In this pandemic of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the face-to-face activities of Aventura de Construir (ADC) were suspended indefinitely. Based on this new situation, the team focused on thinking about how to continue following microentrepreneurs with the same responsibility and momentum that they have always done.
Based on this reality, our strategy was to bet on individual connections to raise awareness of the public about the pandemic, seeking to understand the vulnerability of each one so that we can provide guidance on how to continue working in this scenario or even how to seek other job opportunities, always remembering the importance of self-care and strengthening the local economy.
In the past few days, we have made over fifty calls to microentrepreneurs accompanied by the Association. The objectives were to:
- Understand the general situation of the enterprise during the crisis;
- Understand if there is any strategy created to face the upcoming months;
- Identify strategies that can be picked at this time;
- Identify the biggest difficulties and which microentrepreneurs need more support, so we can continue with this work in order to serve the urgencies.
It is a fact that sending a WhatsApp message is much faster than calling people, but the telephone conversation allows us to hear each other and we make ourselves be heard as well. This is essencial in this moment of total vertigo and allows us to understand the specific situation of each one of these people with whom we speak and start from reality – one of the methodological pillars of Aventura de Construir.
Understanding the context of each entrepreneur allowed us to identify what their greatest needs are, guiding us to the most appropriate responses. Some guidelines may have a general tone, but there is no miracle recipe for facing this emergency.
So far, most of the entrepreneurs contacted by Aventura de Construir are behind closed doors, among them, some manage to carry out their activities partially, such as the case of Sabrina, owner of a small market in the Voith region and the joiner Adriano de Cajamar.
Even though they are a minority, there are those who risk themselves in the midst of the inspection of the City Hall and the disease that plagues the country, opening their enterprise, because they live off the money that comes into their day-to-day lives, as the account of the entrepreneur of an ice cream store and açaí from the Taipas region said, “if I stop, I have no way of surviving, even when open I still have to decide whether to pay for water or energy”.
From the 100% of entrepreneurs served, 46% have the resources to survive for 3 months and 23% cannot spend more than 15 days with the budget. Despite the complex scenario, discernment is needed to identify the possible actions to face the crisis and for this reason, Aventura de Construir follows the follow-up work at a time when support is essential, as the entrepreneur Carla Livraes comments: “I thank you for being heree to help in this moment that is really difficult, especially for those who work for themselves “.
Each dialogue enabled an exchange of experiences. When talking to a hairdresser, for example, she said that she had interrupted her appointments, but she wasn’t sure about what she should do if a client came to her.Aventura de Construir’s clear guideline was that she did not provide any assistance and shared her position in public on social networks.
Dealing directly with the public is a great responsibility, after all, frequently, a client listens more to her hairdresser than to the official government statement. It happens due to proximity and bonding.
For this reason, letting entrepreneurs know about this topic is essential, since once they are aware, they can multiply this knowledge among peers, taking advantage of their respective bonds. Thus, they develop and strengthen the territory where they work and live.
It is about a work that seeks for creating protagonism by believing in the centrality of the person, another pillar of the Aventura de Construir. Taking this into account, during all calls, we were thorough to also identify the strategies that entrepreneurs have found to face this moment in transmitting to others who need it.
Always taking into account the different needs of each one, we have prepared a list with some tips collected during the calls that can be useful:
- Negotiate the rent of the enterprise (shoot down or delay – understanding the context of the renter);
- Do not invest in anything new, neither take out loans, but ake a plan with what you already have;
- Stimulate the bond with customers, but be careful not to smother them with messages;
- Publish on the social networks the situation of the enterprise (since when it is closed, if there is any service available, contact, etc.);
- Online content production (posts, videos, series, tutorials);
- WhatsApp group to leverage likes on posts and help each other within neighborhoods.
As it was already said, there is no single answer, but understanding the other situation and identifying what are their needs and strategies often helps to increase the line of sight and see the situation better as itself.