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Helping small businesses be Brexit ready

07 August 2019

If there’s one thing businesses dislike, it’s uncertainty, and when it comes to Brexit they’ve had a lot of uncertainty to deal with over the past three years. While Brexit remains unresolved, businesses are being advised to prepare for all eventualities, and ensure they are ready to survive and thrive whatever the outcome is. Banks such as Barclays have been focussing their support on helping small businesses be ready for Brexit, running over a hundred Brexit clinics and visiting 25,000 small businesses in a single day to offer advice and support.

We asked Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking, for the top five concerns he hears from small business owners, and what advice he gives them:

1. Will I be able to find enough skilled staff to help run my business after Brexit?
Consider how staff shortages could impact your operations, and whether you employ a high percentage of people from the EU. Good communication is essential and it’s important that you speak to your staff to address any concerns they may have. More information can be found on the Government’s EU settlement scheme website.

2. How can I access additional business finance to see me through any turbulence?
Contact your bank and ask what support they are providing for small businesses. Barclays has a £14bn dedicated lending fund to help SME’s thrive through Brexit and beyond, and could provide up to £100,000 in unsecured lending within days.

3. How will currency movements affect my costs?
It pays to keep track of exchange rates, and if you trade regularly overseas then you should consider how currency movements might affect your revenue and your costs. Barclays accounts are available in 20 of the most commonly used currencies, with no minimum balance, meaning you can transfer funds when it’s most cost effective for you.

4. Will my cash flow support me through Brexit?
A cash flow forecast can really benefit your business – it can warn of challenges ahead, help to achieve steady growth and steer you through a downturn. If the forecast shows a cash squeeze is on the horizon, extra funding such as an overdraft or loan can help see the business through.

5. Is my supply chain at risk of disruption?
Consider whether you have any EU suppliers in your supply chain, and whether they are taking the necessary steps to plan for all eventualities. It pays to plan ahead and there is lots of good advice on the gov.uk website.