In July and August, Biz Latin Hub polled business leaders operating in Latin America to find out what ‘business as usual’ would look like after the pandemic. Among those who responded, over 40% said that they had actually grown during the crisis.
Respondents included founders, CEOs, partners, managing directors, and senior managers, among others, representing a broad range of sectors, including finance, IT, logistics, manufacturing, tourism, and professional services.
Those who responded were based in 16 countries around Latin America, with the largest contingent of respondents doing business in Colombia, while responses also came from people based in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Below some of the key findings from the survey are highlighted.
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Business as usual in Latin America: when will business recover?
Among 30 respondents, perhaps the most notable thing to come out of the survey was the fact that more than 12 of them said their business had actually grown during the pandemic — a surprising result considering the economic turmoil that has been experienced as countries have been forced to shut down economies in order to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“The new world of business will be characterized by a significant increase in distance selling and, consequently, innovation and digitization will be most relevant in the commercial management of the future”– Óscar Roa, Coopeuch regional manager
Of course, this could be due to the fact that leaders of companies that fared well during the pandemic were more inclined to respond. However, it is notable that the second-most common response received was that it would not be until after 2021 that recovery could be expected.
Among those business leaders who anticipated recovery during the course of this year, Q3 was reported to be the period in which it would occur — suggesting that the majority of companies represented by respondents either grew or are very much on the road to recovery, as we enter the final month of the quarter.
What will ‘business as usual’ mean after the pandemic?
When asked to reflect on how the pandemic will affect operations once it has subsided, the most common responses were that remote working would continue on a scale not seen before the crisis, while digitization efforts would continue.
“I believe we will move into a more hybrid work environment where we combine both remote and office work & each company will be trying to figure out what the mix looks like for them and their business.”— Anonymous
Many companies have found themselves implementing or accelerating digitization programmes in response to the pandemic, and 63% respondents said that this would continue.
Notably, a similar number said that their company would be seeking to enter new markets in the wake of the pandemic — suggesting that many new opportunities have arisen, while others have had to pivot in order to ride out the effects of the crisis.
Another notable and related pattern to emerge is the fact that almost half of businesses reported that they would be reducing office space, with only 13% of respondents suggesting that they would return to the same level of office-based work as before.
What respondents had to say
When asked to provide comments on the future of business in Latin America after the pandemic, many respondents emphasized the fact that despite the challenges it entails, the situation also offers opportunities to adopt a new modality for commercial life.
Below some selected quotes are shared:
“The new world of business will be characterized by a significant increase in distance selling and, consequently, innovation and digitization will be most relevant in the commercial management of the future”— Óscar Roa, Coopeuch regional manager
“Business as usual will mean International travel will return to normal”— Anonymous
“I believe we will move into a more hybrid work environment where we combine both remote and office work & each company will be trying to figure out what the mix looks like for them and their business.— Anonymous
“It is time to take advantage of the digital era”— Anonymous
“The biggest challenge during the pandemic has (obviously) been in person meetings with all of our staff together, as well as any new product launches, as innovation has been stifled. Everyone just seems to be keeping up. Our core business is up for the first half of 2021, but business seems to be very uncertain moving forward.”— Anonymous
Biz Latin Hub can assist you doing business in Latin America
At Biz Latin Hub we have multilingual teams of corporate support specialists based in 18 markets around Latin America and the Caribbean ready to provide the integrated back-office services you need to take advantage of opportunities in the region.
Whether you are just launching into a new market or need assistance with ongoing operations, our comprehensive portfolio of services — including company formation, accounting & taxation, legal , recruiting, and due diligence — allows us to offer a tailored package suited to your needs.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help you reach your business goals.
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