At what point will the excuse of “Brexit” become the default excuse for bad management?

You would have to have been living under a rock recently to have avoided the headlines and news regarding potentially how bad Brexit will/could be for the UK economy.

With only 15% of limited company directors saying Brexit will have a positive impact on their business it is clear that a lot of pessimism is creeping through into business owners mindsets.

There have already been several prominent businesses recently deliver bad news to the markets and investors citing “Brexit” as the reason. One notable case in point was Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain “Jamie’s”. In January 2017 it was announced Jamie’s would be closing 6 branches of their restaurant chain blaming “pressures and unknowns” following the Brexit vote.

The locations being closed were Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Richmond, Tunbridge Wells & Ludgate hill. All of which are affluent areas with plenty of other chain restaurants serving their locations.

Now, if you were inclined to take a cynical point of view, one might look at this statement and wonder rightly or wrongly if there were not other reasons at play for closing these locations such as maybe paying too much rents or the chain expanding too quickly or maybe, and it depends on your personal taste, whether Jamie’s are simply being beaten by their competition from the likes of Ask, Zizzi and Pizza Express.

Another point of view could be that Jamie’s management are showing great foresight into the potential difficult trading times ahead because of Brexit and taking early steps to cut costs and limit exposure to any downturn in business. Perhaps.

With the commencement of Brexit negotiations and Article 50 being triggered there are 2 years before the UK could exit the EU fully. We are 9 months since the June referendum result so our point really is:

 

“At what point will the excuse of “Brexit” become the default excuse for bad management?”

 

We are not saying Brexit actually should not be a reason for a business failing, far from it as there are bound to be many legitimate casualties. But given the year leading up to the vote and the almost whole year before Article 50 negotiations start and up to 2 years more for the UK to actually leave the EU;

 

“How much time do the UK’s businesses need to make contingency plans and attempt to secure their positions?”

 

Time will tell.

 

(Read our Brexit survival guide for SMEs here)