What does post Brexit mean for Lewis’s Bakery?
If you read last month’s blog post, you’ll remember how excited we were about taking on our first European client; a French wholesaler, that had chosen Lewis’s Bakery to make bespoke bakery produce for their own clients and spread Lewis’s oven baked goodness abroad for the very first time…
We all knew that the EU Referendum was looming near. When presented with an opportunity to sign a new European client, we made a conscious decision not to pretend that leaving the European Union wasn’t a possibility.
Our new clients, however, did not seem too worried about the prospect of a Brexit. They claimed that they didn’t think it would really affect them or their intended business deal with us… So, with a huge sigh of relief we shook hands and they welcomed us aboard.
Then the EU Referendum happened, Britian voted to leave the European Union, and even though we knew our business relationship with our new French friends still stood strong, the potential repercussions of this significant political shift is certainly something that could drastically change the trajectory of our desirable expansion. Or could it?
Despite our European clients’ reassurances, we would be lying if we were to say that the political changes that lie ahead aren’t slightly disconcerting. This is not to say that, from a business point of view, we think that this will have negative consequences. However, the uncertainty is unsettling, and we’re pretty sure that we’re not the only ones who are thinking about how this changes the UK’s international business relationships for the future.
How will leaving the EU affect SMEs in the UK?
Well, we think the timing of our expansion into the European market could go one of two ways for us as an SME in the UK.
It could play to our advantage that we secured our French client before the UK became a potentially undesirable business partner for countries in the EU. As our client has reassured us that the result of the referendum does not affect our relationship, our success with this client could open doors for us in Europe that would have otherwise been unavailable to us on the realisation and implementation of Brexit.
We may have just had an exciting prospect of international expansion dangled in front of us like a carrot on a stick, that will later prove to have been nothing but a cruel taster of what it would have felt like to crack the European market.
Maybe, just as we begin to celebrate our international success, triumph is snatched from our blood, sweat and tear stained oven mitts… (metaphorically speaking of course. We assure you our oven mitts are spectacularly clean!)
I don’t think we would be wrong in thinking that this feeling of uncertainty is common among other SMEs, whether they were in favour of remaining a part of the EU or not. No one can be sure of what will happen.
We can’t let uncertainty over Europe undervalue our bakery’s progress thus far.
We have had such positive success over the last couple of years that it would be counterproductive to let us feel discouraged by a political decision that is now ultimately out of our hands.
On a more positive note, the dramatic, arguably temporary, drop in the value of the pound may very well persuade our new clients, along with others, to take this opportunity to get their money’s worth and make some big orders with us before Article 50 is inevitably invoked and our trading prices go up – again possibly to our advantage, who knows!
If there’s one thing that we have confidence in, no matter what happens to the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe, Lewis’s Bakery will still be producing top notch, fantastique, artisan bread and bespoke buns that we will be proud to call of British origin; whether we’re selling them in Europe or not!