V.I.E: A program especially well-fitted for small businesses
Arnaud is business developer in North America for ORME, a French-based company specialized in signal and image processing software. This article is the second part of Arnaud’s feedback about the V.I.E program.
Read our first article to understand his full background: The V.I.E Program: a win-win situation for everyone.
In Arnaud’s opinion, not only small and medium companies (SMIs) are the best place to learn for a young professional, but the V.I.E contract is also the best international recruiting solution for an SMI. It is a nice first step in the international environment: “its’ a cost-efficient way to go abroad and test if your team is prepared for the international environment.” Plus, it has many benefits for the employees who are getting more challenged. An expansion means more business opportunities for the company, hence opportunities for the employees to evolve, learn a new language or take more responsibilities, just to cite a few. It is very motivating!
Tips for small businesses eligible to the program (registered in France)
Arnaud shares meaningful tips and tricks for small companies who may not a have a subsidiary to host a young professional abroad. The solution: ask a business partner or a customer to host your talent!
Being surrounded by locals makes it more comfortable for the young professional, who can be part of a community rather than isolated, and for the company who is assured that its new talent will have access to local support if needed. These settings enable the development of:
- trustworthy relationships between the young professional and the company’s partner or customer,
- stronger relationships with the local network and with the partner for the company (even if the young professional returns to France once the V.I.E contract is over).
Additionally, it helps both the company and the young professional to learn local and cultural best practices, which is essential for the development of the business. It is especially key in Quebec. The fact that people speak French in Montreal tends to blur the cultural gap between France and Canada. However, cultural differences remain, and it is essential to fully understand them to develop good customers relationships and services matching their needs.
Before taking the leap, it is fundamental to put oneself in the right mindset when planning to expand abroad. If not ready to change the way things are being done, or if planning on simply replicating French business process, the chances are that the expansion will fail. To succeed, a company must adapt to the new market and find compromises: bring the best it has to offer while matching it with the best the new country has to offer.
As a foreigner, you cannot impose different ways of working and expect people to comply. Especially in North America where there is a lot of competition. If you cannot find a way to adapt, a competitor will, and it will get the market. Customers might also react or do things differently: what works with one of them might not work with another one. Sometimes rules even vary between states or regions within the same country, and you must be ready for that.
His advice for business development would be to focus your energy on a target while remaining flexible. Studying the local market ahead and staying open are key to adapt the offer to the local market.
His last advice? Try and see. There is not much to lose as compared to all the benefits the company can get from the program. French structures are very well supported to recruit young professionals under V.I.E contracts (regional support, subventions), making the process even easier. So, what do you say: ready to take your chance?