We need to talk about the B word…
Brexit of course…
Its been nearly a year since I updated this blog (again!) but again in my defence Ive been busy. Very busy.
Not just busy with commercial photography, editorial photography, producing new stock images and keeping my stock image database current but also making Brexit preparations to ensure continuity of my business (and my clients business) before, during and after Brexit.
Im not going into the politics or rationale of Brexit, suffice to say I didnt vote for it but I know people who did and I understand why they did vote for it. Its now a fact its just the complete shambles of how the ‘negotiations’ have been conducted. The clock has been ticking for over 2 years and I am still none the wiser how it will affect me at 11.01 pm on the night of Brexit.
Many of my regular clients know over 15 years ago I had a career in engineering, my degrees are engineering degrees and many many times this engineering and professional background comes to the fore. Indeed on of my last jobs as a software engineer was working on the Y2K planning and implementations. I would argue its probably that professional background is one of the main reasons why Ive been in business for 15 years and plan to be in business for many more.
With this sort of background you learn to prepare for every eventuality, to game out scenarios and plan accordingly. Right now (and for at least a year) the only hard scenario which is a possibility is a completely hard brexit.
Without preparations this would cause my business issues. In the last 6 weeks alone Ive worked in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England and Scotland. Ive driven across the border 8 times and taken air and ferry journeys to the rest of the UK 3 times. In the next 2 weeks I will cross the border at least four more times and one return flight to England. Every single day I license a number of images somewhere around the world. Regardless of any trade deal involving goods unless I post a print somewhere (although I have print fulfillment centres now in many countries to deliver locally rather than have clients pay customs duties) I am mainly dealing with services which may not be covered by any interim or long term trade arrangement.
To cut a long boring, story short as of 1st December 2018 I have completed my Brexit preparations and these preparations were executed with a hard brexit in mind. I will service my local, national and international clients regardless of the outcome and my business will have almost seamless continuity for all my clients.
Neither myself Joe Fox or the business of Joe Fox Photography or Radharc Images has any debt, no personal or mortgage debt (home owned outright), my vehicles, kit and equipment are all paid for (and recently updated to reflect the possible business needs for at least the next 2 years). All kit has been updated, replaced and repaired, all the usual consumables for 18 months worth of business has been purchased and yes indeed I will still be able to take payments in pounds, euros, dollars, gold and silver coins if need be! My business will continue.
During this past year I have also upgraded my home office solar array and installed a battery backup/ups system. Between March and October each year I will be fully energy independent and indeed apart from the legacy vehicles the entire business is powered by renewables during this time and only in late November to mid January is the office not powered by renewables (mostly!).
I have contingency plans to operate part of the business from the Republic of Ireland if required and those plans are now also completed should they become necessary. Again that transition will be seamless for all current customers.
Whilst I am sure most of us are still hoping for some sort of reasonable outcome, I have prepared for the worst scenarios. I have prepared to ensure (like back in 2008) that the business can both survive and thrive during difficult economic trading conditions and also ensure I continue to deliver for my clients wherever they are or may be.
Regardless of whether its deal or on deal, one is for sure I will continually aim to deliver for all my clients or as one of my clients said to me recently ‘Its not that you make me look good to my boss, its that I know you will never make me look bad’. Looking forward to more years of not making people look bad! (I dont know if that will ever catch on as a tagline ;-))