1. Where did the original idea come from?
Fletcher Consultancy has been trading in the UK for 20 years and is now expanding into Europe. We responded to requests to provide work based training and skills development with improvement of English language in a working context. This has added value, improving work skills and language skills at the same time.
2. How long did it take to get your business off the ground?
The company has increased turnover year on year since its incorporation in the UK. The first five years were the hardest. Coming into Europe has taken about 2 years of promotion and contact building.
3. What do you wish you’d known when you started?
How much tax the Government wants from small businesses in the UK and more about how learning and development works in Spain.
4. How easy was it get the financing for your business?
The company has never had financing. We have always worked on cash flow, generating work. We have never had a loan or an overdraft in our 20 year history
5. Did you find the bureacracy diffícult?
No we had professional support to set up the business and to deal with the external requirements for the UK. Setting up in Europe was more difficult, needing to learn laws and provide information about the company.
6. Did you get help from any particular official organisations or associations (e.g. Chambers of Commerce)?
We are members of the Chamber of Commerce and have also used specialists for things such as health and safety, data protection requirements etc.
7. What is your business experience / background / qualifications?
I started the business 20 years ago having worked in training and development and as national project manager for Government training. My specialist area is competence based systems development and implementation, but I started in management and employee development. I have worked around the world at international, national and organisational level with clients in virtually all sectors of business.
8. What are the positive aspects about having a business here?
Expanding into Europe is an exciting prospect for us. We have worked in America and the Pacific Rim. Working in different cultures is a learning experience in itself.
9. And the negative aspects?
Although I enjoy learning languages, it is difficult at times to deal with different dialects and I get frustrated with myself that I don’t learn faster.
10. Are there any other useful contacts, tips or information you think would be useful to other foreign entrepreneurs in Barcelona?
It is important to do your research and understand the culture and market before starting. I spent a lot of time just meeting/talking with people and searching information.