It's common to hear that business in Brazil closes down between Christmas and Carnival. This article will give you some ideas about how to keep your business rolling during this period of the year.
All countries in the world are moving a bit slower during summer time, kids are off from school and hardworking businessmen have the few days of vacation to gather energy for the next year ahead.
If you are from the northern part of the world, you most likely take your summer holiday in July and August while here in Brazil it's from Christmas to Carnival.
The Carnival holiday isn't a set date but it normally happens during one of the last weeks of February.
Not all Brazilians are out of office
Brazilians have up to 4 weeks of vacation; this doesn't mean that everybody is out of the office for the entire two month period between Christmas and Carnival. However, management often tend to take some extra weeks off during the period.
Unlike some other countries, Brazilian businesses are not officially closed for the summer holiday; you will always find at least one person who answers the phone.
It's not a culture to reduce the working hours during the vacation period in Brazil. Offices and stores are operating normal hours but in stores, you have to expect a reduced number of staff at work and generally a reduced service level.
The vacation time is frequently used as an excuse for employees who are actually working to reduce their pace.
December- the key month
The Brazilian GDP grows significantly in December. This is not only due to Christmas shopping but also because it's a lot of high pressure sales going on.
In North America and Europe it's common to work extra hard to close the year, while in Brazil it's not only about closing the year with good figures, but it's also about covering the upcoming holiday period of two straight month were you cannot expect a single significant order.
Because Brazilian companies are closing a lot of orders in December, they are also more likely to do investments that were not budgeted for during this period.
How to grow business in January and February?
There are no reasons to sit at your desk and look at the phone that is not ringing (at least not from Brazil) or to keep checking your e-mail where nobody contacted you.
It's always technical people and middle management at work so even though you will not get any larger decisions made, there are still a number of activities you can engage in:
- Desk research (find new contact point)
- Pre-sales activities
- Renew service agreements
- Collect debt (!!)
Collecting debt should maybe not be categorized as "growing business" but it's still something it's worth considering doing in January and February. With a stuffed bank account from good December sales and with the mental focus on the beach it's often easier to get executives to issue payments than to handle the trouble of not paying.
Schedule deployments in January and February
If you are working with operations or technology that significantly change the way a company is working or in any way will disturb their operation, it's a great possibility to schedule deployments or changes in January and February.
You need to remember that scheduled deployments should not include training.