I got into a conversation with a friend while I was in France. We were planning our next day’s activities and without any strong plans, I thought we should put up a lemonade stand out in front of the house. He said we couldn’t do that. I found that a bit odd.
That led into a hour-long conversation about business in France and US. The idea of the lemonade stand or the neighborhood kid mowing someone’s lawn is completely foreign. That really made me wonder what was so different.
Here are a couple of things:
- All businesses need to go through some 20+ step governmental process before you can begin operating.
- The average person doesn’t have the means of starting their own enterprise. That leaves banks as a main source of capital. Banks show a similar rigor in the approval process as those in the States.
- There isn’t bankruptcy protection in France. If your business fails, the owner is personally responsible for the debt and will spend the rest of their life repaying it, if need be.
So, its hard to set-up, it is difficult to raise capital, and failure means a lifetime of repayment.
Laws and regulations do make a difference. I think we take for granted the entrepreneurial climate that exists in the U.S.