How to settle Brexit fears as a social enterprise

If you turn on the news right now, you’re likely to see coverage of Brexit. Whether it’s Theresa May heading back to Brussels in an attempt to renegotiate the deal, or a member of parliament passionately expressing their views on the Irish border backstop, Brexit is unavoidable.

It’s also creating lots of uncertainty for social enterprises – particularly those who rely on the hard work of EU nationals or who trade globally.

Because very few people can say with any certainty what might happen post-Brexit (or if it’ll even take place), there’s no need to panic – as tempting as that might be. We’re effectively in limbo at this moment in time.

If you’re operating a social enterprise and have concerns about Brexit, there are a few things you can do to be best prepared for whatever might transpire.

Reassure staff

It probably isn’t just you, the owner of the social enterprise, who fears any possible negative consequences of Brexit. Your staff may have similar fears, and it’s important to demonstrate leadership if that’s the case.

There’s no need to make a big thing of it (calling a ‘Brexit Meeting’ probably isn’t the best idea), but there’s certainly nothing wrong with sitting down either on a one-to-one basis to talk about it or slotting Brexit in as an agenda item for one of your regular meetings.

Let them have their say. The team might be worried that their job security will be impacted by the country leaving the EU. If any of them are from countries within the European Union, they could be particularly concerned, but the important thing at this time is to remind all of them that they’re the most valuable assets you have, and that you have their interests at the top of your list.

Think about global expansion

That might sound a bit grand, but Brexit is causing a great deal of uncertainty about the value of our currency, and it’s the overinflated value of the pound that has traditionally made it difficult for many small enterprises to trade internationally.

Nothing is certain with Brexit, but now might be a great time to start looking at opportunities to expand your social enterprise beyond these shores. Who knows? As sterling continues to drop, you might find an increased demand for your goods and services abroad.

Go back to your budget

Inflation looks set to increase as we get nearer the Brexit date, and that means it’ll probably get more expensive to run your social enterprise.

This is no different for any business, but it does mean that a review of the budget is probably in order, because it’s unlikely you’ll have a buffer as big as large corporates to take into account an increase in costs.

And finally: speak to an expert!

You’ve probably lost count of how many times we (and, indeed the media) have mentioned the fact that no one really know what’s going to happen with Brexit, but it doesn’t hurt to seek advice from someone who knows more than you!

Rather than paying through the nose for a Brexit consultant (which undoubtedly exist), we’d recommend approaching organisations like the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses (FSB) or the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI), both of whom offer small businesses a fabulous range of services such as support and insight.

Alternatively, get in touch with us! Our advisors can lend an experienced, guiding hand for your social enterprise and, sometimes, it just helps to talk!