Back in March 2013 the SNP hosted a dinner at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel intended to convince the business community that independence was in their best interest.

The violinist Nicola Benedetti entertained executives and senior Nationalists like Alex Salmond and John Swinney. The then Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also there, but some present noticed she was more comfortable talking with singers than CEOs.

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It didn’t matter too much, for Mr Salmond spoke the language of business with ease, but since then Ms Sturgeon has made more of an effort, and while her engagement with that world hasn’t always been rich in detail, most of those she encounters come away impressed at an obviously capable leader.

That she and her government impress has taken on a new urgency since the outcome of the European referendum. Indeed, all of Ms Sturgeon’s statements since 24 June have emphasised the Scottish Government’s discussions with these “stakeholders”, as did her decision to make common cause with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

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The morning after the Brexit vote, for example, Ms Sturgeon said she was determined that Scotland would “continue now and in the future to be an attractive and a stable place to do business”, a line repeated almost word for word following a Cabinet meeting the next day. Addressing MSPs last Tuesday, meanwhile, the First Minister went further, saying that if Scotland found a way to maintain its relationship with the European Union then it would “become an even more attractive place to do business”. “I will ensure”, she added, “that we are alert to those opportunities.”

These are not random phrases – the First Minister isn’t known for loose talk – but carefully-chosen lines directed at Edinburgh’s financial sector and the City of London. And as the City-based (but Aberdeen-born) communications consultant Iain Anderson observed last week, “firms have been hanging on to her every word”.

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They’re particularly concerned about what’s known as “passporting”, basically the right to provide cross-border financial services within the European Economic Area (EEA), which encompasses all EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. If London loses those rights as a consequence of Brexit, then those currently based there will look for a new home.

Luxembourg and Frankfurt might benefit, but as the corporate lawyer Philip Rodney asked in these pages a few days ago, “wouldn’t an Anglophone destination with an infrastructure effectively identical to London’s be more attractive?” He foresaw Edinburgh and Glasgow undergoing a “renaissance” as financial service centres, not least because costs in both would be a fraction of those in the Square Mile.

Messrs Anderson and Rodney both identified a shift in how the business world views Scotland and its potential independence, not a wholescale conversion as such, but what Mr Anderson called a desire to start a “fresh conversation” with the Scottish Government. But for that to succeed they want to see evidence of more detailed economic thinking, which currently doesn’t exist.

So if the Scottish Government is to grab hold of this opportunity as effectively as Nicola Sturgeon grabbed hold of the political advantage presented by Brexit, it’s going to need help. On that front, a recent article by the Edinburgh-based communications consultant Andrew Wilson (also a former SNP MSP) read almost like a job application.

Urging “a laser-like focus on our economy”, Mr Wilson said experienced individuals would be required to “client handle” the major international business that might consider expanding or locating in Scotland. This, he said, needed to become a “national priority”, “demonstrating in word and deed that Scotland is open for business and trade”. In the past John Swinney would have been well placed to fill this role, but he’s now otherwise engaged with education.

So the mood music is clear, both from outside the Yes tent and within (several well-placed Nationalists had already been stressing to me the need to “triangulate” rightwards), but here’s the rub: reconciling this sort of muscular pro-business approach will be fiendishly difficult to reconcile with the centre-left, “social democratic” agenda generally favoured (at least in rhetorical terms) by Nicola Sturgeon.

Those bending the First Minister’s ear seem conscious that ideology might interfere with their grand plans. Andrew Wilson said he favoured “economic substance” over “political symbols”, while Philip Rodney said a “broad church” of people would have to be prepared to “put political ideologies aside”, a pragmatism that risks annoying the “utilitarian” Nationalists – mainly ex-Labour voters – who supported independence last time round.

Cynically (but probably correctly) the view of some in the SNP is that the left-wing vote has been “banked” and will hardly return to the warm embrace of Unionism. Indeed, the Yessers I’ve spoken to over the past week can now almost taste the prospect of independence for the first time in two years, so they’ll probably put up with a lot if it means the moment is at hand. The Scottish Greens, now much more interested in the constitutional dimension that they were a couple of weeks ago, can be relied upon to keep the socialist flame alive.

That leaves the question of prospectus and timing. In terms of the former, the summer independence “initiative” is still going ahead, and it seems likely to focus more on all of the above than social justice. In his article, Andrew Wilson spoke of the argument put to the country in 2014 being “entirely remade”, while the First Minister has herself said it won’t “just be a re-run” of that nearly two years ago.

This feeds into consideration of timing. The idea of holding a second independence referendum by the end of this year – or even before next summer – isn’t a runner simply because the SNP needs time to iron out what one of its MPs called “creases” in its economic case. But many of these will require a formidably talented dry cleaner. And although a recent report from the Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies was hyperbolic in its warning that an independent Scotland could become “like Greece without the sun”, its analysis was essentially correct.

As I wrote last week, none of the economic challenges associated with independence have gone away because of Brexit, in fact they’ve become even more challenging. So businesses thinking of relocating to Edinburgh or Glasgow aren’t going to be impressed with yet more fantasy economics.

Of course the window of opportunity could be a narrow one. The UK could end up staying within the Single Market itself, perhaps as a member of the EEA rather than EU, although that would necessitate a compromise on freedom of movement, and it would certainly seem in the UK and EU’s interests to sort that out as quickly as possible.

But if a deal isn’t reached and both the triggering of Article 50 and its related negotiations drag on into 2018 then there’s a clear advantage for the ever-flexible ideology of contemporary Scottish Nationalism. The ears of the corporate world are now open, it’s up to the SNP to keep them so.