Success tips when doing business in France in 2024

Business culture in France

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. While working in France, it is important to always make an appointment as walk-ins are not be well received;
  4. The French proverb “Punctuality is the politeness of princes” illustrates that being on time for a business meeting is an imperative in that country;
  5. Our Client must conduct their own due diligence prior to a meeting. Also, people must be addressed by professional titles unless specifically asked otherwise;
  6. 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;
  7. 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;
  8. 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;
  9. 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;
  10. During social bonding events, the highest ranking executive is expected to pay the bill on behalf his employees;
  11. France corporate culture has a deeply entrenched and rigid hierarchy. Respect for seniors is the only way to be successful;
  12. 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;
  13. 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.

Interesting facts about France?

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. French fries are actually considered by the French as being a specialty from Belgium;
  7. French is spoken by a population recorded at approximatively 220 million, 60% of which do not live in Europe;
  8. The French are the biggest consumers of medicine in Europe and the 2nd in the world, just after the Americans;
  9. France is the 2nd most profitable market for McDonalds’, which often use the country to test new products and marketing techniques;
  10. 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;
  11. 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.

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in France, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Simon Guidecoq, directly:
client relationship officer - Simon
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