Expat Entrepreneuers: Keith Nicol on his photography business in Spain
Keith Nicol is first to admit Spain's economic climate is affecting expat businesses, but keeps his eyes on the silver lining.
Name: Keith Nicol
Nationality: Irish / British
City of residence: Torrevieja
Name of company: Photo Video Spain
Date of company launch: 2004
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going.
I offer professional photo and video services for weddings, special occasions, real estate, business, journalism, media plus video for web and broadcast television.
We were building a decent business until 2009 when the property market crashed and the wedding business started to slowdown.
This year has been extremely bad as the bottom has fallen out of the wedding market, but we have diversified and looked at different opportunities so it’s not all doom and gloom.
What do you like about doing business in your country of residence?
We have great weather and hardly ever have to cancel an event or a shoot.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in your country of residence?
Getting permits to shoot in certain places have proved almost impossible.
And not being Spanish or having a local networking group means that we often lose business to Spanish companies.
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
It’s almost closed us down as most of my associates have moved away to make a living elsewhere.
On occasion we have had to turn away work due to a lack of qualified photographers and videographers to help us out.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in your country of residence?
Learn some Spanish, do your market research and make sure you have enough capital for a year without making any profits.
How does running a business in your current country of residence compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
I find the UK very cutthroat in the photography and video world. It’s much more relaxed and friendly working worth others in Spain.
Money is not the number one objective. Everyone is aware that if they wanted only to make revenue they would be better off working in the UK.
Would you like to add anything that we haven’t addressed in the questionnaire?
Networking is probably the most important thing required for a business in Spain. Visit the various groups, take all of the free advertising you can muster, keep an open mind to participating in events and exhibitions.
Many cities have trade groups, and even if you don’t join it’s a good idea to visit and pass out business cards.
Remember that the bigger market here is with the Spanish so don’t miss the opportunity to market to them. And learn enough Spanish to at least answer the phone and keep a conversation going.
You can check out Keith's buisness at www.PhotoVideoSpain.com.
If you would like to share your perspective about life in Spain and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorES@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire on life in Spain' in the subject line.
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