Get a European base – FAST!
So the Brexit architects (Johnson, Gove, Farage etal) have taken to the hills or rather surprisingly, in Boris' case, travelling the world stage as our chief diplomat. As they settle into their new lives, it leaves the rest of us poor mortals to try to not panic and carry on running our businesses.
The fog is sadly not clearing yet…. however, one thing we do know is that Article 50 - the mechanism that will ring the bell on our two-year exit from the EU - is unlikely to be rung until the turn of the year. This gives UK business a good two-year head start.
In my mind, any UK business that has a product or service, which 508 million wealthy western consumers would like to have, should move fast and get Permanent Establishment (PE) in one of the 27 countries of the EU.
So what is PE?
I am no accountant, but having fallen fair and foul of PE, during a long international sales career, I do know PE is when an organisation is deemed to have a fixed place of business in an overseas territory and is subject to local taxes. This might sound horrible, but with eyes wide open, a good plan and a decent firm of accountants, this is precisely what UK companies should be pursuing to ensure on-going unfettered access to the European Single Market.
How do we do it?
The golden ticket is to see if one of your current customers would like you to set up a European base to enable uninterrupted service. To head into an overseas adventure knowing you have a customer willing you on is the softest landing of all.
Alternatively the same rules of engagement apply. Do your research – check there is demand for your product and service – check out the competitors – make a plan.
Perhaps the simplest (and lowest cost) model is to appoint sales agents. Chosen well and properly trained and supported these hungry commission individuals can help you test the water quickly. However, if the market looks ripe for your product or service, don’t be afraid in appointing employees. Payroll and HR advice can be sought from your friendly accountant – it isn’t very difficult – promise.
With the mind-set of seeing Sweden no differently to Surrey the same disciplines apply. Understand customer needs (expect them to have some cultural uniqueness), make your proposition clear (albeit in Swedish) and implement an effective sales and marketing plan to support your new Swedish sales manager.
Cognition – a specialist B2B marketing agency can help. With our Route to Growth strategic approach we can work with you to deliver your Permanent Establishment base in the heart of Europe.