A seven-point guide to keeping your firm on track following the shock referendum result.
As the Brexit fallout continues, law firm senior and finance partners across the country will be wondering how quickly things will get back to normal. Some may even be wondering if they ever will.
Here’s a seven-point guide to help businesses get through Brexit unscathed:
1. Don’t succumb to Brexit inertia – In the wake of last week’s decision, there is a real danger that otherwise successful, growing businesses could see productivity grind to a halt as managers, employees and clients stop to dissect the chatter and share their predictions for what might happen next. Such distractions could undermine business performance at an important time.
Productivity is key to any law firm as it drives the business, so to have your key fee-earners and partners walking around in some kind of a morose state will not have a positive effect on fees, profit and cash.
2. Keep a clear head – stress tests and SWOT analyses have their place but now is the time for clear-headed pragmatism and strong leadership. Gather together the right people to support the business as it prepares for a sustained period of Brexit uncertainty.
3. Have a strategic plan – to successfully navigate yourselves through the shifting market conditions, stay focused on clear strategic goals and reassure workers at all levels that, regardless of the outcome of last week’s referendum, there is a plan in place and things are still on track. It is business as usual and services must continue to be delivered to a high standard.
There may well be areas of the business that are hit harder than others or drill down on team performance. Take appropriate action, if required. Some teams may see a spike so make sure teams that are busy have the appropriate productive capacity to meet that extra demand for services.
4. Celebrate good news – good news is the natural antidote to all the bad news affecting businesses at the moment and communicating in a positive way can help to ensure continuity. While some negative Brexit repercussions are inevitable – for example, there could be a dip in business investment and some overseas businesses might be put off from investing in the UK – there will also be good news for some. Therefore news of client wins should be shared to achieve positivity.
Uncertainty doesn’t have to mean procrastination
5. Be prepared to lead – Among SMEs in particular, it is clear that some are better prepared than others. Some are only now stopping to consider how the Brexit decision is likely to impact on the shape of their organisations. Whilst keeping a strategic eye on the future is important, these businesses must not lose sight of the need to motivate people, maintain quality and get the day job done.
6. Be prepared to act – Uncertainty doesn’t have to mean procrastination. The political shocks that came in the hours and days following the Brexit decision have had an unsettling effect on businesses and financial markets. Instead of succumbing to post-referendum inertia, however, business leaders must demonstrate that they are ready and willing to act.
7. Keep your eye on the cash prize – Those businesses that successfully navigated their way through the recent economic downturn know that staying flexible to opportunities and shifts in market conditions, while keeping a close eye on cash, is vital. These are the businesses that will emerge from the situation stronger and more profitable in the future.
For the brave and the bold, now is the time to act to ensure your law firm is ready and equipped to seize opportunities as they arise. Managing your own working capital will be as crucial in the next couple of years as it has ever been.
Peter Noyce is a partner and legal specialist at accountancy firm Menzies LLP