Lutz, FL, October 16, 2020 --(PR.com
)-- Pharmaceutical consulting companies assist drug manufacturers remain in or get back into compliance with FDA regulations. On October 01, FD-AID, LLC Pharmaceutical Consulting celebrated its 1-year anniversary. In a market dominated by huge consulting agencies, this start-up (initially) home-based company has defied the odds and established a presence in three countries. FD-AID, LLC Pharma Consulting President, DeVaughn Edwards recently discussed the challenges of starting a business with such immense competition plus the complexity of starting during a pandemic. Here's what he had to say.
DE: First, I would like to express my appreciation to all of our clients that gave us the opportunity to prove how we could provide a better service and product and most importantly, help them succeed.
Q: Well, it looks like you have accomplished a lot in a year. How did you come up with your company name?
DE: (laughs) I just thought it was clever. When you combine FDA and aid - that summarizes what we do.
Q: Why do you think FD-AID was able to come, I guess, out of the gate with a success story?
DE: Well, we were fortunate to have clients that were willing to try a start-up to resolve some of their regulatory and compliance issues. To a small degree, we relied on experience with larger consulting companies to have an impact. For the most part, their business models are similar so client experience and satisfaction are also common. Expensive marketing campaigns, overwhelming cost/fee structure and scare tactics to upsell the clients to expand their projects are very common. Their main focus is on prolonging projects. Their philosophy is ‘the longer we stay, the more they pay.’ I knew that all we needed was a foot in the door and we could be successful by focusing on providing the best product that the client has ever received and at the best cost-for-service. We placed our focus on making sure the client’s problems were resolved in a way nobody else had committed to and that they wanted to work with us again. We want to see safe drugs in the market place because we all depend on them. Since we were small, we made sure to develop relationships. Each client is an extension of our family. We genuinely want success for them and that is a sincere emotion with FD-AID.
Q: Anything else that distinguished your brand?
DE: If there is an edge, I guess it would be the balanced experience between having been an FDA Investigator and a pharmaceutical executive. I understand what each side needs and have been tested under some tough conditions on both sides. Most of larger agencies are run by people that have not spent any time at all in an FDA office. They are limited to boardroom experience or they are salespeople with quotas that they must meet. That experience or lack of experience shows as an indicator when the client’s problems are not resolved or they get another visit from FDA.
Q: What was the most challenging part about starting your company?
DE: There were many challenges. As you know, with any business there is always going to be a learning curve whether you are new to the industry or not. You quickly learn that there are incredible people and incredible companies out there who want you to succeed and will give you a shot. You may also find out quickly that those who you were anticipating being in your corner dissipate. But, in the long run, that is a good thing.
Q: Was that your experience? I would think that would be disappointing. What made it a good thing?
DE: Well, it is a matter of perception. FD-AID was able to attract winning companies and have had measurable success getting them to the next level. Sure, there were some former associates that may have disappointed us but it was beneficial to know who would stand with you when you need them. It is like a filter for who should not be in your orbit. I just used it for what good could come of it and incorporated that into our corporate culture. We will stand with our clients in their darkest moments and get through it together with them. If evening, weekend or holiday meetings or projects need to be handled, we are there.
Q: So, what other challenges did you have getting off the ground?
DE: Probably the obvious – the situation with the pandemic. This environment limits the face-to-face client interaction. Not having that interaction was a culture change – replacing an in-person conversation with Zoom or Microsoft Team meetings. But a lot of the work in the consulting space is auditing. Having to convert to virtual audits was not a simple process. We just had to make it work. We have completed audits in various countries and identified a ton of areas for improvement.
Q: Any advice for entrepreneurs that are where you were a year ago?
DE: Sure, I’m a religious person but I will try to keep it general: create a game plan, work your game plan, be encouraged and don’t allow setbacks to break your spirit. Everything imaginable happened when we started. Cars broke down, various bills popped up depleting capital, you name it. I was even in China right before the pandemic trying to get things going and it was a disaster story all on its own. This is what stops most people from being successful. It gets overwhelming and they give up. Don’t give up.
DeVaughn Edwards is a former FDA Investigator, Pharma executive and author. FD-AID is a Florida based consulting company and is online at: http://fdaid.org