“There is no other way. I have to get my hands dirty to make my business work. My employees needed to be removed, others fired with the pandemic. As a result, I had to assume many of the operational functions in order not to close,” said businesswoman Rachel Pires. Owner of a sublimation company, she is closely taking care of some of the factory’s production steps.
However, significant the employee’s commitment at a time like this, the “blood” for the business who needs to give is also the owner. “Therefore, in a situation as complicated as it is now, the owner needs to assume an operational rather than just a management posture,” he added.
Chef Dam Bianquim has owned a ceremonial for 30 years and says he had to “go back to the roots” to keep the business going.
“I was working as an event producer focused on decoration and buffet. Today I go to the kitchen with my cook, who has worked with me for 23 years, to make lunchboxes”.
“I returned, in just three months, to what I was 30 years ago. From when I counted money and made stock. I am feeling when I was at the beginning of the company. Employees dropped from 50 to just 5, helping me,” he said. And unlike what you think, this is not a cause for shame. “We are trying to survive”.
The chef said he was at home during the first month of the pandemic. During that time, the company was assaulted. “I had to reinforce security and now I have activated my CNPJ as a restaurant. I’m doing a little bit of everything. For a while I managed to get money out over the weekend, but with the government’s ban, the income dropped from R $ 3 thousand to R $ 800”.
From a feed on social networks with luxurious events to pictures of lunchboxes, the chef received a lot of criticism from co-workers. But humility and credibility with customers helped him stay on his feet.
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“I don’t understand the criticism. It is a decent job like any other. I don’t have that. Vanity is causing many to break and the last thing a human being should have in a pandemic is vanity. Contrary to what they said, I received a lot of support from my clients, who help me publicize my work”.
The most difficult, he said, is the lack of government support. “It’s a lot of bureaucracy to get credit. Many friends will not be able to reopen after the pandemic. The governor released street commerce, gyms, shopping malls, street markets, and forbade us to attend on weekends. There are two weights and two measures”.
Something similar happened with Ivan Garcia, owner of confectionery and buffet. “I started working with sweets four years ago, when I was fired from my job. Over time, the deal went well and on March 20 the opening of my store in a mall was scheduled. That was when everything started to go wrong”.
“The quarantine started and I had to continue paying the rent for the mall, which did not decrease in value. So, I had to reinvent myself and start producing products that I made in the beginning. I was working with differentiated and exclusive products, but now I make pot cakes, sweets and some snacks and I do the delivery myself”, he said.
The differential, according to him, is the partnerships between small businesses. “For big companies, it’s been lightly. The way is to unite us. I have groups with small businesses and patisseries from all over Greater Victoria. And at a time like this there is no competition. We’re in this together. Therefore, we put products from each other for sale, partnerships in delivery deliveries and so we help each other. Whoever is selfish does not survive a pandemic”.
Viviane Monica da Silva and her husband owned a restaurant. But now they work alone to make lunchboxes.
“We set up our business before the pandemic. We closed the restaurant last year and started working at home. At the beginning of the pandemic, sales fell 50%. During the night we worked as a snack bar, which had to be closed”.
According to her, three employees had to be dismissed and are now alone. “We used to work in management and administration, but now we do everything. My husband cooks, I do the service, we both clean and take care of the financial. We are working hard enough to keep up”.
Despite the difficulties, Viviane recognizes that things have gone more smoothly for the couple. “For us the move was a little better than we expected, because my husband likes to cook and we ended up getting together to do something he likes. And the difference of many who are also suffering from this pandemic is that in our case, leaving management to work with our own hands was our choice”.