When starting a business in France, it is important to solidify your business idea, register it with the appropriate offices and find a support group. Be prepared for obstacles and be open to advice from other French business women.
Finding a job in France is getting even more difficult. The headlines in our local paper a few days ago stated that unemployment has risen again. This mixed with the fact that women in France are often paid less and find it harder to move up the ladder, it is tempting to create a business than to keep trying to search for the perfect job.
Here are some quick tips to getting started with your venture…
Solidify Your Business Idea
- Determine the need. Make sure that there is a definite need for your products or services. While this may seem obvious, getting hard numbers on the demographics and demand will prove useful in backing up your idea.
- Create a business plan. This is an often overlooked, but necessary part of starting a business. The business plan will outline your business, marketing and financing strategies. The business structure and financial projections will help you in determining which legal business structure you will register. These take time to create but it is well worth the effort. It is also usually required by banks if you would like to obtain financing.
Register the Business
- Categorize your main business activity. Certain businesses must report to a certain association, limiting which type of business legal structure it can quality. For instance, a writer
- Compare business legal structures. Not only compare the pros and cons, but also the tax implications of each business type. Most small businesses can benefit from starting out as an Auto-Entrepreneur business since it is quick and easy to register, as well as has no upfront costs. If your business takes off the ground, then it may be necessary later to change to a new business structure. The entrepriseindividuelle.info website has a useful calculator to compare taxes between business types.
- Ask for tax advice. Talk about your business idea and goals with at least 2 or 3 accountants, and maybe even a lawyer. Beware that some accountants will automatically tell you to register as a EURL because it is more profitable for them. Auto-Entrepreneurs and Entreprise Individuelle companies do not need a lawyer to review their numbers – so it is less beneficial for them.
- Talk to les Impôts. If you are unsure about any of the advice received from accountants or lawyers, it is best to go straight to France’s version of the IRS, les Impôts. They are very friendly and helpful, but if your business fits in a gray area of their set categories then ask for them to put their advice to you in writing. This would require you writing a formal letter to them with all your questions so that they respond back in writing.
- Register online or offline. Depending on the business type you choose, you may be able to register the business yourself online. For the corporation structures, it may be best (or required) to have an accountant register it for you.
- Discuss goals with friends and family. In France, it is difficult to find support when starting a business. It is important to have friends and family behind you and to motivate you throughout the process.
- Join a women’s business association. Participating in a network of women business owners in France can help you gain necessary support and knowledge to succeed in your venture. A popular association is the European Professional Women’s Network. They also have a list of other networks that you may be interested in joining.
I found an interesting article by the Riviera Times – Women doing it for themselves… Check it out, it provides more insight for women doing business in France and the usefulness of joining a women’s business association.
Are you a woman in France with your own business?
Please contact me for an interview for my French Mamma blog.
Image Credit: Rachel Strohm on Flickr.com