Trade Horizons Roadshow offers business advice for Brexit

A crowd turned out for the fully-booked Trade Horizons Roadshow, which was held to offer businesses the advice and tools needed to prepare for the Brexit.

The event, which was held at the Aerospace Museum in Filton, Bristol, included talks and workshops from Brexit experts and strategists.

Innocent Drinks’ head of brand Dan Germain also shared his export story at the event, which was presented by Export for Growth.

Export for Growth helps businesses accelerate sales and boost profits through exports.

William Higham – Next Big Thing

Behavioural futurist William Higham, who runs the strategic consultancy Next Big Thing, kicked off the event with his talk ‘Make Friends with Change’.

He said the three global consumer trends which are driving growth are control, comfort and community.

Higham, whose clients range from media to finance and music, said developments in technology were important but we should also focus on our customers’ brains.

He recognised many people are anxious around change, but said it was important to drive growth and innovation.

He said: “Change can be your friend. In the current economic climate, change is your best friend.”

He gave examples of how firms, ranging from Pepsi to Lego, prospered when they embraced change and adapted.

Dan Germain – innocent

Dan Germain looking at building a brand from nothing. He said they started out in 1999 with a purpose – ‘to make it easy for people to themselves some good’.

He shared some of his lessons in business, including sticking to the main thing that you do and being authentic.

The group head of brand and creative said: “The more you look like the other guys, the less you are likely to be noticed.”

The smoothies and healthy drinks firm started out with a group of a few friends and has since launched into Europe to become the continent’s favourite juice company.

He urged people to ‘start small, but do start’ and to speak with their customers face-to-face where possible.

He also spoke about how their desire to give back has driven the business forward, including the success story of Action Against Hunger.

Innocent supported the charity’s ground-breaking project to find ways to better treat malnourished children.

In 2017 alone, they helped over 14.7 million people in nearly 50 countries.

David Pothecary – international trade expert

David Pothecary, who has exported everything from printing paper to speed bumps, looked at potential future arrangements following brexit.

It ranges from full membership of a single market and customs union to a ‘cliff-edge’ arrangement. He said for all arrangements, some form of declaration would need to be made at the border.

Katrina McWhinnie – Brexit strategist and lawyer

Katrina McWhinnie, of The McWhinnie Consultancy, said it was important for businesses to plan for Brexit ahead of time.

She said: “Whatever way you voted, Brexit is here to stay and we have to embrace it. You can either disrupt or be disrupted.”

She said Brexit presented opportunities too, such as the chance to explore new markets.

Frances Fawcett – International Trade Matters

Frances Fawcett, in her talk ‘Born Global is Just an Attitude’ said exporting was not about connections, skills or knowledge. Instead she argued it was more about attitude and even applied to businesses which provided services.