In the “Post-Brexit” world, it’s becoming increasingly attractive for American businesses to revisit one of our most favorable traditional marketplaces, Great Britain and there’s a good reason for it. American trade with the UK stands at an impressive $275Billion and it’s only set to grow as the UK seeks out more favorable trading conditions than what was imposed on her during the days of the European Union.
As business begins to revitalize after the punishing year that was Covid-19, the entire global community has learned a few very important aspects when it comes to conducting business on an international scale. We now all know that workers are necessary, offices are not, and while meetings are important, a meeting isn’t. This dramatic change in thinking has also helped business owners realize that the world is far more accessible than what was once thought and what was previously the preserve of global brands and multinationals, has now become far more accessible to the “average joe”.
This means that more American businesses than ever before have awakened to the realization that they too, can access foreign markets and do business abroad without having to be Fortune500 companies.
It’s no surprise that America’s relationship with the United Kingdom goes back many, many years and despite our less than amicable split (some might call it, the original Brexit), we’ve forged a bond through trade and cultural exchange that remains the envy of the world.
The British economy is on the rise again and as British businesses begin to navigate the post-Brexit reality, more and more companies are looking outside of Europe and the UK to reestablish trade or start afresh, and they’re eyeing American partners, big time and even though the Biden administration is being cautious in it’s dealing with the British government, so as not to cause too much offense on the continent, an imminent “mini deal” seems to be on the cards while the bigger issues get sorted out.
It may at first seem counterproductive to establish your business in Britain without the country having the easy access to Europe that it used to, but this is when you have to consider what it is that your business does, means to achieve and where is the best possible market for your products or services. It doesn’t necessarily mean that doing business in Britain prevents you from doing business in Europe and in fact, if you’re only starting to grow your business abroad setting up a solid base in Britain first could unlock vital links to investment and capital that could cause you to create an even bigger splash on the continent than what you may have been able to do, the other way around.
Britain is not out of the woods yet and you’re going to need to navigate this properly, but as always in all situations, there are winners and losers and if you’re smart, you’ll realize that during times like these it’s often the best time to set up a business as you’re likely to find ever-increasing amounts of willing partners, eager to engage with foreigners to help mitigate their own domestic risk. Opportunities exist here in abundance, so do some research.
The United Kingdom is listed as being first in Europe and 6th globally by the world bank as being one of the easiest countries in the world to do business with. You could have your business set up and running in less than 20 days, whereas the European average is around 32, and where time is money, Britain comes up tops. With high levels of employee productivity combined with excellent graduate education and easy access to global financial markets making lines of credit competitive, growing your business in Britain is easier than you might have thought. Sure, you’re going to have to contend with that famous “upper lip”, but it’s that very lip that is going to ensure an open, transparent, and fair trading environment for your business.
Although it’s attractive to do business in England and ultimately very rewarding too, the mistake that many American businesses make is thinking that “London is the UK” - it isn’t and it is notoriously expensive to do business in the nation’s capital.
But going further North in the British Isles can be an option for you when you need a vibrant local economy that while distinct, remains an integral part of the British economy overall, a vibrant workforce, dynamic business interests, and an increasingly integrated link to American businesses. Edinburgh has an honorary American consul present and throughout history, Scottish migrants to the United States have made immeasurable contributions to American ingenuity and innovation and this means that there is a long-standing tradition of doing business between these two countries.
Because Scotland largely uses the same laws as the rest of the UK bar a few differences that apply locally, it is as easy to set up and does business in Scotland as it is anywhere else in the United Kingdom and some ways, even easier as there is often less regulatory paperwork to go through, see what makes sense for your business.
Different types of companies can be formed in Scotland and you may want to ask yourself which one works for you like what is a Scottish Limited company and how could this work for you versus merely setting up a “branch” or satellite office of your existing concern abroad.
When all is said and done, these are exciting times indeed despite the disastrous year that was and the smart money knows it’s time to get positive again and a move to the UK could be incredibly rewarding for you. The British government certainly wants to attract foreign businesses and especially businesses from the United States that present very interesting bilateral opportunities.