Saturday, August 20, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
What does a biscuit, a banker and a Daily Mail reader have to do with Mastermind groups? | Blokes on the Blog
Spanish products and working with the Spanish
SPANISH PRODUCTS AND COMMODITIES - VALENCIAN ORANGES
For years I have tried hard to oppose the argument that everything in Spain occurs ‘mañana’. However, as time passes, I find this ever more difficult. Certainly, working with Spanish businesses can be difficult – with trying to obtain Spanish products, at times, an exasperating business!
The trouble is that Spanish businesses tend to work in a quite different way from those in the US and Northern Europe. With notable exceptions, efficiency (in my experience) is not high.
Telephone calls are frequently not replied to, documents are rarely read properly, e-mails disappear into some Spanish business ‘black hole’ and staff, when you finally reach them, are often notable for their lack of efficiency – despite occasional bursts of (very misleading) dynamism.
Meanwhile, the siesta (which continues all year and is de rigeur in provincial areas) militates against the working day being very productive in any consistent and logical way. There is then August to deal with – during which all business (apart from that surrounding the tourist industry in Spain) virtually ceases. This is despite the fact that the Southern Hemisphere is in winter and working hard, that the Far East and Middle East have virtually no holidays and North American workers rarely have more than a maximum of two weeks holiday a year!
Of course, there are some very effective businesses in Spain that do get their products and commodities into the market place effectively. To state otherwise would be absurd. However, finding these businesses can be hard work and nothing if not exasperating – and I state this, incidentally, as someone with some grasp of Spanish. Heaven help you – if you lack any Spanish at all…
So, what can you do if you want to conduct business in Spain and, more to the point, trade in Spanish products and commodities?
Well, I am afraid an anglicized ‘foot on the ground’ is certainly helpful, frankly. Firstly, you will almost certainly need someone who can locate what you want whether Spanish agricultural products, consumer goods or otherwise.
I mention this because many Spanish businesses have a very poor presence on the Internet. This means that perfectly good Spanish products (at often excellent prices) exist but with companies that you will probably never find. So, ridiculous as it may seem, you can simply miss out on dealing with a sizeable section of your target market and lose out on obtaining some very competitive Spanish products important to your sector.
Secondly, someone ‘on the ground’ can ensure that your queries and orders are dealt with efficiently – the way that you would expect them to be from a US or North European business. This can save you huge amounts of time and endless frustration.
Business, of course, is unrelenting and ruthless and the weakness of Spanish products has always been not their inherent quality but the poor marketing (and business conduct, to some extent) that has surrounded them.
Oddly enough, the Spanish are aware that their business and product marketing is generally poor and they grumble constantly about French and Italian wines, for example, being perceived as better than theirs – despite there being, in reality, little difference in quality.
However, perception is everything and Spanish businesses have done little to improve their marketing thus making Spanish products appear (if you can find them) poor versions of their Mediterranean cousins. Needless to say, this can work in the favour of any importer of Spanish products and commodities as he can (if he knows where to look) find competitively priced and good quality Spanish products being produced and sold by Spanish businesses – desperate to get into the international marketplace…
Nick Snelling – Culture Spain
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Monday, August 15, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Mr Nail meet Mr Head. Feral politicians and bankers run wild through the streets of Kensington.
"David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the entire British political class came together yesterday to denounce the rioters. They were of course right to say that the actions of these looters, arsonists and muggers were abhorrent and criminal, and that the police should be given more support.
But there was also something very phony and hypocritical about all the shock and outrage expressed in parliament. MPs spoke about the week’s dreadful events as if they were nothing to do with them."
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011
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