City Road Communications

Breaking up is hard to do, but it doesn’t have to be


Bad breakups are tough. You sulk in your pyjamas, Titanic on repeat, blurbing to Celine Dion over the closing credits… Unless of course, you’re the one that walked away! This is probably the case for most Brexiters; they don’t need no EU, they’re strong, sassy and independent. But what about the small businesses that have to continue in the wake of the referendum result? How do they feel about this upheaval and, more importantly, has Brexit put the brakes on their business plans?

Well, in the spirit of Britain’s favourite motivational poster, the majority of SMEs have opted to keep calm and carry on. A new survey by the Business Growth Fund, titled the Growth Climate Index, found that in the uncertain campaign period less than half of small businesses said they would be putting key decisions on hold – meaning the majority would be rolling up their sleeves and ploughing on as normal. The survey also found that 74% of businesses think that Britain is still a great place to start and build a business following Brexit.

So despite the initial economic uncertainty, it seems that the British stiff upper lip has prevailed. And, instead of Brexit being a time for perseverance, the disruption in the market could actually present new opportunities for entrepreneurs.

In response to investors and companies who feared Brexit, Michael Jackson – the former Skype COO, not the former king of pop – recently said: “It seemed remarkably risk averse for a group of people that are praised and rewarded for their dynamism. After all, it’s the same people that preach about the unstoppable force of change and that profit from disruption. Why aren’t they embracing change and seeing the incredible opportunity that it presents?”

In his statement, Michael also highlighted that the very best entrepreneurs feed off of disruption. Take case studies like Skype and Google for example, they were formed in the thick of the dotcom crash, and look at them now. Google is essentially now a verb used in our everyday lexicon, while Skype has paved the way for the emergence of VoIP and seamless face-to-face video calls. So what we can take from comments like his is that great companies will always get investment, Brexit or no Brexit, dotcom crash or no dotcom crash. It’s just a case of getting on with it.

The best outcome for the majority of British SMEs would be an amicable breakup from the EU with joint custody of the single market. However, if the divorce does get messy, we have no choice but to roll our sleeves up and make the best of our current situation.

Also, as a side note, if you’re still in the dark about Brexit, especially from an SME investment perspective, read a report we recently developed for our client, titled EIS in 2016: Brexit Edition.