How Can Your Company Expand to Europe?
Europe has been a top destination for growing businesses for a long time. But following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, i.e. Brexit, companies are becoming increasingly skeptical.
There is no doubt that Brexit has impacted businesses a lot, particularly UK businesses. This impact’s positive and negative aspects are up for debate, but significant changes are undeniably underway.
Businesses must continue to do what they do best: grow and expand. So how can yours adapt to the post-Brexit world and successfully expand into Europe and how can professional translation services help you in doing this? It’s not easy, but certainly doable.
4 Implications of Brexit for Businesses
First thing’s first: you need to understand the positive and negative implications of Brexit for businesses, whether UK-based or otherwise.
1. Less EU restrictions
Breaking free from the strict EU regulations was the biggest motivator behind Brexit. The UK wanted to trade more freely with non-EU markets, such as China, Australia and the United States.
Whether or not they have successfully been able to do so is too soon to say, as trade agreements are still in the works. However, there is no doubt that your business will have more opportunities for growth outside non-EU countries.
2. Staff mobility
The foremost impact of Brexit has been on the workforce. Following Brexit, staff mobility between the UK and EU has been severely restricted, limiting the reliance on cheap labour.
One option on the table for which some businesses opt is remote employment, which has seen a massive increase over the past few years. In fact, 30% of UK workers are working remotely, whereas 12% of people in the EU are working from home. However, there are still vast legal grey areas surrounding remote employment between the UK and EU, which might make things difficult.
3. Business visitor requirements
The workforce movement between EU and non-EU members has always been strenuous and will have you jumping through countless hoops.
For example, non-EU citizens arriving in an EU country for employment will now need a work visa. Moreover, existing non-EU employees already working in EU countries must acquire a settled/pre-settled status if they wish to continue their work.
4. Tariffs for British exports
The post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU allows for tariff-free trading. However, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has set strict verification requirements and standards to ensure that the goods originate from the UK or the EU.
For example, take agricultural exports from the UK to an EU country. You must prove that the produce was grown on UK soil and adheres to the rules of origin. If you can’t provide this proof, you will be subject to global or common customs tariffs.
5 Tips for Growing Your Business After Brexit
Notwithstanding the seemingly grave implications of Brexit on businesses, things aren’t so doom and gloom for companies wishing to expand in Europe. Just keep the following tips in mind:
1. Read up on the TCA and other negotiations.
Even though the UK has withdrawn from the EU, trade between the UK, EU, and the rest of Europe must still occur for the sake of their respective economies. Hence, British businesses are still welcome to expand into Europe, albeit with a few conditions.
As part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the UK and EU drew up multiple treaties, negotiations and guidelines to assist trade and facilitate growing businesses. So before you expand your business to Europe, it will bode well for you to have these agreements and negotiations at your fingertips.
2. Stay up-to-date with relevant laws.
All EU members benefit from lax trade laws, business operations, and employee rights. But when the UK withdrew from its EU membership, it had to surrender these benefits.
Since Brexit is relatively recent, UK-EU business operations laws are still emerging and evolving. Hence, it would be best if you were extra vigilant about the existing laws and any changes that are bound to occur.
3. Proceed with caution
While the promises of European business opportunities may be extremely enticing, the worst thing you can do is go in blind. Keep in mind that the UK-EU business relations are shaky since we’re still in the early stages of post-Brexit. That’s not to say appropriate agreements aren’t already in place but taking them with a grain of salt is better.
Hence, strategising, goal-setting, and extensive research beforehand are a must if you want to avoid falling flat on your face. You’ll need to know your target market inside out, devise contingency plans, and set realistic goals for your business.
4. Know your audience
Knowing your audience is a time-honoured mantra for any business seeking to expand internationally. However, it’s even more relevant for UK-EU business and trade relations following Brexit.
Europe is a vast continent with inconceivably diverse demographics. While you might have a good sense of your audience in your own country, things will be strikingly different across the waters.
Luckily, the most surefire way of apprehending your target audience is also the easiest one: hiring professional translation services. Translation services will not only help you communicate better with your new audience and localise your brand but also help you avoid any legal repercussions.
5. Establish an EU presence
If you want to avoid the uncertainty of changing business relations between the UK and the EU, your best bet is to establish a presence in the EU. In other words, set up a European base of operations in an EU country to avoid convoluted workarounds for your UK-registered company.
And luckily, establishing an EU presence isn’t too tricky.
Among the various formation, options are stand-alone companies, subsidiary companies, holding companies, and branch companies.
Brexit has had both positive and negative implications for businesses looking to expand into Europe. Furthermore, the true impact of Brexit on growing companies is still unclear, as we’re still in the early phases of a post-Brexit world.
However, this shouldn’t stop you from dipping your toes in international waters but only encourage you to be more vigilant. As long as you do ample research on your target market and recruit appropriate translation services, your business will do just fine.