Investment in the development of innovative and value-added products and improved services and processes is a key measure Irish companies can take to overcome the potential challenges of Brexit.
On the new product development side, it means your business should be able to demand premium prices; this will help to cope with fluctuations in currency and the cost of border controls that may come into force in the event of a hard Brexit.
An increased focus on research and development (R&D) will give Irish companies a competitive edge in the UK and elsewhere. Developing offerings with worldwide appeal will be critical in creating sustainable businesses which don’t need to rely as much on our closest neighbour.
Regarding internal processes, finding more efficient ways of working, such as lean practices, will help to make Irish companies more competitive in their chosen markets.
Unique selling points
Competing in the post-Brexit era is creating much less of a level playing field. Selling ‘me too’ products and services based on price is no longer a viable strategy. Irish products and services will have to have clear unique selling points for buyers in the UK and other markets to be interested.
To address this issue you should examine your product or service portfolio and determine what your unique selling points are in all of your target markets. In tandem with this, consider what tweaks to existing products or new iterations will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Competition from bigger players
Irish companies are faced with the reality that they must hold their own in the post-Brexit trading landscape against much larger players with more resources to invest in innovation.
Adopting a niche approach in your given sector in terms of product or service innovation will help you to counteract this challenge. You could also explore the option of collaborating with a third party to develop a product or service.
Prepare for Brexit
Your business can start to prepare for Brexit by using the dedicated Brexit SME Scorecard, a free tool available from Enterprise Ireland. The tool looks at a company’s business operations across six areas – Business Strategy, Operations, Sales and Marketing, Finance, Innovation and People Management. You can start the short questionnaire and come back to it at any time. Your results report will show the priority areas that your business should consider addressing and serve as a useful kick-off point to start preparing for Brexit with your business team.
Agile Innovation Fund supports companies in sectors with rapid design cycles to maintain their technology position. The benefits of this grant are that it allows for a very simple application process and delivers a very fast response from application to approval. For more information, go to Agile Innovation Fund.