For anyone dreaming of their very own beachside bar in the Balearics, or perhaps a seafood restaurant in San Jose, there's plenty of things to consider before taking the plunge. Ibiza has drawn entrepreneurs and self-starters to its shores for many years, with the breathtaking scenery and laid-back lifestyle giving business owners the chance to balance work and pleasure in a way not found in other parts of the world.
However, for would-be business owners, it is all too tempting to fall into the "mañana" trap and let essential tasks fall by the wayside. Here then, we look at a few top tips that will help you start a business and keep your eye on the prize—despite the glorious sunshine outside.
Tourism in Ibiza is, unsurprisingly, the primary source of opportunity for new business owners. So, if you had a bleeding-edge tech project in mind, there are probably better places to incubate your startup. The key at the beginning is to be realistic about your chances of success on an island so that depends almost entirely on the tourist trade. Whether your business will focus directly on tourists, or you will work closely with other companies that do, you stand a much better chance of succeeding on the island if you tap into the pre-existing economy.
Get Some Advice
Both the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain and the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain can offer excellent advice on starting a business in Ibiza—providing support in English for those who haven't yet mastered Spanish. In particular, the American Chamber of Commerce has some excellent material to download from their website to get you started on your journey.
Make sure you apply for a Número de Identificación de Extranjero (NIE) as early as possible to ensure you are fully legal from the start. This number identifies you to the relevant tax authorities and is required for all transactions and procedures in Spain. You'll need your passport and proof of residence, and the process usually takes around 2-4 weeks.
Hire a Professional
Spanish bureaucracy is a law unto itself and navigating its idiosyncrasies can be a nightmare for the uninitiated. Perhaps the two most important people in your life, when you begin your journey, will be a lawyer and an accountant. Ideally, both should be fluent in both Spanish and English, and with some knowledge of the local business situation in your area.
Incorporate Your Company
Choose a name that's not already in use and register it at the Mercantile Registry. You will then receive a Negative Name Certificate that will allow you to apply for VAT (IVA) and a tax identification code (CIF). With this information, you can go on to open a company bank account and deposit any capital you might have. Finally, ask your lawyer to draw up the incorporation deeds and ensure they are signed in front of a notary.
Visit the Town Hall
Take a trip to your local town hall and inquire about any licenses you will need to operate legally. You should allow time for officials to make inspections that may be required for these to be granted. Additionally, businesses operating in Spain will require the following:
- Health and Safety Certificate
- Building License - if you plan to make any alterations to the premises
- First Occupation License - if it is a new location and you are the first to use the premises
- Food Handler's Certificate - for staff handling food
- Opening License
Last, but by no means least, you should make it a priority to learn Spanish and continue with your education even after the first flush of discovery. A working knowledge of the language will be invaluable during the process of setting up your business—and for as long as you continue to operate. It will also go some way to ingratiating yourself with the locals and making valuable friendships in your area.
Originally from Nottingham, England, Richard Lacey fell in love with the White Isle back in 1993. As the CEO of Coldwell Banker Ibiza, he is dedicated to providing customers with realty services that showcase the very best of Ibiza while balancing the needs of the island and its longstanding communities.