To navigate in an uncertain world is demanding for board members and proper risk assessment would be prudent but SME entrepreneurs and shareholders tend to focus on shorter term measures and have a wait and see attitude.

Brexit has been slow in developing and uncertain with regards to trading terms meant to be set for end of 2020 with the possibility of two years extension. Free Trade Agreement could potentially take 6-8 years to be negotiated between EU and the UK.

Corona has put the spotlight on environmental issues as CO2 has decreased substantially following closure of Asian production plants and less cross-border travelling. Sustainability and CSR issues need to be part of all companies offering and initiated by board members.

Historic comparisons may be used in both cases, UK used to have requirement for work permit, VAT and import regulations prior to EU integration and SARS and Bird flu were present years ago.

The main difference is social media, speed of news and the fast change of behaviour among politicians, companies and clients. The world is becoming even more unpredictable.

With the above in mind, in what way do we as a Swedish Company ensure future good relationship with UK clients? Do new competitor’s pop-up in the UK offering local logistic solutions that we are not offering? Will less ease of doing business and likely price increases due to extra admin charges and import duties phase out our competitive advantages? Are there ways to strengthen brand awareness and increase customer loyalty ahead of Brexit?

Alternative partnership might need to be formed with importing wholesalers or financial companies enabling rental or leasing options for example. Perhaps establishing a branch office to handle import procedures and customs declarations will be a requirement to maintain good client relations.

Karin Darlington

Global Business Developer at the Swedish Trade and Investment Council (Business Sweden), Chairman of Improvera AB and member of the Swedish Academy of Board Directors