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La Cocina Espanola

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I found operating a company in Spain not to be the easiest. The first couple of years are especially tough. Advertising and influx of customers and clients is generally based on word-of-mouth and the time for your company to nurture and become recognised should not be understated.

By Adam Wilford

I moved with my family to Spain when I was very young and grew up in Javea. Then when I was thirteen I had to move back to England, which, if I'm honest, was hard to adapt to at first. After my finishing college, I was about to go to university, but ultimately decided to go back to Spain. My father offered me a new opportunity within his company. Naturally I was enticed by the climate and way of life, and knew exactly what living there was like.

Therefore, the decision to move from England to Spain was not as hard for me as perhaps it is for others.

When I was growing up in Javea there were so few cars on the road but now with the increase in population, Javea is a rather heterogenous region of the country. Some of the locals do have resentments to a foreigner; however this is predominantly the reserve of the older locals.

Conversely, the younger generation are pretty much used to the melting pot status. Maybe the problem is that there are many British people establishing companies, which obviously benefit the local economy, but then these foreign businesses have a tendency of employing only fellow expatriates. In that respect, it doesn't really bring anything worthwhile for the locals in Javea.

I set up a business called Kitchen Direct, which is a shop selling lots of furniture; obviously, though, it specialises predominantly in kitchens and accessories. I found operating a company in Spain not to be the easiest. The first couple of years are especially tough. Advertising and influx of customers and clients is generally based on word-of-mouth and the time for your company to nurture and become recognised should not be understated. I'd reluctantly say it is smoother running a business in England.

If I was to give some examples, I'd say don't start a furniture store up! Just be ready to persist. And whatever you do, don't come to Spain expecting to hit the jackpot. Try to think of an original, innovative business venture that hasn't been set up or is lacking in the country. Ensure you are ready by learning the language. Something universal to the locals is how frustrating it is to see a foreign business not taking into account the Spanish language. For example, some restaurants only print menus in English. This is a big faux pas.

To set up, you need to gain permission first. I suspect the local council review how many other similar companies already exist. You will then be surveyed, and fingers-crossed obtain an operating license. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved, especially in retail, but as the proverb goes, everything comes to those who wait.

Altogether, though, I think there is a universal reason why people move to Spain; the climate and the culture. So if you are ready to roll with the blows, go for it. In the long run it will have been worth it.

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