Maintaining European Business Relationships – post the referendum result

It’s been just under a week since the vote for the UK to leave the EU, whether the decision is right or wrong will be debated for months and years to come. But what is critical to business now is what WE do. The political machines on either side of the channel will gradually whir into life and over the next two or twenty years (depending on your view point), terms of exit; trade agreements; border controls etc. will be negotiated. But in business we need to also consider what is happening now and next week.

We all know that uncertainty has an adverse impact on business so what are we doing to ensure the key relationships with our customers and suppliers in Europe are maintained. Prior to the vote I advocated that being in the EU was but one reason that UK businesses traded in Europe, and that we should be concentrating on ensuring that the key decision factors were focussed on with our trade partners and options to offset the impact of leaving were discussed.

Whether this proactive activity was undertaken in your business, or not, is now immaterial. However now is not the time to sit in the office worrying about what is going to happen. This week should have seen a spike in European business travel, with Sales; Procurement and importantly Senior Executives visiting their strategic trade partners, to discuss current business, bring reassurance of NO Disruption and to consider both mitigation of any future constraints and also new opportunities.

It may be OK for the political world to say that there will be no negotiation or backroom discussion ahead of formal enactment of article 50 (although I do not believe so.), but in business we need to be proactive and make plans and contingencies to address uncertainty.