Published: 21 September 2017
Area of Law: Brexit, Family Business
Diamonds are forever… for family businesses, even with a Brexit!
Open and honest conversations are the jewels in the crown for family businesses to thrive and to keep the peace with family members.
One of the most coveted jewellery showrooms in the UK, Lumbers Jewellers, was the setting for our recent Family Business Brexit roundtable discussion. We opened with the Lumbers story, as told by Managing Director, Dominic Gomersall – it came truly from the heart, his passion, his people, his desire to succeed, and his realism about the ups and downs of life, have all contributed to the success of his family-owned jewellery business.
From the select group of family businesses that attended, it was reassuring to hear that this thriving sector is “just getting on with things”. Their view is that Brexit will inevitably happen in some shape, way or form but it’s a hurdle they will deal with, just like the other hurdles that family businesses encounter. It’s business life, quite frankly! In fact, the mood around the table was optimistic, and for some, Brexit is already generating fresh business opportunities.
Immigration was on the radar in a fairly big way – we know that our EU friends are hard workers and less fussy about jobs than UK workers. But undoubtedly, there’s a skills gap looming - so, how can we inspire people in the UK to be willing to take up any job? Well, good training, good people management and fair wages are a start. However, business immigration is a compliance issue and all family businesses need to act now to ensure their ducks are in order.
Supply chains and reviewing these contracts now, will assist with a smoother transition to on-shore suppliers, if need be. Will there be less red tape from the Government to make life a bit easier for family businesses? Time will tell.
Increased trading tariffs, customs, border checks are all potential burdens, but family businesses are already thinking that by operating some elements of their business outside the UK will be a smarter way to grow and succeed.
On the face of it, family businesses are quietly confident, but also savvy enough to know that they need to start preparing now to face the commercial reality of a post-Brexit Britain.
The crucial message is plan, plan and plan! Starting this now should make it slightly smoother in the long run.
For more information and support, please click here for our Family Business Brexit report or contact our Head of Family Business, Duncan James, who will be happy to help.