Ours is a community of 100+ new and growing businesses in the critical first 3 years, from single founders to teams of 10. And what’s important right now is how these small business owners young & old (we support those from 18–50+), all nationalities & religions, from all 4 corners of the world including Scottish, Swiss, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Australian, South African, Russian and more, are facing the next stage in what is already a journey filled with mountains and sinkholes.
With a sense of fatigue around the whole thing, there is a definite attitude of taking it in our stride. The views were incredibly balanced and rational with some emotion thrown in too. Entrepreneurs and new businesses don’t have an easy ride at the best of times and they’re powered by some of the most driven, tenacious, determined people which bodes enormously well for this spirited surge of new small and micro businesses to continue from strength to strength.
So, here is a collection of the views and some of the key questions repeatedly raised in the conversations today.
THE SMALL BUSINESS VIEW
The vote to leave is a double edged sword for a company like Percentile. We have a diverse team including EU citizens. We work with international banks and hedge funds who we help to monitor and manage financial risks more effectively. In particular our tools are used for stress testing — and interestingly enough “Brexit” is one such stress scenario for which clients would use our tools to model to assess potential impact on their portfolios. Uncertainty increases the need for our services. With sterling falling, our services will be even more attractively priced to these international organisations. On the flip side, as a small but growing company, volatile and uncertain markets make it a riskier environment to do business, expand internationally and raise funds. We’ve heard that some VCs are already reviewing or putting on hold any investment into UK based startups. The coming months may well prove to be a testing and difficult time for us, as a Capital Markets focused FinTech / RegTech company. But we can’t sit around moaning about it. We’ve got work to do!
THE KEY QUESTIONS
– What will the foreign investment landscape look like moving forward?
– Will the domestic investment landscape retract even further?
– How will this affect other types of investment from loans to grants?
– What will the impact be for our non-British founders and employees?
– What is the roadmap to exit?
– Once everyone has calmed down, will we be able to strike a positive and progressive deal?
– Who will lead us through this period of transition?
– Is the UK well enough equipped with skills to innovate our way through this to a stronger future?
This is from a portion of our community, just one of hundreds in London and around the UK. Based in the heartland of remain, demographically and physically — we’re based in the heart of the City of London, 100 yards from the Bank of England — and the profile of new business owners and those working for them is still fairly homogeneous, our community is actually incredibly diverse on all fronts.
Every single one of them is already doing an amazing thing and beating the odds by still being in business, they’re a seriously inspiring bunch whom are adept at adapting, agile in nature and innately creative in solving problems and finding a path forwards.
Hope and fear are the greatest motivators for humans. We’ve had a lot of the latter recently (from all sides) so fingers crossed for more of the former to make this into a positive ride for all involved whatever we face.
And in the meantime, we’ll do everything we can to help the businesses of the future navigate this and come out the other side stronger than ever.
Now bring on that weekend…
Amy Walker, Bathtub 2 Boardroom.