6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

When it comes to business, prepare for the unexpected

PUBLISHED: 15:54 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:54 30 October 2018

Simon Birks, Sherbornes (c) Will Pascall UK

Simon Birks, Sherbornes (c) Will Pascall UK

Will Pascall

Keep calm and carry on? Don’t think so. Simon Birks of Sherbornes urges businesses to prepare for the unexpected

Plan for the worst and it might never happen.

“Prior Preparation Prevents Politically-Perpetrated Poor Performance”. Okay, so it’s not quite the saying that we’ve all heard before.

With the “B” word now as prevalent as the Millennium Bug was at the close of the 1990s, many people are, and more people should, be thinking “what can I do now to prepare for the unknown?”

Unlike the Millennium Bug however, Brexit will most certainly not result in a situation where everyone looks back in a few years and says: “I don’t know what all the fuss was about – everything carried on as normal”.

Things will change, your cheese, be it French, Italian, Dutch or whatever, will be moved and whether or not you like it, it will happen.

As with every change that comes, threats and weaknesses will be exploited, but so too will opportunities arise and strengths be amplified. So now is the time to act. Armed with the knowledge of change, prepare for this in a way that causes no real harm if things don’t change as much as you anticipate.

Business owners will have read and seen the debates about how the UK’s stance on free movement of people will affect EU nationals presently working in the UK and, critically, those who would otherwise have migrated into the UK seeking employment. As we all know from the rhetoric, these are typically in areas and industries where UK nationals would prefer not to earn a living.

Those business owners should also be analysing their own businesses and assessing which parts of it are “Brexit vulnerable” and which will thrive in an era of imposed restrictions on EU trade.

So what can be done?

Taking simple steps now may mean that your business is at the front of the stampede for staffing when it comes to replacing turnover and encouraging recruitment and retention in a post EU climate. For example, there may be a rush for staff who could, after all, be a scarce commodity. So why not do away with those zero hours contracts which only serve at a stigma for your business and which do not, and have never really, afforded a business with the protection that many people believe they do? It would help to attract domestic labour.

Why not consider exploring apprenticeships as a means of ensuring that the knowledge and experience of your workforce is passed onto future generations and thus avoid the need to buy in expensive and hard to come by talent?

And there’s a whole host of staff retention and loyalty schemes out there from bonus and share option schemes, to very simple measures like allowing staff to bring their dog into work – all of which help to retain the staff that you have now and which others will be desperate to poach from you.

Business owners may also consider restructuring their businesses to separate assets (such as the freehold building from which the business operates) from the trading parts of the business and thus protect those very assets from any downturn. Aligned to this is the separation of different divisions or product lines in the business, again to protect the safe from the effects of the vulnerable.

Whether or not you decide to act, this decision should be taken with as much information as possible on the likely effects of Brexit; so keep up to date with developments, arm yourself with the latest thinking, attend updates and seminars (such as the one held by Sherbornes in February 2019!) and at least have some degree of certainty as to what it is most likely to mean for you and those who are dependent upon you for their living.

The measures above are just a few of the simple ones that we are coming across in our daily discussions with our clients. They should be considered, as few of these measures, if any, come at a substantial cost. Furthermore, none of these should adversely affect a business if, for some miraculous reason, we all decide that we were having an “off day” on 23 June 2016, we made a mistake and thus Brexit turns out to be another Millennium Bug.

The preparation will however be priceless if it means a business thrives in the post EU climate where otherwise it would not.

Simon Birks is a senior corporate lawyer at Cheltenham firm Sherbornes Solicitors and specialises in business sales, purchases, merges and restructuring. For more information, visit the Sherbornes website.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Cotswold Life

Fri, 10:35

“‘Flexitarians’ can do one though, being alleged vegetarians who still can’t resist the sizzling siren song of the bacon sandwich when no-one is looking.” Editor Mike Lowe is attempting to seek reconciliation with those he has annoyed… well, sort of.

Read more
Thu, 14:24

Choral carol services and grand instrumental performances, with the backdrop of some of the Cotswolds most picturesque locations, are perfect ways to embrace the festivities. We pick some of the best carol services and concerts to enjoy in the region

Read more
Thu, 11:35

“This letting to Oxford nanoSystems is a fantastic example of how we are able to provide first class facilities for growing technology companies at Abingdon Business Park.”

Read more
Thu, 11:28

One of the UK’s leading training and education specialists has launched a skills hub in Nuneaton

Read more
Thu, 11:19

“The logistics hub is another example of where we have worked in partnership to support skills needs in the area and link our student body with future job opportunities.”

Read more
Thu, 11:07

“It was fantastic to see how this project is making a real difference to the lives of young people at risk of social exclusion.”

Read more
Thu, 10:57

It has become the 90th store to accept the gift card in Cheltenham

Read more

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Wed, 15:59

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas Fayres and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in and around the Cotswolds this season

Read more
Wed, 15:42

Property prices across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds have risen steadily over the last few years, reflecting the trend across the country. But which area has shown the most dramatic hike in prices recently, and how does your postcode and house type compare with others in the area? You may be surprised to see the results...

Read more
Wed, 11:43

Wine Wednesday’s with Vintopia of Tetbury.

Read more
Wed, 10:37

Festive a la carte menu launches in Grey’s Brasserie from 26th November.

Read more
Wed, 09:31

Cotswold Life readers enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with our compliments when joining us for our Autumn Feast Lunch Offer.

Read more
Tue, 15:01

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search