The moment anyone begins speaking about France, you immediately begin to think about Paris, the Eiffel Tower, and maybe even baguettes. Of course, France is much more than that; it is a beautiful, highly developed country that in terms of technology and industrialization.
With this in mind, our Day Translations blog looks at how you can go about doing business in France as an outsider coming in.
An Overview of France
France is one of the largest countries geographically in Western Europe and has a population of over 65 million people. Naturally, their native language is French and it’s important to note that the natives do prefer to communicate in French. For them, French is a symbol of their culture that is highly regarded and treasured.
France has a very diverse population thanks to its very large immigrant population. With this in mind, there’s a plethora of different cultures and languages that come together to create a very diverse population within France.
France is part of the European Union (The EU) and is the second-largest economy in it. To take it a step further, France is the fifth-largest economy in the world.
It is also a major player in the world when it comes to export hubs and logistics networks.
The French are also very big on innovation in comparison to other countries and boast about having a very business-friendly environment.
The Business Culture of France
As a non-French and non-EU company coming in to do business in France, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration. For example, it’s important to know that the process of opening and registering a business in France can be a lengthy process and if you don’t have the patience to get through it, it may prove to be tedious for you.
By keeping this in mind, it will also prepare you to deal with their very complex and extensive labour laws. Be prepared for the possible high costs of employment when it comes to the payroll taxes you must pay.
The business environment of France is very formal and structured. Rank and hierarchy are taken very seriously within French society and you are expected to become familiar with the different ranks of your business counterparts and address them accordingly.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the local norms and the cultural differences as well. This will help you in making a good and lasting impression with the French locals.
The universal language for business throughout the world is English, but it is highly expected that you will learn and speak some French while operating there. It is considered rude if you refuse to speak or even attempt to learn and practice some French while there.
What to Focus on
It is best to focus on long-term business goals when doing business in France. This is the preferred focus for many French executives. The French pay very keen attention to rules and regulations. They have a very low tolerance for uncertainty and as such, they are very straightforward and logical in the way they do business. They question everything and are probing as they seek to erase any trace of ambiguity.
When it comes to making decisions or closing deals, the process may be slow because they love to discuss everything in detail to ensure that there is a clear understanding. The French are reluctant when it comes to taking risks.
Building relationships when it comes to doing business is important. The French take their time in getting to know you better before they venture into discussing business. Additionally, your appearance can indeed make or break you. Therefore, dress to impress by wearing high-quality, appropriate business attire. Be sure to not overdo it by being conservative and also being on time.
Finally, keep in mind that it’s always best to be polite and mindful of what you say. Naturally, the way in which you say something also matters a great deal. As stated before, the French are very big on rank and hierarchy within their society. They expect that you would have familiarized yourself with their norms and ways of doing things before coming to meet with them.
Doing business in France as an outsider is a great idea given the state of their economy. The country also boasts high levels of development that continuously take place. However, we don’t recommended that you go into business blindly.
It is best to hire and keep on hand an interpreter. Especially due to the fact that the French prefer when you speak French in their country. Of course, Day Translations does indeed offer interpreting services and you’re able to gain quick and easy access through our Day Interpreting app.
For further information and to learn more about our products and services visit the Day Translations website today.