One of the most exciting aspects of running a growing clinical-research company is also one of the most daunting: at some point—whether you are a pharma or biotech company, CRO or specialty supplier— you may need to go global. If you want to ensure continuous business growth and secure access to new clients, there’s no way around it; companies involved in clinical trials must have a footprint on more than one continent.
Many choose Europe. Reaching out to potential European clients from your home turf is a good start (sending your marketing team and sales managers over for a whirlwind tour), but you’ll get more results by investing in something more permanent. For one, if you’re running a clinical trial in the EU, you’ll need the find the best partners to work with. You need a local presence to establish this kind of network. In our experience, companies know this and want to expand. Many we speak to are already considering opening an office in the EU, but they hesitate go through with establishing that intercontinental infrastructure.
Why? At Seuss, we have a lot of conversations with pharma, biotech and CRO companies all over the world, also helping many of them set up their EU operations. We hear the same creeping doubts voiced again and again. However, we’ve also seen company after company turn those potential “problems” into advantages. Let us let you in on their secrets to success, one potential objection at a time.
We generally expect the most successful companies to be the first to make the leap to a new location. The problem is, they often don’t feel like they have the time to devote to such a big endeavor. They’re too busy being successful in their current situation!
Of course, this kind of success is great news for the company. And we do understand this objection: the organization needs to keep the business running and stable, leaving limited time and cash flow for the needed expansion. But to stay a successful business, you always need to be building your global pipeline for the future and expanding your offering to meet the industry’s quickly changing demands. Not to mention that, by sitting out, you’re weakening your position with global clients, who are usually better served by more international experience and networks.
The solution? Take baby steps—you don’t have to jump into the deep end all at once! Wade in with a little market research to find out whether there’s demand among your existing and potential clients for more local representation and experience. Don’t forget to look at the taxes and regulations of your potential European locations as well—some countries (like the Netherlands and Ireland) offer attractive incentives that can ease your path to local integration (and boost your bottom line).
Too Few European Clients
Which brings us to the next common objection: what if you don’t have any EU partners or clients yet? It can be a little scary going in without an established local client network. The thing is, as we just discussed above, you’re going to have a hard time building that network unless you take that (yes, slightly scary) leap. Increasingly, global diversity is the key to success, and it’s nigh impossible (not to mention costly) to compete with a company with a local presence if you yourself don’t have one. The sooner you get started building one, the sooner you’ll start reaping the brand and bottom-line benefits.
Existing European Clients
Maybe you do have some EU clients or connections. Or feel confident that you can land them without a local office. Again, yay for any business success you’ve already built! Great if you’ve been able to pick up some European clients already. But ask yourself: how well are you serving them now? If you’re truly honest, is there perhaps another company already represented in the EU that might be able to serve them more efficiently and cost effectively, with more local expertise? Your clients will do the math sooner or later too. Whether it’s a full office, a handful of staff members, or some well-situated consultants, providing a local point of contact to these existing EU clients will show them that you are serious about their business…not to mention help you pick up some more business.
The EU may not be as geographically big as, say, the US, but culturally it’s vast and varied, with each country having its own rules and regulations. On top of this, there are persistent myths about Continental career life in general that could give any sound-minded manager pause. It’s only natural that you have questions—that’s just good business sense! Luckily, experts like Seuss Consulting can provide the answers, from the expectations of local employees to the pros and cons of setting up shop in one country vs. another. Ask away!
Size Doesn’t Matter
Finally, the last most commonly heard excuse at Seuss to put off expanding: “We’re too small.” To that we say, “Well, what’s your plan to grow?” If growing through global opportunities sounds appealing to you, then it might just be worth looking a little deeper into the EU proposition.
Interesting note: In all of our conversations, no one expressed cost as a concern! Though it is an investment, setting up an office in the EU doesn’t have to be expensive. Lean more here and contact Seuss Consulting for more details.