When we read about Brexit these days there is not much we see in favour of it. Most news we find is negative and paints a bleak picture for the future of business in the UK. Focusing on the negative aspects could lead to missed opportunities.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” - Alexander Graham Bell
Of course, there are genuine concerns that we do not want to undermine but in Akoni’s spirit of optimism and innovation, it seems more useful to focus on what we can gain from a future outside of the EU.
The exchange rate for sterling has fallen so low that it is almost equal to the Euro now, making it cheaper for continental Europeans to visit the UK and to shop in the UK market. EU consumers have begun seeing the UK as a market where they could catch a bargain and the fact is that SMEs have seen their international sales rise by 34% last year.
It is the perfect time for UK businesses to promote their online sales abroad and to use Brexit as a promotional tool. Call it the ‘Brexit bargain’ or the ‘Brexit sale’ or anything with the word Brexit in it promoting a special deal your business is offering. It will guarantee to boost sales.
The problem with this, is that we then rely on sterling remaining low and it is neither what we can rely on, nor what we would want. So, what if our currency’s value begins to rise again? How do we keep EU customers from shopping with us? The key to this is to build up a relationship with these newly acquired buyers. A Brexit campaign to get customers on board through special deals is the first stage. From then on, it is all about getting to know these customers, provide outstanding service and making them want to come back despite special Brexit deals. Here are a few tips:
- Collect data: Create lists of customers’ contact details, country of origin and buying behavior
- Communicate with your customers: Send them thank you emails, follow up emails with further promotions customer surveys that say ‘we value your opinion’.
- Invest in customer experience: Make improvements on your website. Make sure your website is visually pleasing and has optimal user experience value.
The bottom line is that you want to give your new customers more reasons than just price, to keep coming back.
Fintech and the City
It is a fact that Brexit will threaten the UK financial services substantially as much of its business relies on access to the European market.
Nevertheless, the EU is not the world and there are other considerable aspects of UK financial trading that we shouldn’t forget. Foreign currency trading is almost double the amount of London’s rival New York and it is not dependent on EU markets. Most global Eurobond’s are traded in London and the trade is not threatened by Brexit. These are only 2 examples of many, which show that there is much to work with once the UK leaves the EU.
When it comes to UK fintechs, they will have much less competition within the capital, which is, let’s face it, the world’s biggest financial centre. They will have privileged access to the huge b2b market that London offers.
Furthermore, there is a lot of investment available for fintech start-ups in London and together with the sympathetic regulatory environment, could prove to be a glorious future for the UK as a global leader in fintech.
Certain things need to be done for this positive outlook to be a serious possibility because at the moment many fintechs are looking to migrate from London, fearing that lack of access to Europe will severely limit their options in the future. The UK government needs to reach a transition deal that will give London based fintechs an incentive to partially remain in the UK.
Brexit will, and already has, shaken things up substantially but we need to keep looking for opportunities. The world hasn’t ended and we have to keep going. We must take what we can get and make sure not to miss opportunities due to lack of vision.