Success tips when doing business in France
- It is important that our Client prepares a comprehensive business plan detailing i) study of the French market ii) an evaluation of competitors and iii) a feasibility study of the venture;
- The Client should try and learn French because English is not commonly used in France and may be frowned upon by some costumers and business partners. It is also important to maintain a website in French;
- While working in France, it is important to always make an appointment as walk-ins are not be well received;
- The French proverb “Punctuality is the politeness of princes” illustrates that being on time for a business meeting is an imperative in that country;
- Our Client must conduct their own due diligence prior to a meeting. Also, people must be addressed by professional titles unless specifically asked otherwise;
- A strict dress code needs to be maintained at all times. Dresses must be formal, but certainly not showy as it would be considered as arriviste and “new rich” by French business partners;
- In French business culture, it is important to form social bonds with your business partners, be it Clients or suppliers. An invitation for coffee or lunch will not been seen as intrusive and is likely to be agreed upon by a business partner;
- Our Clients should be aware that the business culture is still fairly patriarchal in France: questions on ability to balance family and work are more likely to be asked to women entrepreneurs than to men;
- Public displays of faith are not well regarded in France’s secular society. Even wearing religious clothing such as a veil, a large cross necklace or another religious apparel may be discouraged in some business circles;
- During social bonding events, the highest ranking executive is expected to pay the bill on behalf his employees;
- France corporate culture has a deeply entrenched and rigid hierarchy. Respect for seniors is the only way to be successful;
- France corporate culture assigns great importance to tertiary degrees and most top executives in largest companies are coming from top government graduate schools (Grandes Ecoles), thereby forming a close business network;
- Lastly, it is important that the Client communicate with us regarding any problems that they face. Our experts regularly help young businesses succeed in foreign countries.
Did you know about France?
- France is the 5th largest economy in the world with a GDP of over €2.6 billion in 2013. Its population boasts the 20th highest income in the world, averaging €33,000;
- Ayam Brand, a household name in Southeast Asia for canned products, has been founded in 1892 in Singapore by a Frenchman, Alfred Clouet. The “ayam” (chicken in Malay) is actually a rooster, one of France’s national emblems;
- France is one of the six countries which found the European Union (then called the European Economic Community) in 1957, along with Italy, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands;
- The French regulation banning emails to employees after 6pm is an internet myth, based on a misinterpretation of a collective agreement clause only prevailing in the IT sector;
- Recorded at over 11 million km2, France’s territorial waters are the world 2nd largest just after the United States’. Most of this area is related to overseas departments and dependent territories of the Pacific Ocean;
- French fries are actually considered by the French as being a specialty from Belgium;
- French is spoken by a population recorded at approximatively 220 million, 60% of which do not live in Europe;
- The French are the biggest consumers of medicine in Europe and the 2nd in the world, just after the Americans;
- France is the 2nd most profitable market for McDonalds’, which often use the country to test new products and marketing techniques;
- With 44 million hectoliters in 2013, France is actually not the world’s 1st producer of wine, as larger quantities are produced by Italy. It however boasts hundreds of different brands, classified by main wine producing regions;
- French people greet by cheek-kissing each other, in-between women and between women and men. The number of kisses varies between one and four according to region. Still, a handshake is considered as more proper between men and in formal situations.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to incorporate a French company?Setting up a French company can be completed in about three weeks.
How difficult is it to open a corporate bank account for a French company?It is very easy to open a corporate bank account with a reputable international bank in the France.
Am I required to visit France to incorporate a company there?No. Healy Consultants can legally incorporate your France company without you needing to travel.
What is the minimum number of directors required for a French company?A French company needs a minimum of one director.
Is a resident director required?A director is not required to be a resident in France.
What is the minimum number of shareholders required for a French company?A French limited liability company (SARL) requires a minimum of one shareholder.
Are shareholder/director details available for public viewing?Yes, a register of directors and shareholders is available for public viewing.
What are the minimum capital requirements for a French company?A minimum capital of 37,000 Euros (approximately US$46,582) is required for the formation of a SA (société anonyme), whereas the minimum capital requirement for a limited liability company (SARL) is 1 € (US$1.27).
Is a French company required to submit an annual return and/or financial statements?A French company is obliged to submit an annual tax returns and audited financial statements.
How much tax does a French company pay?A French company is liable to pay a profits tax of 33.33%.
Does a French company need to register for VAT?A French company is required to register for VAT, which the standard rate is currently 19.6%.