Interview with a local business: Coco Coffice coworking café Barcelona

What does it take to start a successful business in Barcelona? We ask coworking café Coco Coffice. This post is not sponsored (unless you count free cake :)).

Some of the most successful businesses I’ve known in Barcelona are importers of ideas – they take a concept that’s better known elsewhere and introduce it into the local climate.

Coco Coffice in Poble Sec is a strikingly successful example of this. Their business model -a café to work in Barcelona, where you can take your laptop and pay by the hours you stay there, not by consumption – is fairly novel here.

With a relaxed, calm atmosphere, speedy WiFi connexion, dedicated meeting room at the back, new people to connect with and plenty of delicious cake, Coco Coffice is a great spot for any freelancers looking for somewhere to take their laptop to a café and do some work!

Coco Coffice coworking café in Barcelona: a successful business and a great café with WiFi

I interviewed Axel and Carole, the couple behind Coco Coffice coworking café, to ask about their experience of setting up a business in Barcelona. Read on!

  1. Setting up a business in Barcelona. How was it?
    It all happened quite quickly. We had the idea in the beginning of 2016, and then a month or so later we’d already found somewhere to set up in business in Poble Sec. The first summer was quite slow as we were still building our reputation  (also, not many people are looking to take their laptop to a café with WiFi and get work done in summer!) – but then business picked up and things are now going very well.
    Both of us had already worked as self-employed in Spain for over ten years, so we were quite used to running a business here.
  2. Did anything surprise you?
    How long it took for people to get their heads around the concept of a coworking café. We had to do a lot of explaining!
  3. The boring bit: how do you pay your tax? How did you obtain licences for starting business activity, doing reforms, selling food and drink, etc.?
    The building company who reformed the venue for us organised the licences. We also have an accountant who takes care of the tax side of things. She’s really strict and keeps us in line!
  4. What’s starting a business in Barcelona like?
    Working freelance in Barcelona is quite expensive, but there are tonnes of opportunities in the city. It’s becoming quite a hotspot for digital nomads. People working in cafés with WiFi in Barcelona are not an uncommon sight these days! Things are also picking up again now after the crisis.
  5. What made you successful?
    We’re constantly adapting to what customers want. When we started, we had no idea which aspects of our business would be the most successful and some of this was quite surprising. Listening to what people ask for and finding a way to offer this is a great way to stay in business.
  6. What advice would you give to someone starting up a business in Barcelona?
    Invest a lot of energy into making contacts. Events like MeetUps are great for connecting with people and an excellent source of information. Also, you need to be patient. We tend to expect everything to happen instantly, but sometimes things can take a while to kick off.

On top of Carole and Axel’s recommendations, I’d add that it was very obvious that the Coco Coffice have really managed to create a sense of community. This isn’t just a café with WiFi in Barcelona; it’s also somewhere freelancers can meet and share ideas and projects. As they said “we’ve adopted a lot of the people who come here into our own network”. As much as the coffee and cake, I’m sure this will keep them in business. I wish them every success in the future.

Does your business have a story to tell? If you think the freelancers, self-employed and owner/managers who read this blog would be interested, do get in touch.

Images contributed by Coco Coffice coworking café.

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