A second referendum on Brexit: Small business owners argue for and against
A week or two ago, I was asked if I could write an article about whether there should be a second vote on Brexit, from the small business community perspective.
“Make it between 500-800 words, if you can,” said Dan.
“I can do it in three,” I replied.
“No s**t, Sherlock!”
In fact, it has been called “the dumbest thing any country has ever done” by almost every sector in the small business community, never mind senior businesses and billionaires.
Brexit is already one of the most unpopular disasters ever to befall the small business community. Extracting ourselves, in some shape or another, by securing a second vote, would seem a sensible first step to reverse the incredible damage it has already caused.
Even Putin scoffed: “This will be hilarious to watch the property owning classes of Britain extricate themselves from their democratic responsibility.”
Sir Richard Branson, another billionaire, said it could be “the biggest shot in the foot the British people have ever done to themselves”. Goldman Sachs head, Lloyd Blankfein, has suggested it would make sense to have a second vote on “a decision so monumental and irreversible”.
In any climate, it is always best practice for business to do a PEST and SWOT analysis to see how trading will fare over the coming months and years ahead.
Normally, it would look like this: “With the predicted 5% extra tax on Brexit departure …, our business will have to…”
Unfortunately, with only six months to go before Britain heaves itself off the economic white cliffs of Dover and makes a dash for economic minnowhood, there are no such plans in place.
If there’s one thing business hates more than recessions and drops in profit, it’s uncertainty and chaos.
80% of the CBI members were against Brexit even before the referendum and the latest indication is that the numbers have increased. All other trade bodies that have canvassed their members are showing the same results.
Nobody in the small business community with a decent knowledge of basic business and economics wants any truck with Brexit. Even the agricultural and fisheries folk that seemed dead set on voting like turkeys for Christmas are starting to realise their error in judgement.
Anybody with a trading arm in Europe will watch in dismay as their costs of sales soar once they lift off the trade freedoms we have basked in for so many years.
Everything about the Brexit crisis is destined to make trading worse for small business. A massive toxic deficit as the government digs deep to fund the transition will make trading conditions even more difficult than usual.
What is curious is the lack of vocal opposition from the business community. Every single meeting at the IOD, or networking groups or sector groups you can hear the deafening silence of the Brelephant in the room.
As more and more large businesses come out to warn of the impending disaster and of their plans to relocate, the government and the Brexiteers are suddenly starting to listen up.
As the March 2019 deadline for Brexit is nearing without a deal on precisely what trade rules lie ahead, I have lost count of the conversations I have had with Scottish small business heads who privately despair of the uncertainty.
There are unprecedented numbers of people tracing their ancestry to find someone with an Irish passport so that they can continue to be European citizens and maybe even relocate if the worse comes to worse.
In my own family, 50% of of them have already done this and the rest just refuse to believe Brexit will happen because it is “utter madness”.
So why aren’t more businesses going public? Many fear a backlash from the electorate but in Scotland there would be no backlash.
I’m based in Edinburgh and from the Scottish small business perspective, there is zero appetite for Brexit.
It could even be argued that it is every small businesses’ fiscal and civic duty to stand against this economic suicide with every zero in their balance sheet.
If we tolerate this Brexit economic nightmare, then our small businesses will be next.
“There’s no better person to ask than your actual customers. Send out a survey asking what they would be searching for or ask them in person,” Harry added.
Make them go from “OK, I know you now, I can see that you understand my pain, and you’ve reminded me what would happen if I don’t do anything … you’ve got me. I’m interested. But not interested enough to buy anything from you yet. I want you to buy me a drink, take me for lunch, offer me some flowers, meet some of my mates … before we get down to business, ok? Lmao!!!!!”
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