Brexit and Micro Businesses… Survival of the Fittest


 

The question asked here is “Will Micro Business Thrive After Brexit?”

When you take the emotion out of the equation, the answer to the question may surprise you.

A recent poll titled ‘The State of Small Business Britain Report 2018’ was carried out by The Enterprise Business Center and it details the state of micro-businesses.

In the UK in 2017, micro business can be found everywhere. Napoleon once made the famous statement that England was a “nation of shopkeepers” and that remains the same today.

One million one hundred thousand of them ranging from plumbers, builders, hairdressers and mechanics to architects, designers, artists, lawyers and accountants, employing 4.09 people (17.9% of the workforce) and accounting for 552 billion pounds in sales.

In an article written by David Howell on August 30, 2018, Forbes Magazine asked “Will Micro Business Thrive After Brexit?” to a number of top micro-business experts. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidhowell1/2018/08/30/will-micro-businesses-thrive-after-brexit/)

Here are the responses from 5 of them.

Darren Fell, the CEO and Founder of Crunch states: “Micro businesses have a great chance to capitalize on the changing conditions that will follow Brexit. The political and economic uncertainty that is proving so difficult for large businesses may be an advantage for the smallest, given their natural agility. Unencumbered by management structures, property or heavy staff costs, micro business are quick to adapt and may also escape the worst of any immediate legislative impact.”

Mike Smith, Director of Company Debit said: “While micro businesses may not be as directly impacted by Brexit as SME’s, any overall economic impact is going to exert a ripple effect on the sector, which is the largest part of our business community. If interest rates rise, we are going to see micro businesses finding it harder to access finance. Those businesses which need to import goods will certainly find their bottom line affected, and of course, there is the on-going concern over our employment landscape, and the possibility of skills shortage if free movement of EU workers is restricted.”

Julia Kermode, CEO of the Freelancer and Contractor Service Association said:
“Freelancers, contractors and the self-employed are all micro businesses and for them, all the uncertainty around Brexit could be extremely positive as they may find themselves more in demand than ever, as businesses will need the flexibility that this workforce brings.”

Dave Chaplin, CEO and Founder of Contractor Calculator comments: “Where there is change there is always opportunity. Leaving the EU is a massive one-off project that will impact on virtually every organization in the UK. This is exactly the sort of project that freelancers and contractors are best at. There is a lot of uncertainty around Brexit which is not good for employment and employees but is positive for freelancers and contractors, those micro businesses which are a low- risk alternative to employees during uncertain times.”

Ben Martin, founder of Brexit Tracker states: “Micro businesses have been hit hard by Brexit. Falling consumer and business confidence levels have slowed down decision-making and spending commitments, which are the lifeblood behind a micro enterprise’s existence. Such micro firms have little surplus cash and an even smaller pool of resources. So, they’re unlikely to be able to grasp international trade opportunities easily and so profit from the weakened GBP. Yet it is not all bad news: These firms are also the most-nimble and can pivot their sales strategies quickly and instantly communicate to all their staff, suppliers and customers to learn from Brexit issues and take action.”

Also see: http://www.themicrobusinesshandbook.co.uk/will-micro-businesses-thrive-after-brexit/

Here is my take on the issue...

Micro-business are the backbone of many countries and those of the UK are no different. Albeit that they differ in regional challenges created from Brexit, they are bolstered from the fact that they all have similar design traits that make them strong, and the strong will survive.

Freedom and mobility, to be able to move quickly and react to external changes, to be lean and mean so to speak, to have low debt and overhead are some of these micro business traits that will allow them to take the challenges of Brexit and turn those challenges into opportunities.

I think that Simone Vincenze , co-founder of GteX, sums this up the best when he says:
“Micro businesses are fast, flexible and can adapt quickly to every situation. It is down to the individual entrepreneur to see Brexit as an opportunity rather than a threat. It's crucial for micro-business owners to remember that a business is a solution to a problem. Brexit is creating many problems, which means more solutions need to be created. The moment micro-business owners decide to focus on creating solutions and adapt to what the market and people want, they will be able to thrive while sailing these turbulent waters.”

 

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