With everything franchise firms have coped with in 2020, being Brexit ready seems to have slipped down everyone’s to do list! According to a recent survey by The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), just 38% of firms have completed a Brexit risk assessment and only around half have taken any of the government’s recommended steps to prepare for changes. However, Brexit is almost upon us and regardless of whether we’re able to reach a trade agreement, franchises do need to strategize to ensure business can continue as usual after 1 January 2021.
The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP – Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has advised that there will be changes to:
- the way businesses import and export goods
- the process for hiring people from the EU
- the way businesses provide services in EU markets
To avoid any unnecessary risk of your business operations being interrupted, check what actions you need to take by visiting gov.uk/transition. This handy link allows you to take a Government ‘quiz’ and the results allow you to see how you may be directly affected, both personally and professionally. At the end, you can also subscribe to updates about the changes and get links for further information relevant to your results.
The outcome of the quiz highlights the new rules depending on your particular circumstances. For example, do you import goods? If so, will you need to pay a tariff on the goods you import? Do you need an EORI number to move your goods into or out of the EU? Or if you will be affected by the changes to food and drink labelling and employee visa or work permits? Do you buy chemicals from the EU? If so, you will need to register on the new UK REACH system and this can take up to six weeks.
Any franchise organisation that imports and exports goods will certainly need to have a plan in place. Food franchises for example, who source ingredients from abroad will be affected and will need to assess supply chains. They should consider local sourcing as a back-up too. This may increase the cost base. Delivery times may also be longer and so ordering earlier will be necessary. It will be important to re-evaluate the impact on cashflow forecasts and potentially introduce price changes if appropriate.
We are all hoping for a better 2021 and to kick start the New Year, it’s time to think ahead. There will certainly be a Brexit effect, but for any business which has been able to survive the Pandemic, a few more rules and regulations to navigate should be no problem provided you are Brexit ready.