Many times in the past, I have heard the phrase “Ask Frank” or “Talk to Frank”. Growing up it was a place for people to honest advice. I think you know where I’m going here.
As popular as that phrase is, nothing prepared me for my guest this week. When it comes to trade, there is very little that Frank Given from Close Focus does not know.
For a long time I, amongst others refer to Frank as Frank Brexit. Frank is an expert in the enigma, wrapped in a puzzle, inside the maze that is Brexit. Ever changing, this chameleon of politics and trade has Frank constantly checking how the changes will affect his clients.
I have recommended Close Focus’s services to several of my clients, all of whom are seriously impressed at his brilliance.
Sitting with Frank, I’m immediately at ease. I get annoyed, angry, and confused with Brexit. Livid at the lack of joined up thinking. The disappearance of facts and the emotion fuelled rhetoric from both sides of the divide. Frank is calm, and collected. Why? Because Frank is informed.
When explaining Brexit Frank uses the analogy of a tidal wave. “Business” he explains, “has 4 options when faced with a tidal wave”.
- Run away
- Stand your ground
- Dive straight in
- Run alongside
“Politics are politics” he explained. The politicians will sort that part out. Business should forget about the politics and focus on trade.
Frank warns that the biggest thing isn’t Brexit, it’s the exchange rate. That is the biggest threat to business. Frank explains that when it comes to the border the UK is looking at a trade deal and the EU are looking at a political deal.
When it comes to labour there is a common travel agreement between the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is not going to change.
Brexit for business is a price and delivery issue. How much is this going to cost me, and when is it going to happen?
When it comes to Brexit business should factor in opportunity and risk. Any disruptive event can create opportunity, and Brexit stands to be a huge disruption.
Top Tips when it comes to Brexit
- Check your supply chain on products and services. Just because you are prepared, does not mean your suppliers are.
- Look at how healthy your customer’s business is. How exposed are they?
- Keep a healthy working capital. We are looking at an economic shunt.
- Do Not focus on the politics.
- If you have staff from outside of the ROI/UK put your arm around them, and mind them. Talent is hard enough to come by.
- Give pricing certainty to your customers.
- There are special circumstances in place for trade to go from North/South, South/North, but not East/West.
- Will your company be hit by working capital as a result of Brexit?
- There are discreet hidden regulatory risks. Find them.
- Do not dwell on the negatives, acknowledge them and move on.
- Disrupt the market. If you were ever going to take out your competition, now is the time.
- Budget for an upswing of recovery.
- Know your official documents on your infrastructure.
- Be careful where you get your advice
- Look for alternative markets for your products/services. There will be funding.
That is a mean list of tips from Frank, and if you still think that your business is not prepared.
Frank wrote an article on Brexit and published it on LinkedIn
Win, Lose or Pivot
Thank you for your time Frank