People ask me all the time – what are the biggest challenges facing businesses in Scotland at the moment? It is easy to simply answer ‘Brexit’, but the issues around the never-ending story of our departure from the European Union are never actually that simple to pinpoint.

Instead, the challenges come like a multitude of moving parts that each bash business planning and profits in an ever-increasing variety of ways. And this is before we even start adding into the mangle the slowing of the global economy, the US-China trade war or the potential tectonic effects of changes in climate change policy.

We speak a lot about how Brexit creates uncertainty, which can be as unwelcome as rain at a garden party – but you would be foolhardy if you didn’t make contingency for it.

Tim Allan, Chairman of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, put it well the other week. He was speaking on a broadcast news programme about the latest results of our quarterly economic indicator. He said that businesses deal with uncertainty all the time. But what they need – indeed what they have been crying out for – is that the added uncertainty caused by the dearth of leadership over Brexit doesn’t make things worse.

The Scottish Chambers’ quarterly economic indicator is the longest running business survey of its kind in the UK. As such it provides real, hard and valuable data on the sentiment that underpins the health of the Scottish economy.

The most recent for the second quarter of the year revealed one of the main challenges facing was an unwelcome rise in costs. Most of this was due to Brexit. Currency weakness has caused the cost of imported raw materials to rise, affecting in particular manufacturers and construction companies. The rise in costs compounds the challenges that manufacturers in particular faced in the first quarter – before the first Brexit deadline came and went, as they invested in stocks in case of delays at borders.

Brexit is also a factor in a rise in wages as the pool of EU citizens starts to dry up. Many welcome a rise in their pay packets, particularly if they go into the pockets of people in local communities. For employers however, a sudden shift upwards in the wage bill is yet another challenge in maintaining what for many is a delicate balance of ensuring income exceeds expenses. Higher wages are also best served with strong doses of skills improvement – and this applies across the board from the newest trainee up through the ranks of management.

A light shower at a garden party where there is a marquee for guests to shelter under which passes quickly - offers little risk of threatening enjoyment of the event. A deluge with strong winds which tear away the awnings is another matter altogether. Businesses need a chance to come in from the cold and wet of Brexit uncertainty so they can invest in people and expansion. It’s as simple as that.

Liz Cameron is chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.