As many businesses across the UK play down the potential impact that Brexit could have on the way they operate post March 2019, we thought we’d investigate the effect Brexit has had on the South Yorkshire community so far – almost two years on since a study predicted that businesses in Sheffield would experience the UK’s highest growth, in comparison to anywhere else in the UK.
How has Brexit affected Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley and the surrounding South Yorkshire areas so far?
With Brexit uncertainty rife throughout Britain, last month saw US aerospace giant Boeing open its first ever European manufacturing plant in the UK’s 6th largest city that is Sheffield. Bringing hope to the entire nation with a £40m investment, other notable boosts in South Yorkshire business terms include:
- November 2018: Formula One giants McLaren open composites production facility in Sheffield.
- November 2018: Sheffield based timber merchant Arnold Laver partners with investment firm Caringorm Capital Partners to construct Britain’s largest timber business.
- October 2018: Citu revives old Sheffield factory in the Kelham Island district, aiming to bring more businesses and jobs to the area.
- October 2018: The Chancellors budget is set to boost South Yorkshire’s independent businesses across the board, where pubs, shops and restaurants will be able to get a third off their businesses rates over the next two years.
- A Sheffield University-led project to begin manufacturing equipment for nuclear reactors edges closer towards government support.
How is the prospect of Brexit affecting UK SMEs?
According to a recent survey, only 18% of small business owners saw Brexit as a challenge. A majority of 36% stated that finding suitably skilled workers was the greatest obstacle to running a business and interestingly, 23% of small businesses surveyed highlighted marketing as a concern.
SMEs appear to have a lot to gain from Brexit, considering 73% of Brits are now choosing to take their business to an SME rather than a large corporation – where 36% of people are willing to spend more with local small businesses.
Related to this topic: What traits do SME owners share?
Sheffield: a centre of innovation for business
With so much focus on Sheffield and South Yorkshire areas in recent months, we took the time to speak to a local double-glazing SME to gain some valuable insight into the sector and to find out if marketing has played a significant role within their business strategy over the last 12 months.
Liam Hulme, a local glazing and home improvement specialist based in Sheffield, commented: “Over the last year, Global Windows has experienced a considerable increase in its vertical slider sales.
“We believe this can be attributed to more South Yorkshire homeowners realising the correlation between improving their homes EPC rating and the real potential to boost their property value. This high-quality uPVC vertical sliding sash window case study is a prime example of the calibre of our work, recently carried out in Chesterfield.
“There really hasn’t been a better time for South Yorkshire homeowners to initialize home improvements, considering North of England property prices are accelerating faster than homes in London at the moment.”
Has marketing played a significant role behind this pre-Brexit growth?
“Definitely! Beginning a targeted marketing strategy mid-2017, by creating a strong presence in the South Yorkshire area our sales are up between 35% – 40%. Only this Summer, Global Windows experienced a record-breaking month of reviews which is worth its weight in gold; considering consumer review statistics show us that positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.
“South Yorkshire businesses whoareworried about weathering a potential Brexit business storm should take a look at the South Yorkshire International Trade Centre’s Business Brexit Checklist.”
Can marketing really propel a business through the Brexit storm?
“In the current climate, we are confident that by sticking with a high-performance marketing agency like Purplex Marketing, their industry knowledge, expertise and foresight will propel us through the Brexit storm and beyond.”
South Yorkshire businesses harness the power of digital, creative and public relations marketing
Andrew Scott, managing director at Purplex, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that Global Windows’ sales are rising because of appointing Purplex to look after their online marketing.
“We are passionate about helping the companies we work with grow and we look forward to providing Global with further success.”
Purplex Marketing was founded in 2004 by Andrew Scott, who previously worked in a number of successful businesses in the building products and home improvement sectors. Since its establishment, Purplex has grown by at least 34% every year and now boasts a large clientele of customers located throughout the UK and Europe.