My name is David van Ineveld, I currently live in Ibiza and i run a Ibiza based business for three years and I’m the managing director of Sea Amigos. Sea Amigos is a professional luxurious charter company in the harbour of Santa Eulalia.
The Amigos group consists of Matt, Chris, Nick, Zoe, Chloe and me. A group of different people but all with one shared passion: Yachting on Ibiza.
We started Sea Amigos in 2014 but our first real season was that of summer 2015. Beyond expectations we had a very good season and to our fellow white island entrepreneurs we would like to share a few tips from which we believe helped us great.
It looks like I’m starting off kicking in a few open doors. Although my first few tips are so obvious not many people seem to adhere to it and therefore they are the easiest way to kickstart a successful company. They may also save you a lot of trouble in the future.
When you want to start your own company make sure you adhere to local regulation. Register your company and get all your papers inline. This will not only enable you to make use of public marketing tools it also enables you to work with other professional parties that require this as well.
On the other hand I also believe we owe it to local society to be official and pay our duties. We, for example, have our investment company registered in the UK and the management company in Spain. Because we are hosting commercial yacht charters on our own yachts we need to have all insurances in line.
Even our skippers have to have a commercial license. To achieve all this we worked together with a local gestoria and lawyer as well as our UK accountant and Lawyer and the Royal Yachting Association.
Another tip that can be achieved by anyone. The easiest thing to do is to answer all emails and phonecalls like you would do in your home country as well.
Although many people think that Spaniards are lazy I experienced this is not the case. Answering emails and acting accordingly is something that will be noticed quickly and will help you build a good reputation of an honest business. Something that will never harm you and can only help you!
Just do it. Although many people will get away with English because it is widely spoken I noticed that more doors open when you speak the local language.
The Spanish appreciate it when you speak their language or at least try to do your utmost best. It’s probably the same as in your home country.
It’s normal that you don’t speak Spanish in two weeks. You have to study for it and put in some real effort. It doesn’t come easy but it certainly brings a lot of benefits. Spanish is after all the third most spoken language in the world!
This is something I value the most. Be authentic in what you do and that means your business as well. For me it’s yachting and being outside in the nature and on the sea while people have the time of their life.
Sea Amigos is about that and that’s why it connects so personally. If, what you’re doing is really connected to you, you will be able to put in your passion and drive effortlessly and your clients will notice that. Your smile will be priceless and holidaymakers love to see a smile. Don’t we all !
Keep the client in mind
It sounds like common sense but in reality I see this go wrong at many businesses. Every company starts of great in May and June but once high season kicks in everybody is too busy making money and the client is often the victim.
In high season we get an enormous amount of yacht charter enquiries and dealing with that can be challenging especially when all our boats are sailing out as well that day. Try to maintain a high service level. Even during high season. Happy customers tend to come back in the future and although most of us are operating in the tourism industry we do see that Ibiza is a bit different when it comes to other holiday destinations.
The same people keep coming back, year after year, and if you have treated them well (even during high season) they probably get back to you as well. How to do this? That will bring us to our next tip.
Sea Amigos a true Ibiza business
If you want to maintain a high service level you cannot do it all. You have to maintain focus and define your playing field.
Decide what it is what you’re doing and stick to that. Ibiza is an Island that easily drags you into all sorts of activities, but doing too much will make you lose focus.
By losing focus your service level will deteriorate and you personal and client satisfaction as well. We don’t want this to happen!
Connect with the local community
Try to make local friends. By local friends I do not mean your fellow countryman who happen to live on Ibiza as well but real people from Ibiza. Born and raised. Trust me, they are really nice and you will learn a lot about the Island!
Connect with other businesses
This is one of the other benefits your business will thrive from when you are official and professional as well. You can cooperate with other businesses on Ibiza that complement your service or product. Build a network and put time and effort in it. It will certainly pay off during the season.
Be Selective about the businesses you work with
It is a follow up to our previous point and one that is very important. Be selective with who you work with. There are a lot of companies on the island with a poor idea to guest satisfaction.
You definitely don’t want to be associated with them. Your guests or customers often don’t see the difference between them and you if you referred them to it and therefore it may harm your brand or company.
It can also save you a lot of time when you work with healthy and professional companies and less things will go wrong. Time you can invest in your own company and guests!
Building a company takes time. Building a great company takes even more time. It pays to be patient. One of my philosophies about this is: In a world where everybody is in a rush, patience is a valuable asset.
Don’t try to beat it when things don’t go the way you planned. Relax, give it a thought. Sleep a night about it or go for a long hike. Or sail out in our situation J The attitude is important as well as we’ll see in our next point.
It sounds like a cliché but nonetheless it is true, and most of the time not easy at all. Things might get stressful in high season and things might not go the way you planned it but always try to stay positive and smile! You are working on Ibiza! You are living your dream!
Don’t forget that and keep working for it. In our situation it also keeps the boat floating right way up because positive people make less mistakes!
Respect the way things are going in Ibiza
We are guests to Ibiza and therefore I believe we should be humble and respect the local culture and status quo. There is nothing wrong with having a bold idea and trying to conquer the world (or Ibiza in this situation 😉 ), I love that attitude, but keep in mind that we remain guests.
Don’t be that foreigner who thinks he’s going to do it all. I have seen many enter Ibiza like this and also leaving. Broke. Be humble, be patient and take your time. If you do this I’m sure you will have your success one way or the other!
I hope these tips will help you in the future. If you have any question or comment you are always free to drop me a line! If you like to have your own luxurious yacht charter while being on Ibiza you know where to find us!