This saw a rise in small spends – cupcakes, lip-sticks, feel-good treats. Home baking and entertainment surged with businesses that could supply this ‘batten down the hatches’ mood benefitting. The emergence of shows like The Great British Bake-Off first screened in 2010 after 18 months in development and production captured this back-to-basics mood. Now a highly profitable global tv format sold across many countries, it illustrates how there are opportunities in even the most trying economic circumstances.

As the next few weeks and months unfold, focus on these five points in both your business and personal dealings. Keep your mind alive to opportunities, inventive thinking and potential pivots. Living with uncertainty is something we’re all getting used to within our own lives, the UK economy and planet as a whole.  So embrace it and turn it into positive actions build a commercially inventive road ahead.

About Erica Wolfe-Murray:

Cited by Forbes.com as ‘a leading innovation and growth expert’ Erica Wolfe-Murray runs innovation studio, Lola Media Ltd. With creative head and FD experience, she focuses on auditing intellectual assets/IP to evolve new products & services from a company’s existing business. 

She is also the author of ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas : Build a Bigger, Better Business’ aimed at the UK’s 10m+ micro business & freelance sector to help build greater commercial resilience in this dynamic but often ignored part of the economy. 

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