No one promised that Brexit would be smooth sailing, that’s for sure. However, few political commentators had expected this divorce to be accompanied by so many discords. With the dynamics of the past months being the way they were, one can’t help but wonder whether it would be smart for British businesspeople today to minimise ties with their European counterparts (and vice versa). In other words, would it not be best for the United Kingdom seller to focus on local and national commerce, instead of being exposed to ricochets from this international feud?
Let’s try to answer that question. We’ll look at some of the reasons Brexit has taken this path, in order to try and understand if things are going to get better or worse in the near future. In the process, we’ll also try to understand the alternative at the disposal of those Brits who just cannot afford to give up interactions with mainland Europe.
How Brexit took a wrong turn
Even back in 2016, when the referendum over Brexit was held, it was obvious that the process wouldn’t be simple, due to the complexity of ties between the EU and the UK. However, many analysts are certain that negotiations could have been handled much more effectively.
The fact that the UK had been politically turbulent during the time it took to strike a Brexit deal, with two election systems and three changes of leadership, certainly did not help. With the inability to even put together a list of offers and conditions on the British side and approve it by parliament, it’s no wonder the official parting date was postponed several times.
As if that wasn’t enough, enter COVID-19 into the heat of Brexit talks. With economies shrinking and thus becoming more protective, talking about a sustainable trade deal was next to impossible, so it’s no wonder that not everything that had been agreed upon, even stood the test of reality. The recent rumble over AstraZeneca vaccine doses is the perfect example of that.
Where are we headed?
On one hand, almost everyone agrees that things do not look good. The sour taste in the mouths of people on both sides will probably make it hard for policy makers to facilitate commerce, even after this COVID-19 crisis is behind us. On the other hand, in today’s economic reality, trying to resist any form of globalization is both futile and counterproductive.
Another reason for optimism, at least on the British side, is the leniency shown by the EU. If you look at the number of times the Union had agreed to postpone Brexit, in order to execute it in an orderly fashion, you can see that the people in Brussels like to flex their muscles sometimes but at the end of the day, have not taken operative measures and sanctions against the UK (so far).
All in all, it seems like financial connections with the EU are still a plausible option for Brits. However, people need to be prepared for rough times, especially until things get back on track pandemic-wise. Just like most elements of daily life have found a way to adjust to the virus, commerce relations can do the same, mainly via the internet.
The wonders of the World Wide Web
If you are a business owner and the thought of the troubles between the EU and the UK are depriving you of sleep hours, fear not. There are ways you can overcome any trade and commerce barrier, should it arise. One of the most prominent ways is moving most of your business online, including sales, service and marketing. For a glimpse at this phenomenon, we’ll take a look at Crystalead, a digital market firm operating worldwide and providing campaigning services for businesses.
Jonathan Greenwood from Crystalead told us that a substantial shift to online trade is already being felt across the continent. “Naturally, we work with a lot of European businesses and advertisers, and we’re feeling a sharp rise in activity ever since Brexit’s finalisation. It’s not just about demand for services, it’s about a quest for outside-the-box solutions to advertising-related issues, relevant to today’s reality.”
True, this is not a magical cure for all the problems bothering business owners. However, it can help solve a lot of bureaucracy-related annoyances and adapt to ever-changing regulations and policies. “The massive shift to the virtual world is inevitable in this sense,” summed up Greenwood, “and the whole Brexit issue just gave it a push.”