Concha Mayo: Creategy Consulting + Textolia.net
Lots of creativity, highly effective written communication skills, a degree in business and a strong entrepreneurial character… these are some of the traits of this Catalan business consultant. Concha Mayo was born in Barcelona and moved to the UK for a while. Since she’s been back from her international experience, she has created three companies. Two of them, Creategy Consulting and TEXTOLIA.net were conceived to provide marketing ideas and communication tools to other companies.
1. Where did the original idea come from? Creategy Consulting happened as the result of mixing our creativity with a business degree in marketing management and a common vision: to help small business and entrepreneurs, to develop their businesses and improve their profit margin, sharing with them our business experience, our marketing knowledge and our creativity. Not all entrepreneurs and small companies have had the opportunity for a business education, therefore, their companies are the result of running a vocational activity, rather than a planned business venture that can guarantee their earnings. However, our market is very competitive and having a skill or a vocation is not enough to run a successful business and the majority of them struggle along the way.
We believe that only good business practices and creativity can provide solutions to the market to help us find a way out of the current crisis scenario. Until not so long ago, most of the businesses operating in Spain did not have the need to sell in a proactive manner. They were just there, waiting for the customers to come in and buy from them. But this is not happening anymore. The new customers have changed, now they can choose who to buy from, and they really appreciate being spoiled.
We help our customers to grow their businesses by enhancing the differences between them and their competitors. How? By creating a successful brand, understanding the market dynamics, creating a marketing strategy (on & off line) and communicating effectively with the target market.
In fact, this need to communicate brought us one step further, and we later created TEXTOLIA.net whose primary activity is to provide written communication for businesses (in Castilian and Catalan). We are highly informed about the subject matters we write about, as well as the required writing techniques for each case. Combine these two abilities with our natural creativity and you will find the reason why we can generate high quality content for webs, brochures, blogs...
2. How long did it take to get your business off the ground? It always takes longer than you expect and hope. It was crucial for Creategy Consulting as well as for TEXTOLIA.net to have the support and collaboration of other entrepreneurs working as a network, providing more fields of expertise and a great jumping board to grow ideas for our customers as well as ourselves.
3. What do you wish you’d known when you started? You never realise how little you know your market until you start working with it. No matter how many previous business reports you have read or market studies you have done, real life is usually a bit more complex than a business plan. Planning ahead is important, as well as having a clear vision of where to go and how. However, our current context is changing very fast and having a plan is not enough. You need to have a flexible management approach and structure. In order to survive, companies need to develop management skills to better cope with change, they need to learn how to deal with unexpected issues and opportunities that will come up along the way as they try to reach their goals.
4. How easy was it to get the financing for your business? Consultancy doesn’t require great investments nor the purchase of complex equipment, machinery or installations. Our biggest investment was time; all the time required to analyse, plan, understand our target customers and their needs and, furthermore, to find the right partners for us and our customers.
5. Did you find the paperwork difficult? One of the things we have learned from our previous entrepreneurial experiences is that it is best to leave paperwork to an expert. And, luckily enough, we have a lawyer within our team who has handled everything and has given us specific advice every step of the way. He has done a pretty good job so far and his company is still handling our finances, taxes and all related work on a monthly basis. That way we can better focus our time and efforts doing only the things we do best and no one else can.
One of the major mistakes small business owners make is to try to do everything themselves. There’s no way you are going to do things as well as an expert in a given field. If you consider the hassle, the time you spend and the high probability of making a mistake (sometimes with legal consequences and penalties), it is 10 times worth the small fee you pay for a legal adviser. You save money in the long term.
6. Did you get help from any particular official organisations or associations (e.g. Chambers of Commerce)? If so, please describe Barcelona has a few interesting organisations like Barcelona Activa or Cambra de Comerç where they give you advice and highlights of business knowledge. However, as a marketing consultant, I think it is not possible to learn how to run a business from a course lasting a few hours, nor how to do a business or a marketing plan... Business consultants and lawyers have studied for many years and have been working with real companies, seeing loads of different case scenarios and can help us to foresee the different issues a company can face over time. However, getting help from these organisations will help entrepreneurs to understand a bit better what their company needs, and therefore they will become more capable of hiring the right expert to do it for them on a professional basis.
7. What is your business experience / background / qualifications? I have a Masters in Marketing Management (Eada Business School) and I am a vocational writer (have been since I can remember). At Creategy Consulting we collaborate with a lawyer in practice, who is also Managing Director at a tax and accounting firm with offices in Barcelona and Madrid, and we work with another professional with a degree in Business Studies and a Master in Business Administration (MBA from Esade Business School) who also manages a consulting firm. Having the best professionals on board is a guarantee of quality and professionalism for our customers.
At TEXTOLIA.net our priority has been to find good writers (we have specialists in several languages) but also professionals with business experience and knowledge. Thanks to that, we can provide high quality texts, both in contents and layout.
8. What are the positive aspects about having a business here? On a personal basis, it’s clear: being close to my family and friends. As a business consultant, it’s a pro knowing other cultures, languages and having international experience... That helps me to act as a bridge between the market in which we operate and new foreign companies planning to settle down or expand here.
9. And the negative aspects? Catalunya, in particular Barcelona, is a very competitive market. We cannot forget either the difficult situation Europe is going through, especially in the South. However the good news is that we can still improve the way in which we do business here. So I am optimistic about the opportunities for new, well planned businesses. We believe there is always room for good ideas that are well thought out, and with the appropriate action plan.
10. Are there any other useful contacts, tips or information you think would be useful to other foreign entrepreneurs in Barcelona? The main one would be: “Do not try to do everything yourself.” Asking for help and working in networks could make your life much easier and your business more profitable. A competitive scenario requires accurate solutions and not just an approach; therefore I would recommend you get help from a business expert and make sure he/she’s got the right credentials.