Count Down: 1 Day Till The EU Referendum Vote – What Are Small Businesses Saying

With only a day left till the Brits go to the polls to vote IN or OUT, here’s what small business owners are saying about the possible Brexit.

The EU referendum on Thursday is happening as a result of David Cameron promising to hold one if his Conservative party won the 2015 general election.

The argument for the referendum is that Britain has not had a say since initially joining the European union in 1975.

On that note, we asked several small business owners to tell us their thoughts if the voting result turns into Brexit: 

Cocoonfxmedia (James Blackman, Managing Partner)

Voting: Stay In but not concerned.

Comments: “Simply as the UK is a consumer country and we mainly import from China and the US. Very little in export goes from the UK to Europe.”

If the EU ending results goes the other way – “Zero effect on the business but I think taxes will have to be raised to pay the cost of re negotiating all the trade agreements. The biggest effect will be regulation as say China may have issues if we have different regulations say to Germany which could be a deal breaker.”

New Level Results (Simon Teague, Director)

Voting: Stay In.

Comments: “I believe this offers the best and most stable route for the business community.”

If the EU total results goes the other way – “I believe coming out of the EU will create a great deal of financial uncertainty in the UK. This could stifle or even reverse the growth and positive momentum many of our clients are currently seeing.

“In addition we currently have many good business relationships with our European partners, which might become difficult. We all breathed a sign of relief when Scotland voted to stay part of the UK. Its exactly the same situation with the EU.”

Blue White And Grey (Simon Lomas, Founder)

Voting: Not Concerned.

Comments: “Currently the majority of our suppliers are UK based, so leaving the EU will not affect our business in the short term. Moving forward we may look to bring on suppliers from overseas, but this is simply hypothetical so we cannot let it affect the way we run our business right now.

“As a businessman, and a citizen of the UK, I really am on the fence when it comes to Britain leaving the EU. Moving forward I can’t see the outcome of the vote affecting me or my business directly.”

Great Bean Bags (Patrick Tonks, Creative Director)

Voting: Unsure.

Comments: “The waters are so muddy with regards to the deal David Cameron has brought back but as far as I can see it won’t affect my business too much. After all, whatever the outcome, if someone comes to this country to do good work afterwards then we’ll give them a job.

“However, if the UK does vote to leave, that will put the country on the world stage again, making headlines out of curiosity if nothing else. If that means that manufacturers like me will be able to sell more goods to the world as a result that will be a big benefit.”

Appleyard & Blossoming Gifts (Tash Khan, Managing Director)

Voting: Stay In.

Comments: “The referendum has already had an impact upon the business. News of the referendum weakened the Pound Sterling against the Euro and as most of the flowers we buy are from Holland this has caused our costs to rise. The net impact is we’ve had to increase prices because it would have been too difficult for us to absorb these increases.”

If the EU total results goes the other way – “We are concerned for the future, especially if we vote to leave the EU. Most of the workers that make the bouquets, especially at peak events such as Mother’s Day are from EU countries such as Romania and Bulgaria.

“We don’t specifically go out of our way to recruit people from those countries, but they are the people that respond to the adverts. We simply don’t get enough replies back from English born applicants to be able to fill all the vacancies.”

Electric Tobacconist (Pascal Culverhouse, Founder)

Voting: I’ll be voting to stay in the EU but with an exceptionally heavy heart.

Comments: “My main problem with the EU is the Tobacco Products Directive and I think that our best chance of overturning the TPD comes from staying within the EU.”

If the EU total results goes the other way – “The proposed legislation is nothing short of vindictive — it forces small e-cigarette companies to comply with a host of rules limiting advertising, nicotine content and the sizes of cartridges, bottles and tanks sold. It also enforces an expensive ‘notification regime’ which will cost any company wishing to bring an e-cigarette to market around £100,000, as well as a six-month wait.

“Needless to say, the small e-cigarette companies who have driven innovation so far won’t be able to afford to stay in the game, which will leave only the major tobacco companies selling e-cigarette products. 

“The TPD also gives any EU country the power to ban e-cigarettes outright and states that e-cigarettes will be banned throughout Europe if three EU members decide to implement their ban. In short, the TPD puts my business on a knife edge.”

Custom Planet (Andrew Dark, Director)

Voting: Stay In

If the EU total results goes the other way – “I believe it will make it harder for us to work with some of our current EU clients and put further barriers in the way of our plans to increase our European sales.” 

OSE European (Gordon Seery, Operations Manager)

Voting: Stay In.

If the EU total results goes the other way – “If we are to leave the EU, what I want to know is what is the impact of any restriction on cross border trade? What we don’t know is the effect on a business like ours which operates across Europe, on both imports and exports as we rely heavily on cross EU trade. If there are restrictions on this, it could prove to have a huge knock on effect on ourselves.”

Weroom (Thomas Villeneuve, CEO)

Calling for the UK to remain in the EU.

If the EU total results goes the other way – “As the CEO of a European start-up, having access to Europe’s single market is good for business. Sharing common laws and benefiting from a lack of additional taxes or need for work permits means the UK is a strong market for us.

“The UK is one of Weroom’s most established and successful territories but were Britain to exit the EU, we would need to dramatically alter our strategy. 

“From a recruitment perspective, much of the workforce and talent which fuels flourishing businesses in the UK are non-UK citizens. This means that if Britain left the EU, it could negatively impact how start-ups like us, as well as other bigger businesses in the UK, recruit.

“As for start-ups in the rest of Europe, for many continental European start-ups looking to expand their activities, the UK can be a great place to start thanks to the dynamism of its market. These businesses may struggle to find the investments and capital they need to grow following a Brexit.”