Tony Kauffer, Director of Megacall
Who are you and what is your business?
Megacall is the brand name for the products and services provided exclusively to businesses by Phoenix Solutions SL. I have lived in Spain for over 23 years; drawn to the country during a holiday by a beautiful young Spanish girl who became my wife only months after my arrival. Six years ago I met my Business Partner, Mark Bell, whose experience in the telecoms sector in the UK has made Phoenix Solutions provide a large spectrum of business solutions that can be sourced from our UK offices.
Phoenix Solutions has its offices in Malaga (Mijas Costa) with a multilingual team of young, enthusiastic professionals looking after our clients, coordinating with our providers, helping our clients with Telefonica issues that no one likes to do.
Where did the original idea come from?
After working with various telecomm companies I noticed a real lack of customer care. There was a real need here, particularly as this is a sector where the vast majority of our clients are sales orientated, little understanding of Spanish business ways and a poor command of the Spanish language. We set up a department that orders Telefonica lines, helps clients with Telefonica issues and gives ‘back-office’ support. Our policy is simple, if our clients’ lines are down we are too! This has worked very well for us and we are very proud to say we have a long list of very loyal clients.
How long did it take to get your business off the ground?
It was a quick process thanks to our long presence and reputation in Spain; the hardest part was to get the right staff and train them in a very complicated environment, but we did it.
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
We wished we started with pre-payment from day one; that possibly would have helped with early stage growth. When we made the decision to go pre-paid we were surprised that people loved the idea as they were able to really control their costs and staff movements—we provide a daily call report monitoring the service.
How easy was it gets the financing for your business?
Phoenix Solutions has no finance loans because our client’s pre-pay; which means it makes it a great business to run and is secure for all. We don’t have a large marketing budget as 75% of our clients are captured by word of mouth and the rest by distributors and agents. Metropolitan is one of the very few media channels we use to advertise which means fewer costs, which we can pass on to our clients.
Did you find the paperwork difficult?
I find all paper work difficult that’s why I have a team that do that for me
Did you get help from any particular official organisations or associations (e.g. Chambers of Commerce)? If so, please describe:
No. Like most industries it is important to nurture connections within and around one’s industry. I also think it is about being honourable in business; having a reputation of trust and genuineness.
What is your business experience / background / qualifications?
My background is corporate retail (Dixons/Currys) as their national sales manager; later moving on to becoming Sales Director of Prism Micro products PLC. After a spell in Andalucía, understanding how smaller business operate and running my own small business I joined Chequepoint Group which entailed running ‘new technology’ products and Calling Cards in the UK and Spain. It was the Calling Card business that drew me into telecomms where I have remained for the last 12 years; helping to launch companies like Teleforce/Midastelecom and Teleconnect SA.
What are the positive aspects about having a business here?
Quality of life, I think that says it all.
And the negative aspects?
I see no negative aspects as where ever you go it’s never a perfect world.
10. Are there any other useful contacts, tips or information you think would be useful to other foreign entrepreneurs in Barcelona? Please describe:
We may live in a multi-cultural world however, “when in Spain”! Just as there are ways of doing things in your native country, so there are ways of doing things abroad, which ever country you are in. I think that if I can offer one piece of advice, it would be to listen. Listen to what people are saying. You may not always agree however, appreciate that another person’s viewpoint comes from somewhere. Get to know Barcelona, it’s a beautiful place, rich in history and culture, all of which you need to immerse yourself in.