Tenerife business advice

The vast majority of foreigners who set up business in Tenerife do so with no experience of running a business in their own countries. The desire to live in this wonderful climate is so great yet so many of those Tenerife ‘wannabees’ have no skills that are in demand here. If you don’t speak the language (we Brits are notorious for not learning languages) and don’t have a skill that’s in demand what can you do to enable a life in the sun? Offer almost any man the chance to run a bar in Tenerife and he’ll snatch your hand off. ”I can pull pints and the wife can cook so there’s our solution to living in Tenerife”.

On a more serious note there are hundreds of businesses in Tenerife that are owned by foreigners and they cover a multitude of activities. For every 15 successful businesses in Tenerife there have been 85 failures. Yes astonishing figures but its true, the failure rate for new businesses in Tenerife is over 84% As with any country the biggest single factor is under capitalization, to put it simply there wasn’t enough cash in the bank after buying the business or paying the setting up costs.

As a business owner with over 22 years of experience of Tenerife the best single piece of advice that I can give to any budding entrepreneur is to learn Spanish. Yes, there are people running businesses here who don’t speak Spanish but they are in a tiny minority. Booking yourself into evening classes will not suffice, in a couple of years of evening classes you’ll only actually study for about 70 hours and that’s at the pace of the slowest person in the class. A week of intensive study will teach you more! Books, tapes, CDs and online courses are available in their hundreds, if you’re serious about owning a business in Tenerife intensive study is a must. Finding Spanish speakers in your home town and befriending them is a great way to improve your Spanish.

Running a business in Tenerife without speaking the language will cost you money, every time that you have to deal with officialdom (that’s a lot here in Tenerife) you’ll have to pay for a translator to come with you and that’s not cheap.

My second piece of advice would be to seek out the owners of successful businesses and try to persuade them (an invitation to a good dinner is one way) to give their opinion on your business plan. Remember if the advice they give isn’t what you wanted to hear it’s not aimed at ruining your dream but to answer the question “Is my business idea viable in Tenerife?”