Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Preparing your photography business for Brexit

While we are unsure how and exactly when the UK is going to exit the EU, one thing we can almost certainly be sure of is that we will leave in 2020; although please don’t hold me to that.

Government research shows that 42% of small-to-medium sized businesses are unsure of how they can get ready and just 31% of the British public have looked for information on how to prepare for Brexit.

As a small business owner – running both an event photography software company and photography business – I know I’m certainly nervous about how these changes might impact me. So I wanted to share the key things I’ve learned about preparing a photography business for Brexit with you. Particularly as in the run up to the festive season, the impact of things going wrong could be dramatic.

1. Secure your supply chain – Your first priority should be speaking to everyone in your supply chain. Make a list of everyone you buy key items from – photo mounts & dye-sub printer media – call them and find out what they are doing to ensure they can still get these items to you in the event of any Brexit issues. Not being able to get your hands-on essential items can cause chaos for a small business. If your suppliers are unwilling to discuss their plans with you, then it is probably worth looking for an alternative supplier. Knowing this in advance gives you the time to speak to and compare the other options, so you can hopefully find another supplier who can guarantee a high level of service whatever the outcome.

2. Stock up – Consider investing more in stocking up your store cupboard now, to ensure you’re not stung by any price fluctuations or delivery delays. I’ve already bought mounts and dye-sub printer media to meet my requirements until July 2020. While the initial cost of this might dampen your cash reserves, the peace of mind and ability to keep on running in the event of any post-exit issues could pay dividends in the long-term. I’ve been paying extra attention to ensure all of our invoices and payments owed are met on time so we have a strong cash flow to increase our stock now.

3. Keep your eye on potential regulation changes – There are lots of different regulations which could change once the UK leaves the EU. Health and safety, VAT and cross-border travel could all have a big impact on anyone running a photography business. Minor changes have already been made to the government’s health and safety regulations in preparation for Brexit. These relate mainly to removing references to the EU – there will be no changes to legal requirements and protections. But that’s not to say more significant changes might occur. I’m regularly reviewing the news and also the government’s Get ready for Brexit website to make sure I can react to any changes as soon as they occur.

4. Be prepared for corporate customers to go quiet – While personal private events like weddings remain unaffected by economic slow-downs, it would seem wise to prepare for larger corporate customers to slow down the rate of their bookings – if they haven’t already. Many large corporates are becoming more cautious with their marketing and employee entertainment budgets as the word ‘recession’ is occasionally mentioned hand-in-hand with Brexit. To help bolster this potential slow-down, make time now to market your business and secure a wider range of clients.