10th January 2020
A new year, a new (well, rejuvenated) government, and a bright new future for Britain… Hurrah, things are looking up for 2020!
Or are they? Has anything really changed?
Agreed, government is no longer stagnating and unable to govern, but we are still a long way from knowing what Brexit Stage 2: The Trade Deal will hold, especially for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). Only this week, as the Brexit bill finally passed through parliament, new head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen warned that the price of a clean-break Brexit would be a distant partnership with the EU and new barriers to trade - not what Boris Johnson has been saying. So, the uncertainty continues….
Should we still be concerned, and are we really in times of trouble? According to the Bank of England’s Decision Maker Panel UK investment is down 11% since the 2016 referendum, with over 60% of SMB owners thinking Brexit will have a negative impact on the UK economy (FreeAgent). A recent survey by CitySprint also suggests that Brexit uncertainty has cost SMBs an average of over £1m in lost revenue/turnover.
But many SMBs see potential benefits and areas of growth through new trade deals and opening markets. So, draw your own conclusions…
However, the one thing I believe we can all agree on, is that continued uncertainty of what a final trade deal will look like will cause continued concern and confusion to all businesses.
It’s human nature to be worried and cautious at times of uncertainty, and that’s as true for our clients as it is for ourselves. I believe that to eliminate any uncertainty that our clients may have, we need to increase our communications output and ensure that it is more effective and impactful than ever before.
The world of politics has been changing rapidly – reassure your clients that you are not! Existing clients will be feeling the same uncertainty that you are, and they need reassurance from you. They want to know that you are going to continue to look after them. Prospective clients also need encouragement. Prove that you have everything in hand, and that you are well organised and committed to working with them.
A clear vision and consistency of message will reduce doubt and concern. You should already have full consistency across your styling and themes of communication.
It’s still really all about reassurance. Reiterate your message and constantly update throughout. The more clients hear from you, the more they feel reassured. No one likes radio silence!
As an example, at the beginning of last October I received a letter from my daughter’s Headmaster (thankfully not just to me, but to all parents). He wanted to reassure parents that the school was well aware of potential logistical and organisational impacts come the approaching Brexit deadline. He advised that the school had factored this into plans for the remainder of the term, and gave some specific examples to us. Not groundbreaking, but as a parent I was truly reassured to know that the school had been considering and planning for any difficulties.
The first thing many of us do in times of trouble is to cut spending and protect our cash flow. Anything that’s not absolutely necessary gets put on hold - and for many SMBs that includes their communications budget. So hiring visual communication agencies to help, even small ones like Under the Rooftops (yes, that’s me), is not really an option.
So instead, let me give you some tips and techniques to help you do it yourself - because I believe that at times of trouble we should all be helping each other as much as we can!
So to conclude…
Yes, in normal times I would implore SMBs to invest in visual communications as the results can be outstanding for your business, and it truly is the way forward (and I have the stats to bore you with, if you’d like).
But as these aren’t normal times, keep your wallets firmly in your pockets, and let’s all help each other through the stormy days, till the sun truly shines again….