Would you invest in a business with an uncertain future? I know I wouldn’t!

European referendum

People are always asking me to look at their businesses and give them some tips, or maybe some thoughts and suggestions about their model or marketing plans. I’m not really an investor that often, other than in Pimlico Plumbers of course, but whether I’m considering putting money into a venture or just giving those involved my honest appraisal, the first thing you need to know are facts and figures.

Of course you need to know about the product, production costs, marketing plans and all that goes to bring what you have to offer to market, but equally important is the market itself. Who is going to want your product? Where are your customers, and how much is it going to cost you to reach them with your products? This is assuming that they actually want them at all.

The simple fact of the matter is that nobody who is sane would ever buy into a business where there is no possibility of knowing who you are going to be able to competitively sell your products to, or even if you’re going to be able to legally reach those who may well be interested in doing business with you.

But that is exactly what the Vote Leave crowd would have us believe. Despite the fact that it will reasonably take 10 years to sort out all the treaties that they say they would negotiate with the EU, we are supposed to accept that foreign investors will still want to put their money into UK PLC, despite all the uncertainty!

They will continue to pump in billions even though the products and services they are putting their cash into may in the future face heavy taxes for access to Europe’s 500 million strong market. We are also told that we won’t lose existing trade that we currently have with Europe, which currently sits at more the £230 billion per year. But answer me this – what happens when a British product comes into direct competition with a similar French or German one, and we’re no longer full members?

Business hates uncertainty, and a Brexit would see business confidence levels drop off the scale to levels never seen before. In the past I have talked about the great unknowns, and why they are so dangerous for the economy. Well from such unknowns come one great big elephant sized decade of instability inspired uncertainty, and that is a fact. If that inconvenient fact only leads to a lost opportunity of 6% growth, as the Treasury pointed out last week, then I’d be very surprised.

The threat from a Brexit is huge and imminent, which is why we must vote to Stay In.


Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins is the archetypal entrepreneur having started Pimlico Plumbers from scratch and building it into a multi-million pound enterprise. Always opinionated and often controversial, Charlie’s common sense attitude has earned him a reputation as one of the UK's most outspoken entrepreneurs.

About Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins is the archetypal entrepreneur having started Pimlico Plumbers from scratch and building it into a multi-million pound enterprise. Always opinionated and often controversial, Charlie’s common sense attitude has earned him a reputation as one of the UK's most outspoken entrepreneurs.
  • jeanshaw

    Sadly staying in the EU is exactly the same you have no idea where it will be in 4 years let alone 10 years . At least if we leave we can negotiate a deal whereas in the EU we have no control over what happens , the UK has never won an argument in the EU, we have been outvoted on every issue which the UK Government had regarded as important.

  • David Goadby

    But who would invest in any business that as never published a full set of accounts, audited or otherwise and runs two expensive head offices fully staffed with unelected fully pensioned and overpaid executives?

    If you are going to use the Dragon’s Den analogy then they would not invest in the EU for sure.

    I am a small business owner who never signed up for anything other than a free trade zone so I do worry about where EU is heading.

    As we are outvoted 28 to 1 then, if we remain, I doubt if Cameron’s so-called promises will be passed at all and, like the Scottish referendum, we will be asking for another vote soon afterwards.

    As for worrying about supposed UK/French buying decisions the French don’t abide by EU rules anyway. Remember when they were told to buy our beef despite us being clear of foot and mouth? And, why don’t they process illegal immigrants when they are in Calais like the should?

  • LoopyLoser

    Every start-up that ever, er, started, had a very uncertain future. And they’ve generally proved the very, very, very best of investments.

    Certainty, death and taxes, are very comfortable bedfellows!

  • Paul

    We must vote LEAVE if we want any chance of securing Britain’s future. Most of the remain campaign is based on scaremongering tactics around trade and jobs. To suggest we wont sell British products to Europe if we leave is like suggesting we would all stop drinking French wine if they left the EU, it just wont happen!

  • Jeremy Hall

    If a market sector or product is obviously unsuccessful you do not continue with it you reinvent your business – something necessary in today’s world. We have seen many companies unable or unwilling to do this (Woolworths, Kodak and BHS are examples). As the EU will not reinvent itself it is a matter of leaving before we are irrevocably damaged.

  • Steve

    The trouble is though Charlie, the remain camp don’t know what will happen either. Someone put it very well the other day. Vote Remain DOESN’T mean vote for the status quo, that will not happen.

    If we remain in Europe not only will integration into the superstate see the sidelining of our national government, possibly have to introduce the Euro but also and I hate to bring this up AGAIN the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the USA and the EU will open our markets and services up to US companies.