SMEs, the advice is to delegate, work in the cloud and accelerate e-commerce. For entrepreneurs, strengthen human capital.
"If there is no remedy, what’s the use of crying? And if there is a remedy, what’s the use of crying?”. goes an oriental proverb, that may serve to overcome the pandemic and resurface in better conditions. .
A quick overview of context numbers. A few weeks ago, CEPAL estimated that Argentina will see its GDP fall by 10.5% this year, the third deepest in the region after Peru and Venezuela. And for the whole of Latam the falls will be even greater than in the crisis of 2009: investment will fall 20%, the exports 11,5% and consumption, a huge 9,5%.
To guarantee, a profitable and safe investment opportunity
Now let's put the magnifying glass on companies. What happened to them since march, how they changed and what may be the opportunities in 2021?
Let's look at consolidated firms first. Paula Chmielnicki is an engineer and runs the consulting firm PCH, focused on professionalizing SMEs. Since March, dice, there were marked stages: "SMEs went through stages of paralysis, fear and scenario review. But once used to constant uncertainty, many entrepreneurs became friends with the idea of changing and thinking about another business model, or to make alliances ". Of the cases: First, a toy wholesaler that was closed for the first few weeks, and then adapted the workspace, security protocols and staff prevention, and he was able to "resume activities and was encouraged to open more digital windows". The other case was harder: a firm that sells equipment and services, but the latter were suspended for being non-essential. So, focused its efforts on the other business unit through alliances with suppliers: “It helped them to keep the organization busy and weather the fall. It was difficult, but they managed to improve and debureaucratize work processes ".
Regarding the most notable change you saw in the signatures, Chmielnicki marks “the head of those who did not trust work outside the office. They first agreed to invest in notebooks and migrate information to the cloud; then, to guarantee the flow of information to its users. And then, the challenge was to supervise the remote work ". In the compulsory apprenticeship of entrepreneurs for seven months that seemed like years, the head of PCH sees an unexpected advance: "They use tools to organize tasks and thus meet clear objectives. Today the result matters, not the time of transfer ", graphics.
Sandra Felsenstein is also an engineer. He founded and is in charge of Dinka, a consulting firm oriented to medium and small firms. In addition to the obvious reference to the item, by the forced cessation or brake of many activities, The expert emphasizes the degree of previous progress in innovative practices as the great key that allowed them to adapt to the new reality. The example comes up fast: "A client of ours has an important business of wholesale supplies for beauty salons, with six employees. With the closure of the hairdressers, the sale stopped. He asked us for help with the design of a digital scheme to reach final consumers with tinctures and treatments, something that until then only did in hairdressing salons. So, barely a month since the start of the pandemic, they were already operational and working piecemeal. And once normal classroom activity returns, retail sales will already be a new business unit 100% oiled ”.
Precisely, the new normal on the planet, vaccines by, It will be for the owner of Dinka a scenario that we were going to reach yes or yes, but that the covid came to accelerate: "The situation will leave great challenges and in some cases companies committed, but at the same time it led many firms to reinvent themselves, to review the way they carried out their processes, and in some cases to rethink their business model. Undoubtedly, new technologies are here to stay, as well as the increase in e-commerce, digital marketing and remote part work. In one word, virtuality. And what will be very clear for SMEs is the importance of always having up-to-date information and data about the business, via appropriate management boards. As well as adequate tools to make agile decisions, that allows them to adapt quickly to unexpected changes ".
Hugo Kantis directs the Prodem at the University of General Sarmiento, a think tank that researches and assists on dynamic entrepreneurship, that is, only new companies that generate a great impact on employment, added value and innovation. The coup of the covid, says Kantis, has stuck in this segment in the same way as in established firms. Or even worse: according to a regional survey carried out by Prodem with the IDB in April, between almost 2.500 Latam entrepreneurs, the vast majority said they only had oxygen for a couple of months. “Some had differential capacities to respond, from the personal savings contribution. So, the first thing was to resist, only to reinvent itself later ", Explain.
further, remarks Kantis, what has suffered in many cases is the spirit of the team "and that is the worst that can happen in an entrepreneurial group, because its central capital is human capital and its contact networks ". Asked if the stimulus institutions lived up to the needs of their recipients, the director of Prodem explains that “many ecosystem organizations entered a first stage of paralysis, then respond with very generic distance activities, as talks or trainings. Very few managed to provide a space for emotional containment, liaising with experienced crisis mentors or reporting on relief measures provided by the Government, and manage them ".
About the post-covid stage, Kantis foresees “different sources of opportunities. On the one hand, acceleration of technological change, that will generate a very important creative destruction process. On the other hand, the very need to rebuild the economy will generate demands in certain sectors. And also the change in consumption patterns will lead to new businesses while others will decrease., although in a context very affected by the impoverishment of society and the middle classes. In turn, global value chains could be reconfigured, shifting sourcing sources that are based in China for greater resilience. But what is very difficult is to know what will be the net balance between the opportunities that arise and those that disappear ".
“We are an information platform for the performing arts and also a collaborative management ticket company. We start with 12 entries in 2001 and we finished 2019 with 1.4 million tickets sold ".
“In recent years we had found a solid business model with exploitation of many peripheral issues to the sale of tickets online and in person; was achieved by 10 years of development in that particular niche and a deep understanding of ticketing issues and the specific niche in particular. The pandemic found us in a moment of full expansion plus what really interested us, the Alternative Foundation ".
"The closing of the theaters was a shock. Personally, the first two weeks were very hard; see 20 years destroyed in a week is not easy ".
"But Alternativa has a very intense and emotional bond with its users.. And to the people of Timbre 4 It occurred to him to assemble the ‘virtual cap’, with a price scale of $0 a $1.000 to sell tickets and each one to decide their contribution. We own the idea, we developed others based on audiovisual consumption and that implied for many artists strong success stories and collections that perhaps they did not imagine before ".
"To future, a hypothesis is a hybrid scene, with face-to-face functions with a reduced audience by protocol, more streaming with remote audiences scattered throughout the country and the world. Sounds good, sounds possible, but you have to get to that. And it also implies the problem of massive hypercompetition ".
"I started in 2015, without knowing anything about bakery, after buying goodwill from another French, the Breton Franck Dauffouis, who taught me all about the trade. I also kept his team of people complete. We have two French-style bakeries in CABA, in Centennial Park and Palermo, where we manufacture. In Parque Centenario we were going to open a bar-café in March, when the quarantine was decreed "
"At the beginning sales fell, we did not know how the situation would evolve. Although at the beginning we only billed half, little by little we returned to invoice almost the 100%. But wholesaling to restaurants dropped a lot, because they had to close. Now we are having more cafeteria type customers ".
“We try to reinvent ourselves through the sale of products to other places. We also add new ideas, like the breakfast boxes, that are very requested. And in general, the online channel became very important, and it may be the future in the short and medium term ".
The 4 NO
- Not isolate; it is key to socialize and interact with others.
- Not believing that the future will be a reissue of the past.
- Don't assume the exit is near. We will have to work to live with this situation during 2021.
- Do not forget the centrality of the box and financial management.
Hugo Kantis – PRODEM