• 80% of senior interim executives fear UK businesses are not prepared for Brexit

• Experts warn that a vote to leave the EU would affect operating costs, exchange rates and trade deals

• Businesses should reduce risks by hedging investments, broadening markets and collaborating with peers

Eight out of ten UK businesses have failed to make adequate preparations for a potential exit from Europe following the upcoming referendum, according to a survey.

Interim Partners, a market-leading provider of senior interim executives, conducted the survey as part of the research for its 2016 White Paper on the state of the interim market.

Over 400 top interim managers from across the public and private sectors were quizzed for their views on the EU debate, including whether UK businesses are prepared for the potential ramifications of Britain exiting the EU.

80% of those surveyed feared that the businesses they are currently working with are failing to prepare adequately. Predictions about the potential effects of Brexit included:

– Increased legal, travel and import costs
– Slump of the pound on the Foreign Exchange market
– Changes in how trade deals are made with EU countries

Those surveyed also warned that if UK businesses do not take swift measures to cope with these changes, they risk losing out in the event of a Leave vote.

Respondents recommended that businesses should protect themselves by:

– Developing new overseas markets to increase trade options
– Hedging their investments to protect against overspend
– Forming coalitions with sector peers to strengthen existing relationships

“Interim managers are specialists in change management, and are often brought into businesses to help them navigate periods of transformation and uncertainty,” says Steve Rutherford, Managing Partner of Interim Partners.

“As such, they are ideally-placed to help businesses negotiate the potential economic pitfalls of a UK exit from Europe.”

Six top tips to Help Businesses Prepare for Brexit

A recent survey by Interim Partners showed that eight out of ten UK businesses are under-prepared for the potential effects of Brexit. Leaving the EU would mean that UK businesses have to deal with a host of new challenges, from coping with an unpredictable exchange rate, to navigating fundamental changes in European trade law.

So what can you do ahead of the referendum to minimise the risk to you and your customers in the event of a Leave vote?

Interim Partners asked some of the UK’s most senior interim managers for their top tips to make the potential transition as smooth as possible for business leaders.

1. Develop new markets: By nurturing relationships outside the EU, your business will be more resilient to losing trade with your existing European partners.
2. Hedge your investments: To maintain financial stability and protect against overspend, make sure that any risky investments are countered with more reliable propositions.
3. Don’t act in isolation: Form coalitions with sector peers to build new bridges and strengthen existing relationships.
4. Consider a comms strategy: When you’re going through turbulent times, it’s a good idea to keep your stakeholders informed and reassured – plan ahead by getting a communications strategy in place now.
5. Have back-up plans: You can’t plan for every eventuality, but you can give yourself as many options as possible – consider all the possibilities in case things don’t work as expected.
6. Embrace the change: Brexit might not be your preferred option, but if it happens try to see the positive – look out for new opportunities and don’t be afraid to take them when they arise.

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