K2 Corporate Mobility are, in every sense, a global business. With 11 Client Service centres across four continents, providing globally consistent customer service, K2 specialises in global mobility, offering a level of assignment expertise between HR and service partners for businesses with an international footprint.
Over the past 15 years, K2’s global growth has predominantly been organic, driven by the business’ focus on accommodating clients’ needs and scaled by K2’s flexible approach to grasping new opportunities. In a turbulent time for international trade – with Brexit, the Trump administration and upcoming elections across Europe creating huge uncertainty – this flexibility could hold the key for other businesses to succeed in a challenging market.
“Agility,” says Nick Plummer, Group CEO and co- founder of K2 Corporate Mobility, “is an asset that businesses should always have, but it’s particularly relevant now. Being part of a service industry, we’re conditioned to move and respond quickly. As a global business, we’re even more aware of that need for flexibility.”
As ambiguity surrounding Brexit continues, K2 have already taken proactive steps to adapt to the changing international landscape. Sitting on the fence, says Nick, simply isn’t an option. Up until now, the majority of K2’s European operations have been covered by the business’ UK headquarters in Weybridge. With strong signs that EEA passport facilities could be removed from a post-Brexit UK, K2 have had to think strategically about transferring some of that activity into the EU. “We’ve always had a footprint in Paris,” explains Nick, “but we’re now in the process of establishing our first legal entity there.”
If anything, the firm’s international status can give K2 a stability that businesses operating solely in the UK may struggle to maintain in the months and years ahead ahead. “Trying to get a sense of how 2017 will pan out is difficult. K2 is truly a global business: our offices are global, our specialism is global. Yes, change does affect us, but flexibility is part of that global business mindset and it makes us more able to take on opportunities. For businesses based in the UK, it can be 20% more expensive to trade overseas at the moment because of the drop in sterling. For a global business, that drop can actually be profitable.”
While the government’s recent green paper, Building Our Industrial Strategy, outlined various plans to help boost business in the lead up to and aftermath of Brexit, Nick’s advice to other businesses is to start driving opportunity now.
“If you’re happy to stick with the status quo and let things happen to you, instead of making things happen, you are going to increase your commercial risk and pressures on your business. I really hope that the British government does start to recognise the real value of SMEs, but I’m not convinced. If they’re going to succeed, businesses need to take the lead.”
Nick also feels that SMEs should be playing an active role in shaping the future of UK trade. “As we approach Brexit, I would advocate more dialogue between business leaders – and not just big businesses. SMEs will have more impact if they leverage in groups to lobby government.”
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