Brexit: Business leadership in a moment of turmoil

Barnaby Fry

Have you got a plan for Brexit? Have you thought about the impact of no deal in your supply chain? Have you done your Brexit supply chain map? Have you stockpiled? Are your suppliers prepared? Will you pass the cost of no deal tariffs on to your customers? Have you thought about your suppliers…customers…colleagues, here and around the world?

If the surveys, such as the British Chamber of Commerce are to be believed around 40% of us have still done nothing to prepare for the worst case scenario. Maybe it will all be alright, maybe we won’t exit on 31st October, maybe we will get a deal, but if we don’t, and perhaps even if we do, the changes to our relationship could still lead to delays, costs and complications to all of our businesses, and herein could lay the opportunity…

We often talk to clients about the opportunity in a crisis. A level of proactive transparency that can give you the opportunity to lead an industry, rather than cower in the corner and hope it goes away.

Whilst business is afraid to speak out now about Brexit for fear of a backlash, all will likely change in November, as all forms of media, including social, will frantically hunt for the impact of Brexit on every product and service. From perfume to peanut butter, no business or brand will be immune.

And in the cacophony and clamour some voices will be heard loud and clear, those that have prepared what they will tell their staff, customers, suppliers and investors when Brexit comes. Those voices will talk of the actions they have taken to mitigate before they pass on costs. Those voices will be able to react quickly and lead their industry in response to concern.

Like KFC with no chicken, history tells us that those voices will stand out and if handled well and with transparency, their brands will be remembered, and their products or services sought, potentially helping to win market share, not just market voice. So if you do nothing else between now and the end of October, think about the opportunity to communicate clearly in this moment of turmoil.