Tips and advice for setting up your business in Spain

20 September 2017 0 Comments Category: Ali Meehan, Living in Spain


An increasing number of the people are leaving their own countries to run a business in Spain.  Many invest large sums and a lot of effort in trying to succeed at the dream of living and working in this wonderful country.  The Spanish dream is alive and well, many attain it and live amazing lives that would be the envy of those left in the cold.  Unfortunately, many have failed mostly through bad advice, lack of research, planning and preparation.  So what can you do?

Starting a business in another language in another country can bring its own challenges especially if you reduce your market to supply only English speakers.  Would your business “work” in Spain, or are there already similar businesses offering the same types of service so you need to be unique?   Do you have a business where you can earn your money outside Spain through tele-commuting.  What need are you meeting and what problems will you solve for your clients?

When I started Costa Women in Spain, I had no idea if it would “work” or not.  What I did know was that I was missing the essential connection point with other Women both in business and socially.  What I did know was the many networks are created but fall by the wayside because of the amount of time and energy needed to created, build a network and maintain consistency.  What I did know was, after much searching, I could find nothing like Costa Women in Spain already; a free space just for Women, to make friends, share their lives and businesses and grow their networks.

Tip – find the essential product, or service you can’t live without and create it into a business for you and others

One thing about Spain which surprises people when they move to Spain is the amount that people are using social media.  If you are thinking about starting a business in Spain, use the platforms to ask if your business would be of interest to people living here.  You can always create a survey to share and ask for feedback too.  Research any competitors and see what differential you can offer with what you want to launch.  Have you thought about working with your competitors too?  We are all unique and offer a different perspective.  Offer a complimentary product, or service.   

Tip – before launching your new business … ask for feedback – test, repeat, test

People ask me if I believe you still need to have a website – “yes” has to be my response as we don’t own the social media platforms and things could change overnight.  However, if you have an idea and want to see if it will fly, why not start with one profile, on one social media platform (preferably the one where most of your Clients hang out) and see if they also believe your product or service meets their needs.  Remember social media is supposed to be “social” so its not just about selling your business to the world, but more about adding value, helping others and creating content which is of interest.

Once you are ready to launch, where are the best places to share your content?  Not all your Clients will use all the social media platforms.  There is no point in your being on a platform if your Clients aren’t there either!  What gender are your Clients?  What’s your Customers age?  Is your product, or service going to appeal to any nationality or gender?  Don’t forget the Spanish market in your research.  Is your product or service pictorial?  Then instagram, or pinterest will be of interest.    

Tip – find out who, or where is your target market.  If they are on certain platforms then you need to be there too.

The fear is always, if I build it will they come?  If it meets a need and you understand your target market then what’s stopping you?

Back in 2010 Costa Women met a need of my own!  However, I didn’t know if other Women felt the same.  It appears they do as over 6000 Women have signed up for free to and started to connect as well as thousands of others who join us on social media platforms too.  Whilst Costa Women is solely for Women we do have over 60 different nationalities represented including Spanish Women!

Nothing beats meeting someone face to face.   Someone asked me the other day if people in Spain network differently?  Outside of the international communities in the large cities, the Spanish tend to have their own connections made up of friends and family.

Find out where your customers network and go there.  However, a one off meeting is very unlikely to make a Client.  It’s about consistency, adding value and asking how you can support their needs.  To find local networking groups most would have at least a business profile on social media, if not a group (or two) for their members to connect, share information and make new contacts. Or try  And when you have made new contacts don’t forget to ask your new contacts how they would like to stay connected.  Is it still via email, or via WhatsApp (which is widely used in Spain), or even Facebook messenger?  

Tip – Finding your contacts preferred way of connecting for future communications makes the initial contact so much easier.   Be consistent with your networking.

And finally, get legal.  Running a business is not as bureaucratic as it was in the past with the help a good Spanish accountant known as a Gestor.  You have choices between being self employed ‘autonomo’ or with a high turnover a Spanish S.L gives benefits.   

Tip – Get a good gestor and do it the legal way.  

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