A Brexit Health Check for your business

Concerned about the impact of Brexit on your business? Looking at the problem through a sustainability lens can provide some useful insights; improving the resilience of your business, reducing risk and maximizing opportunity. Our Chief Technical Advisor, Craig Simmons, explains the thinking behind our new offering to clients – a Brexit Health Check – and provides some questions to guide your own preliminary screening assessment below.

The other day I was invited to present my views on environmental policy post-Brexit to an informed industry group. This was not the first such talk that I had done but it was the first attended by a member of DEXEU (the Department for Exiting the European Union).

The civil servant was polite, attentive and genuinely interested in hearing from those at the coal face. Several times he intoned ‘I want to hear what we can do to make your life easier’.

As part of my introductory presentation, I was asked to summarize what business was looking for from Brexit. My slide started with a single word writ large: ‘Certainty’. This was something that, unfortunately, the otherwise helpful civil servant could not provide. I went on to list, in slightly smaller text, some of the underlying concerns highlighted by clients and colleagues:

  • The lack of a smooth exit
  • Barriers to accessing EU markets
  • Availability of skills and labor
  • Absence of a clear timetable for transposing EU legislation into UK law
  • Lack of clarity over on-going protection of social and environmental benefits
  • Poor preparedness for establishing new global trading relationships

(Before you say anything – YES, I know that most of these concerns would be solved by remaining in the EU!)

The reality is that it will be at least two years before there is any certainty and, like any other set of risks, businesses need to plan and manage the downsides of Brexit whilst identifying and exploiting the upsides.

With this in mind, we can apply Anthesis’ own Business Value Framework (BVF) to provide insights, and provide a taster of doing so below. We commonly use the BVF to understand the value creation opportunities that are available to a specific organization, which usually includes generating actual costs and benefits for the business in question. While we can’t tailor the BVF analysis to the circumstance of a particular organization in this article, the approach can nonetheless be used here to provide a lower resolution screening assessment. Think of the following as an initial Brexit ‘Health Check’…

Your screening assessment:

The BVF requires thought to be given to four dimensions of business value, represented as a 2 x 2 grid (see below). The simple goal of this application of the BVF, is to identify aspects of Brexit which might maximize revenue and enhance reputational value whilst, at the same time, identifying Brexit-related costs and risks that need to be managed.

Based on feedback from attendees at the various talks I have given, and incorporating the concerns listing above, a first-pass Brexit ‘Health Check’ involves asking yourself some challenging questions:

  • As an organization, are you preparing yourself to take advantage of any new trading agreements, or looking at how currency fluctuations and tariff changes might make your goods or services more attractive in overseas markets?
  • Are you engaging with DEXEU on the regulatory changes you would like to see? How might your material costs be affected by the removal of quotas or tariff changes?
  • In a global marketplace, are you ready to exploit the opportunities that a stronger British identity presents? How might you evolve your brand or marketing?
  • Do you know which staff are at risk from changes in residency requirements? Have you put in place a support, training and/or recruitment process to ensure that your business is not starved of talent?
  • And, finally, have you got the necessary partnerships and protections in place to ensure that you can still access the single market?

Business value framework

Of course, like any health check, the earlier the diagnosis the more effective the cure. And the more in-depth the investigation the more useful the results.

If you are interested in a fuller Brexit Health Check for your business, do get in touch by emailing


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