How can you plan for the unknown?


Olive Hill, Executive Director of Strategy
Invest NI
Feb 22, 2018

Businesses are used to dealing with change but Brexit is unique. There is no learned behaviour to drawn on when it comes to preparing for Brexit.

This is not the same as dealing with a downturn in the economy, currency fluctuation or failed contracts. This is wholly unchartered waters.


With so much flux around what deal the UK will strike with the EU, and many imponderables around the impact on day to day business activity, you might be excused for thinking the best thing to do is sit back and wait. Wait for more detail, more clarity, and greater certainty.

Our advice? Think Ahead. Be proactive. A ‘do nothing’ approach is not an option.

We are advising our customers to gather as much information as they can about their business, now.

  • Know your supply chain and anticipate how it might be affected by Brexit. Identify other potential suppliers.
  • Assess the skills make-up of your staff and where you might have gaps if there is restricted access to EU workers. What training can you do now to upskill existing staff to help address these gaps?
  • Know your products and how future tariffs might apply. Can you innovate now to reduce these tariffs? For example reducing the sugar or fat content of yoghurt could significantly reduce tariffs.
  • Know your markets and invest in relationships with your existing customers. Explore new high-growth markets outside of Europe.
  • Scenario plan for the impact of tariffs, taxes and customs checks on your imports, exports and cash flow.

Brexit will undoubtedly bring challenges. Equally it may also bring opportunity. By increasing your competitiveness you will be better placed to adapt and deal with these changes.


Our focus has been, and continues to be, on providing support to make Northern Ireland businesses as competitive as they can be. Brexit does not change that. Our support mechanisms such as trade visits, in-market advice, skills programmes, grants for innovation and R&D, and help to create jobs are just as valid now as they were before and can help you prepare for Brexit.

As your Trusted Business Partner we are providing our staff with regular training to help guide you through this process and we are updating our Think Ahead pages with new information and advice as it comes available. If you would like our support please contact your client manager or contact our Business Support Team on, Tel 0800 181 4422 or submit an enquiry.

Share this Article


No comments yet.

Have Your Say


Latest Features

GDPR video workshop - how to be compliant and keep your data safe
Danny Smyth, Information Governance & Data Protection Manager
Mar 16, 2018
Unpicking the EU negotiations
David Roberts, Invest NI Economist
Mar 15, 2018
Businesses boast improved performance
John McClune, Lean Process Manager
Mar 13, 2018
Invest NI’s Access to Finance portfolio spurs growth in local businesses
Mike McKerr, EY Managing Partner Ireland
Mar 06, 2018
Inspiring Exporters
Steve Harper, Executive Director of International Business
Feb 28, 2018
How can you plan for the unknown?
Olive Hill, Executive Director of Strategy
Feb 22, 2018

Sign up for News

 Enter Code