It’s been a rough week for my business. On Tuesday, I took the decision to let my organic certification expire. Currently, I’m certified under EU standards, and it’s not clear that this would continue if the UK is no longer a member of the EU. I need these standards to export organic materials to my EU customers, but I have no idea if this will be possible by the end of the month. As my invoice for another year of certification was due this week, I had to make a decision. Not the one I wanted, but what can I do?
I was supposed to let my landlord know if I’d be renewing my lease by the first of November last year which shouldn’t have been a problem as the negotiations with the EU were to have finished in October. When that deadline passed with no deal reached, my landlord generously extended my break clause to the first of February. But when that day came and went, he had no choice but to start advertising my premises. Not ideal, but what could he do?
So next week, I have the honour of acting as an honorary estate agent as I show a potential tenant around the building that’s housed my business since 2010. I’ve no idea if he’ll take it, but it’s only fair to give him the opportunity because I don’t know if my company will be here for much longer. Not the best position for us to be in, but what can we do?
I planned for my company to continue trading with the EU up until the 29th of March because I have no idea what the trading arrangements will be after that date. Just over 66% of my revenue is earned through EU export, and it relies on that trade being completely frictionless. In 28 days, something will happen, but at this moment, I don’t know what. My customers have begun switching their supply chains to other EU suppliers because they don’t know if I’ll be able to trade with them in 28 days. Not something they enjoy, but what can they do?
I’ve been running companies since I was 20 years old and I have never seen a situation like this. For a government to keep businesses in the dark about their trading relationship with their biggest trading partner is insane and unforgivable. Even if we end up not leaving, my company is so badly compromised from the uncertainty that it’ll take a good couple of years to recover, if recovery is possible. In the coming weeks, I’ll have to decide if I can renew my business insurance, keep the company BUPA plan, and buy more stock. These things should be automatic, but in this climate of uncertainty and upheaval, what can I do?