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Updated: 16-07-2010

The Three Fs of Running a Business in Tenerife

Everyone who has worked or run a business in Tenerife is well aware of the word, “Mañana”. It is used in all sorts of contexts, but the result is always the same: delays.


Delays can easily spiral out of control. A builder showed up late to build a wall for you new ladies loo. The three basins you ordered didn’t arrive so although the plumber showed up on time, he had nothing to do. The electrician also turned up on time, as did the plasterer, but as the wall wasn’t built they went on to the next jobs they had to do. Who knows when they might come back. Mañana? Your business is closed, waiting for the renovations. Every minute is costing you money.


Faced with these sorts of delays, the first word on a business owner’s lips may begin with ‘F’, but it will be too little, too late. In order to beat the mañana culture, a Tenerife businessman needs three ‘F’s before he even starts his enterprise.



You may not have a crystal ball, but some foresight in your planning will take the edge off many of the delays that might snowball into disasters. Foresight means predicting what might go wrong and trying to avoid it. For example, it means having alternative tradesmen to call on when one lets you down and getting your wall built on time!



Flexibility is one of the most important traits you will need when you run a business in Tenerife. Plan A is rarely the end result, and you may need to skip to plans B, C, D and further with some agility. Flexibility means finding alternatives, adapting and re-inventing. Your basins may not have arrived so you’ll have to find others that are available immediately and change your design to accommodate.



You are going to need fortitude and determination to see your project through and ensure your business opens on time. Many business owners fall in to the Tenerife mañana trap and never recover. After all, the sun is shining and the sky is blue... what’s the hurry? It’s so easy to be lured into a sense of complacency. The problem is, your bank balance does not operate under the same principles.


For those entrepreneurs who have the foresight, flexibility and fortitude to run a successful business in Tenerife, it is a satisfying and rewarding experience. For those without, then there is a fourth ‘F’ that is more likely to be prevalent in their vocabulary.

By Irina Saltmarsh

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