The United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union has created a great deal of uncertainty for small businesses that trade with EU countries. The value of the pound has fallen sharply, making imports more expensive and exports less competitive. There is also a risk that new trade barriers will be erected between the UK and EU, which would make it more difficult and costly to trade with European partners.
It is much harder for smaller businesses that lack the same resources, staffing power and financial stability to relocate or claim financial assistance to respond to these challenges. According to the British Chambers of Commerce, nearly half of small businesses have reported finding it more difficult to export to the EU.
Due to the new complexities of trading, the UK government set up a small and medium enterprise (SME) fund offering grants to help overcome trading challenges. However, this fund has been criticised for being overly complex.
As a result of all these factors, many small businesses are struggling to cope with the changes brought about by Brexit. The future looks uncertain for many of them, and it is unclear how long they will be able to continue operating. However, there are some steps that businesses can take in the meantime to minimise the impact of these problems. like speaking to trade bodies, lobby groups and financial experts can help businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and make informed decisions about their supply chains and making sure that customs declarations are completed correctly and planning for potential delays at ports can also help to reduce disruption.
Overall, Brexit has created a lot of uncertainty and disruption for small businesses when it comes to imports and exports. However, by taking some proactive steps, businesses can minimise the impact of these problems. Despite these challenges, many small businesses are continuing to trade with the EU and are finding ways to adapt to the new circumstances. Some have hedged their currency exposure, while others have sourced alternative suppliers outside the EU. With careful planning and flexibility, it is still possible for small businesses to thrive in the post-Brexit environment.