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The impact of Brexit on small businesses


BOUJO HAKE is ultimately (and presently) lucky with the impact of Brexit. We’re such a small business that we can respond quickly. The bulk of our customers are in the UK and we’ve always focussed on being a “local” business first and foremost. Having said that Europe was a growing market and, strategically, we absolutely aimed to continue this growth especially in Germany and France. Whether this is possible we no longer know.

The hardest part of Brexit of us is actually unpicking what it means financially and otherwise so that you can then strategically plan long term. Being able to react and stave off immediate problems is one thing but knowledge is, of course, needed for planning. Knowledge and certainly is what we currently don’t have.

We’ve identified two issues for us: importing our materials from Europe and sending parcels to customers. The former is a little more simple – but not necessarily less costly or time-consuming - as in we will absorb the price and have to ultimately decide whether we can pay these extra costs.

The latter is still not clear. Despite trawling through all the government guidelines, we simply do not know how much it will cost us to send to Europe. A custom duties form for items over 150 euros needs to be filled out and then it is estimated how much it will cost depending on the European country that you are sending the parcel to. Each European country has different, unknown tariffs! On top of this, however, there MIGHT be charges to the customer and the amount of these is also not known. Which customer wants  to make the careful decision of buying luxury underwear to find that they have a random extra cost on receiving the items?

So again, despite Brexit finally happen, there is so much uncertainty. Uncertainty that is just as damaging for businesses as the extra costs.

But, like any eager entrepreneur, we are also trying to see the opportunity. On the flip side UK residents will also, we assume, be consuming more from the UK and looking for UK grown brands.