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Pro Blanco Teeth Whitening
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Jeremy Cormican, US, owner of Pro Blanco Teeth Whitening
Who are you?
Hello! My name is Jeremy Cormican and I’m originally from Denver Colorado in the United States. I’ve lived in Barcelona for four years now, aside from living in other parts of Spain. I left the States to try and live in Spain so I could travel Europe and get a sense for something different other than the American mentality of ‘bigger is better’. I left a fairly comfortable life behind and some thought I was crazy, but others applauded my adventurous endeavour. Fortunately things have worked out so far and I couldn’t imagine what else I would’ve been doing the past five years.
I owned an events company in Barcelona for three years but since then have decided to try other opportunities. I’ve done a wide range of things in my life from driving large machinery as a kid in my father’s company to working as a prison guard for five years, from search and rescue scuba diving to financial planning and owning a mortgage company for seven years.
What is your business?
My current business endeavour is Pro Blanco Teeth Whitening. Pro Blanco provides the same whitening/bleaching process and materials that the dentists use but with a cheaper price and greater service. We only focus on the whitening procedures and nothing else, thus reducing overhead costs of a typical dental clinic so we can pass on the savings to you! My goal is to make whitening affordable for everyone because our smiles play a tremendous role in our daily life. Nobody likes to see stained, dirty teeth. Studies have proven a whiter smile denotes youthfulness and helps promote our social, even business status.
Where did the business idea come from?
Pro Blanco and teeth whitening came from realising there is a market that is large and not fully integrated. I had my teeth whitened back in the States seven years ago where it’s quite popular and I had two friends mention to me in the matter of a couple weeks how they were interested in having their teeth whitened but it was costing €400-600. When the second friend made the comment, the idea clicked in my head. I would open a teeth whitening store that offers the exact same professional products as dentists but at a cheaper cost. I would hire hygienists to do the procedures and only focus on the whitening treatments. Surrounded by people smoking, drinking coffee and wine along with poor preventative dentistry it made sense. I see people spending small fortunes on clothes, hair styles, makeup, hair removal, diets etc. all focused on their appearance yet our smile is one of the first things we notice. Maybe you have a great physical appearance but who wants to kiss a dirty looking mouth?
How long did it take to get your business off the ground?
Starting a business in Spain will test your patience. It has taken one month to get my Sociedad Limitada papers from start to finish and in my opinion this is not how long it should take for a small business to get started. I am continually amazed at the slow process and procedures here in Spain. I would highly recommend talking with Barcelona Activa and utilising their services. After sitting through a two-hour introductory session you can then gain access to a lot of free and informative information.
How easy was it getting the financing for your business?
Financing to get Pro Blanco started has come from the bank of Jeremy. The first store will open on May 2nd (2011) and if everything goes well then I might look into obtaining a loan to expand quickly into other markets. I would rather do business without financing but at some point it becomes necessary if you have an aggressive outlook, solid plan and calculated your risk.
What are the positive aspects about having a business here?
Mine is that of a love/hate relationship. It’s the same for me with the United States as well. There are things I love and things I hate, but it’s hard to beat the strategic location of Barcelona. The weather helps keep my mood and outlook positive which is important when being your own boss. There are several networking events held weekly to meet other entrepreneurs or possible business contacts. This is important to spread word of your business or kick around ideas that others can chime in on. I always walk away with some small bit of useful information or potential client.
And the negative aspects?
From my past business here in Spain and looking at the success of others, if you have patience with the slow systems in place then you can find ways to provide needed services and put some money in your own pocket. Barcelona is such a well located city with ample opportunities waiting to be tapped into. It’s obvious the bureaucratic system and service levels needs an overhaul but hopefully that will come in due time. In the meantime I see possibilities for business in that cloud of transition and lack of customer service.
Did you find the paperwork difficult?
I’ve tried to do some of the paperwork on my own but quickly realised I’m better off doing without the frustration. My time is better spent focusing on my strengths and what I do best. It’s important to find the right people to delegate your weaknesses to. The systems in place here are not easy to navigate and if anyone says it’s easy, they are lying or filing paperwork is what they get paid to do.
Are there any other useful contacts, tips or information you think would be useful to other foreign entrepreneurs in Barcelona? Please describe
Go to Barelona Activa first to gain access to their information. They have English-speaking consultants to work with. If you have a business plan, they will look it over and help you adjust it if need be depending on what your objectives are. Even if you don’t have a business plan they have the materials to get you started. They can recommend lawyers, notaries, banks for financing and, if you’re up for it, all the information to do the entire process yourself. Barcelona has plenty of opportunities waiting to be unleashed if you have patience and persistence. If you need a whiter smile to help impress the financier or impress your clientele, Pro Blanco teeth whitening will certainly increase your chances of success.