Don’t Let Brexit Panic Derail Your Business
I don’t normally ‘do’ politics in these weekly articles.
As close as I get is a review of the Budget when it happens, with a clear spin on the business angle.
However, since the ‘surprise’ EU referendum result, there has been a wild air of fear permeating the business community.
I want to put a stop to that today, right here and right now, and say to you:
I say this because you can make the next 12 months just as successful as the last 12 months. Or 12 years. Or 25 years!
I make this claim on the basis of three main reasons, which I explain in turn below:
First things first, why has everybody got the jitters?
Because the mass media starting spreading a myth that there was a stock market crash and the economy was about to implode.
They did this for many reasons, not least because of ego; almost all of these mass media commentators (who are as caught up in the Westminster bubble as the politicians) supported Remain and the notion of the plague of Locusts… so when it happened, they had to ensure their prophecy rang true and so spread the myth of the plague of Locusts.
The headlines read ‘FTSE crash after Brexit vote’ and so on.
So the FTSE crashed?
Well, no, it didn’t. Not if you look at the facts…
On Friday the FTSE closed at 6138. Is that good or bad?
There have been 121 trading days in 2016 so far.
On the best day of the year, the FTSE closed at 6410. The worst day was 5537.
So how does 6138 shape up, average wise?
The mean close value of 2016 is 6092; the median 6138 (sound familiar? By sheer coincidence, that’s how it closed on Friday. It also closed on that level last Friday. Do you remember a news story about a market crash then? No, you didn’t, because last week 6100 wasn’t considered the end of the world).
Hence by any measure, Friday was an average day for 2016. Not exactly the end of the world…
(To add some wider context to the figure of 6138, during the financial crash in March 2009 it fell to below 3500).
But what about sterling I hear you cry (which is a funny one, as I’m asked about the money markets about once every ten years).
Sterling is now at the same level as it was in February 2016.
Oh, our credit rating? We still have a credit rating of AA1. Our ‘outlook’ was adjusted due to the fact that we voted to leave; it was automatic and will be there until a deal is reached. It doesn’t mean anything.
Perhaps you are still worried about the longer term? Well, the European markets lost two to three times what our markets lost, which shows one thing (other than the fact that markets over-react).
That the EU needs us more than we need them.
Which can only result in one thing – a positive trade deal when the time comes.
Want some more local stats? On Friday morning, my marketing team were a little downbeat, having heard the news on the way to the office.
So I gave them a pep talk and told them to go about the day as they always do.
Three sales were made and two past prospects converted (on the last Friday of every month, I double bonuses on converting past prospects [those who said ‘maybe’ and ‘let me think about it’]. You should try the same, it works wonders).
Which is a typical Friday for us.
And we’re still hiring (if you know people interested, send over their CV).
Always remember this – bad news sells newspapers (and brings in internet traffic, attracts listeners and wins viewers). Bad news doesn’t.
For this reason, the mass media will never run the headline ‘it’s all good, go for it, businesses can now make lots of money and enjoy themselves’.
They much prefer ‘doom and gloom for businesses as economy falls off the edge of a cliff’.
More fool you if you believe them (and what journalist ever made any money running their own business? No, they made their money talking about it; and we only need them to talk about it if things get bad).
A classic example of his hyperbole is the HSBC story from today’s news.
The headline reads ‘Amid Brexit, HSBC could move 1,000 jobs to Paris’.
Sound somewhat familiar?
That’s because it is, only worse. On 24 April 2015, HSBC put out a press release saying that they were considering relocating their entire HQ out of the UK (much worse than 1,000 jobs). Here’s a link to the news story on the BBC website from last year.
May I remind you that this ‘informed mass media’ mispredicted the referendum result itself (as did the financial markets, which all had a huge boost on Thursday as they thought Remain won).
They also mispredicted the last general election, and the one before that (and in the one before that, they thought Michael Howard would do a lot better than he did against Tony Blair).
They failed to predict the 2009 crash and recession (yet then felt qualified to predict how it would play out) and then misforecast a double dip recession that never was.
They also thought that Jeremy Corbyn would not lead the Labour Party (or Ed Miliband before that) or indeed, that the now prime minister David Cameron would fail to beat David Davis in the 2005 Tory party leadership contest.
I honestly can’t think of the last time the mass media was right about anything important.
If you listen to the mass media and their wholly negative spin, you cannot help but become distracted. There’s just too much noise.
Your distraction will lead to negativity; you simply cannot read, hear and see so much negativity without it affecting your positive sense of sense and opportunity.
By all means have a private life and take an interest in politics, but when it comes to business and politics, my general advice is always the same:
Leave the politicians to do the politics, and make your focus your own success.
For instance, at the 2010 election many in the mass media told you that the world would end with the dawn of a Tory-led government.
However, over the past six years, I’ve seen widespread success among my clients just as I had in the years of Labour (and indeed during the recession).
The simple truth is that politicians don’t make businesses successful – you do.
I always say that if you are waiting for the government to help your business, you are going to have a very long wait.
So you’d best make your own opportunities. But the opposite is also true; you cause your own downfalls too.
Hence the only true threat is falling for the hype by self-appointed experts and allowing it to distract you.
The reality is that in the coming weeks, months and years, success will come to those who follow the same tried-and-tested rules as always:
Those who create an inspired plan, do something different consistently well, be smart with their time and money, put their customers first, build and lead a great team, etc.
The government, the EU or anybody else will not help you to do this – only you can do this.
On Thursday before the referendum, success was your choice. It remains your choice today. Nothing has changed.
For what it’s worth, I voted remain (with no enthusiasm) but I’ll embrace leave. I can’t remember the world being perfect under the EU, anyway. So I’m quite excited to see if it can work any better out of it.
Let’s all think positively. We’ve had a trade deficit for decades. Let’s out manoeuvre the EU and get the first proper trade deal with Far East, for instance.
The EU has been trying to do this for decades but it’s too cumbersome. We can now be much nimbler.
The same applies to the USA (astonishingly) and also wider emerging economies.
This is classic first move advantage territory.
This is just one example of a possible thousand.
Now is the start of a new era of fresh opportunities.
Let’s go for it.