Does Brexit mean an exit for those in the freight industry?

It’s true that the moving of goods in and out the country has the potential to become significantly more complex, costly and cumbersome.

However, this doesn’t have to spell disaster for your freight business.

While an initial deal is still to be reached, there are still activities that can be carried out in the meantime.

By cleverly preparing and adapting, organisations can overcome adversity, and indeed turn this into an opportunity.

Snuggie, Lego and Amazon all overcame the economic downturn in 2009 by doing exactly that.

How can this be done in the Freight sector?

Through speaking to industry experts, we’ve compiled four different ways that you can use to not only protect your business but help it thrive.

Researching new markets

If the UK is no longer part of the EU customs union, it could be the perfect opportunity to enter a new market.

Without an agreement on trade, the UK would trade with the EU under World Trade Organization rules.

Meanwhile, trade tariffs with non-EU countries should be lowered.

The UK will no longer be subject to the higher tariffs that EU countries face when trading with non-EU countries, reducing cost barriers associated with entering markets that are new to your business.

Before entering any markets, you are not familiar with, it is fundamental to understand the environment you wish to operate in.

Those with the best of intentions and plenty of cash have entered foreign markets, only to fail.

Why? Because they didn’t understand the rules, regulations, customs and cultures of that country.

How Can I Enter A New Market?

Whether it’s a new product you begin shipping or a new location you begin operating to, new markets open up a world of opportunity, with fresh audience groups and buying powers.

Before entering a new market, there are four key questions to consider:

  • How you would adapt your offering for different markets?
  • What pricing techniques you would need to employ for new markets?
  • Which markets would play to your strengths?
  • Do you have a thorough understanding of the culture, customs, rules and regulations of the chosen country?

Get your Brexit pricing prioritised

Establish which business activities will incur additional costs and which may be cut as a result of Britain leaving the EU.

Although there is much speculation, being clued up on where costs will go up and down will enable you to be prepared for every possible outcome.

Being aware of how many sales you need to make at different price points can help you to make informed business decisions.

What steps should I take to do this?

Undertake a costing exercise to:

  • Establish which business activities will incur additional costs and which may be cut as a result of Britain leaving the EU
  • Be aware of the cost of your service as it currently stands

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are your prices reflective of the current climate?
  • Is your pricing model transferrable to other markets?
  • Will I be affected by seasonal implications (such as weather and holidays, e.g. Christmas)?

Keep an eye out for new trade deals

Once an initial deal has been reached, Britain has an additional 21 months to confirm and clarify any trade deals with the EU during the transitional period.

Consequently, the trading environment is more than likely to change in this time period.

Making sure your business is aware of and responds dynamically to these changing factors will mean you can stay ahead of the game.

How can I do this?

  • Set up keyword alerts using Google Alerts for terms such as “Brexit” and “trade deal”
  • Monitor news channels
  • Research deals once they are announced

By preparing and being aware of any market changes, you can create a go-to-market strategy in advance.

Competitor comparison

Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing may be a good indicator of changes in your operating environment.

Understanding their motives for change is key to this.

If a competitor changes their strategy or service offering, this is likely to be a signal that something has changed for them.

See these changes as an occasion to take a look at your operating environment.

Although any strategy changes could be related to an internal factor, there is always the possibility that the same “something” that has triggered their change could be “something” that affects your business too.

How do I evaluate competitors?

  • Identify who your competitors are. 
    One easy way of doing this is google searching your business and seeing which companies come up as related search items
  • Consider all information outlets, including the press, reviews and social media to establish their strategy, brand message and service offering
  • Use this information, along with other data you have collected in a framework such as Porter’s Five Forces model to help analyse the information you have gathered

How can I keep on top of all this?

Leaving the EU presents both new challenges and fresh opportunities for those within the freight industry.

For this reason, some freight organisations have taken the step to hire researchers and administrative assistants.

Their role is dedicated to researching, keeping on top of and implementing their Brexit safeguarding measures and subsequent strategies.

This ensures planning and implementing is not neglected while equally not taking away from the day-to-day running of the business.

What steps have you taken, or will you be taking to safe-guard your business?

Do you see Brexit as a nuisance, opportunity, or a bit of both?

Let us know in the comments!