You can’t turn on the TV now without seeing significant coverage on Brexit. The radio airwaves and newspapers are also awash with Brexit news. Of course, that’s inevitable. The outcome of Brexit is likely to have a profound effect on UK PLC and its 66m citizens and, possibly, for generations to come.
Check out our light-hearted video on Brexit following the referendum result
The numbers at a glance
I found myself wondering this afternoon what proportion of the business carried out by most UK businesses is outside of the UK and the level to which this should frame our thinking. Now, this is not the place to get into a debate about Brexit. That’s far too divisive. Let’s look at a few statistics.
Clearly, exports make up an important part of our economy. According to recent research in the House of Commons Library, The EU, taken as a whole is the UK’s largest trading partner. In 2017, UK exports to the EU were £274 billion (44% of all UK exports) while UK imports from the EU were £341 billion (53% of all UK imports). Exports made up 30.5% of UK GDP in 2017.
Services accounted for 40% of the UK’s exports to the EU in 2017. Financial services and other business services made up 52% of UK service exports to the EU.
How concerned should you be?
Brexit nervousness is all around us. The discord in the Conservative party is plain to see and, with no viable alternative plan, we may be hurtling towards a ‘no-deal’ Brexit since divisions across all political parties mean that getting the deal through parliament may be impossible.
So, we’re living in troubled times. Lack of clarity is the new norm. And, there will undoubtedly be organisations that are holding off investment until we have a defined outcome.
However, it’s fair to say that uncertainty is not a new phenomenon or only related to Brexit. In every sector, there will be situations that change through new rules, legislation, new market entrants, technological advancements and so on. In business, things move on. Nothing stands still. We need look no further than developments in artificial intelligence, robotics big data, machine learning and virtual and augmented reality to know that many professions will experience deep change in the years to come.
What’s more, disruption has been evident for some time. Look at new market entrants and solutions such as Uber, AirBnB, Just Eat, Tesla, Alexa, Netflix, Cryptocurrency, and 3d printing. Just look at what organisations like Amazon have done to traditional retailing and what happened to Nokia who were market leaders in the mobile phone market until Apple and other subsequent entrants came along and wiped out their market share?
Change is constant, and it shouldn’t stop you
My point is that change is constant. Things are always evolving and, successful businesses don’t allow change to stop them. They get on with the tasks at hand. They are proactive. They adapt. They push forward and embrace change. They are single-minded and goal-oriented. They take advantage of market shake-ups and they act while competitors sleep.
In our business, we’re pushing ahead. We’ve added new services. We are using new tools. We are proactively trying new solutions. We are investing in marketing for growth. We’re taking advantage of opportunities. We now have clients in Australia, Germany, France and Finland that we did not have before Brexit became a word in the dictionary and before GDPR reared its head. The weakness of Sterling means that exporters in Europe and further afield want to target the UK. We’re well-placed to take advantage of companies that want to generate sales leads in the UK and into Europe. We have developed partnerships that allow us to operate in multi-languages.
What always fascinates me is that there are those that act and those that are inactive. There are those that look forward and those that look behind them. The problem is that if you constantly look backwards, you’ll end up banging your head on something in front of you and you’ll set yourself up for a big fall!
Sales lead generation should never stop
The fact is that there will always be something to concern you. Brexit is a genuine concern. There may be some seismic shifts ahead, especially when it comes to a no-deal Brexit. Yet, trade continues. It will continue internally within the UK which makes up 70% of our overall trade. There will be bumps in the road. But people and businesses still need goods and services. They will still buy. You just need be visible and credible at the time they decide to make their purchase. And, if you hide, stick your head in the sand and come across as a business that isn’t positive about the future, why should they buy from you?
Focus on business development
So, make a new year’s resolution to focus on lead generation and customer development. In your database, you are likely to have inactive customers, lapsed customers and customers to whom you can cross-sell and upsell. Communicate with these and see what you can offer them. Segment your target audience and develop campaigns to reach out for new business. Consider multi-touch campaigns using a variety of channels including email, phone, LinkedIn and whatever method is most likely to reach your audience.
But, above all, don’t sit back. Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.
If you’d like to speak to GSA about helping your business improve its lead generation, you can contact us on 0845 658 8192 or complete the form here.