Expat Entrepreneur in Granada: Mark Stewart
In this new series of Expatica interviews, Irish expat Mark Stewart advises fellow expat entrepreneurs to find out how things are done differently in Spain and go with the flow.
Name: Mark Stewart
City of residence: Granada
Name of company: Granada Insider
Date of company launch: March 2010
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going.
I set up a new English language magazine and website. This is nothing too original in Spain but to my surprise there was a big gap here in Granada for the supply of useful information in English.
Having now printed three issues, we are starting to get our name out there, and advertising is gradually building. The hardest part is still actually trying to get the relevant information each month in advance to inform people of what’s on.
What do you like about doing business in Spain?
First and foremost I like living here, Spain and the local people have a very different way of doing things. I am of the opinion that there is no point fighting, you just have to go with the flow.
One of the things that I like about working here is that I arrive at the office at 9:30 in the morning, take an hour for lunch and leave at about 8:30 in the evening and by doing this it seems like reasonable hours to me, I am actually putting a good three hours more work than the local business’s around.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in Spain?
Bureucracy, bureaucracy, bureaucracy, if everything was actually done to the letter of the law, nothing would ever get done.
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
As a foreigner in Spain, trying to set something up is difficult. It seems that it is only really foreigners who actually abide by all of the rules.
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
Well as our magazine needs business to advertise we are affected by local business in the tourist and hospitalities and in times of crisis, one of the first things that businesses cut is their marketing budget. I tend to see this as shortsighted, as I would not call it a crisis but rather a correction, it is time to weed the good businesses from the bad. It is an opportunity for those that are offering good value to their customers to increase their overall market share or their slice of the pie.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in Spain?
Just go for it. Find a good gestor that can advise you along the way. And wherever you are, try to make as many contacts as possible, the more people you know the easier things become.
How does running a business in Spain compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
Things are done in a different way here in Granada, you just got to find out how they are done and go with the flow.
In this new series of Expatica interviews, we invite expat entrepreneurs to share their experiences of setting up and running their businesses in Spain. If you too would like to share your perspective about starting a business, send an email with 'Please send me an Expat Entrepreneur in Spain questionnaire' in the subject line to editorES@expatica.com.
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