72% say we’ll be worse off, according to our Brexit survey

Boom – and we’re off. Like it or not.

The EU ambassador has just delivered official notification to Donald Tusk of the UK’s intention to leave the European Union.

Whatever your views about the result of the referendum, Brexit is now a reality, and is the environment in which we will all be operating.

So what does this mean for the industries we work in? We carried out a quick Brexit survey in the Autumn last year to ask people how they saw the future for their own business, and for the economy in general.

A summary of the results is below.

Results from October survey

It’s striking that, in the first three months after the vote, there was a reasonable split between businesses that felt they had won or lost out. Our survey showed that 28% had experienced a positive impact, 39% negative, and 33% had experienced no difference at all as a result of the vote to leave.

However, almost three quarters of those respondents who were positive attributed this to the impact of the fall in the value of the pound; companies with a majority of their revenues overseas were benefitting from the improved exchange rates. They all described this impact as being either short-term or medium-term, with the long-term future looking bleaker.

In fact, from a fairly positive start, the gloom set in when we asked whether businesses thought we would be better or worse off after we exited Europe: slightly more than 72% of people thought we would be worse off, with only 22% believing we will be better off.

This is not surprising: business – and particularly the media business – was largely in line with the Remain campaign.

More interesting, perhaps, is how those responses broke down by business types. The software and tech community was, overall, much more positive, with almost half of the companies represented believing that the long-term looked rosy. This split was similar in consumer media / entertainment, as well as the ‘other’ category. On the other hand, B2B media was definitely gloomy, with over 80% saying the UK would be worse off.

Enough gloom, though: the final question on the survey asked: how are you planning on changing / adapting your business plans in light of the Brexit decision?

And this is where we saw the resilience and imagination of the sector. While 15% felt it was too early to decide, a further 25% or so felt they would need to relocate some or all of their operations, around one third said they would focus on growing their international revenues, and the remaining quarter fell into the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ school of thinking.

As a useful call-to-arms, one respondent quoted part of a well-known extract from Niccolo Machiavelli: “All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger, but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”


If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please feel free to email me on [email protected]