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Our First Year in Berlin

Radish Lab UG has been officially open for business for over a year now, and it’s been quite a ride. The early months were mainly devoted to navigating the bureaucratic hurdles of setting up shop in Berlin. Since then, though, we’ve been steadily gaining momentum—making new friends and working with new clients, while continuing to collaborate on a full slate of projects with our Brooklyn team.

It’s been a challenge just finding the time to share an update on everything that we’ve been up to, but here are some of the highlights from our first year in the land of beer and sauerkraut (and the world’s best pretzels—sorry NYC)!

and pretzels too!

Getting a Boost from the Coaching BONUS

Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) offers a number of programs aimed at helping business owners build their companies and stimulating economic growth. IBB selected Radish to participate in its Coaching BONUS program, which connects local companies with professional business coaches and consultants. These experts help entrepreneurs execute their ideas and build long term, sustainable business plans.

Our coach AC Coppens has helped performers, artists, and writers from all over the world to articulate and realize their ambitions, both in the Berlin market and beyond. We first sat down with AC back in early spring to talk through our business model, Berlin’s competitive landscape, potential partners, and client acquisition. Through our subsequent coaching sessions, we’ve learned the importance of analyzing and predicting how we fit into the wider Berlin market. AC encouraged us to start dreaming big about where we can take Radish Lab in Germany, Europe, and beyond.

Managing the Team (from 4,000 Miles Away)

While we’ve been focusing on building up our business and network in Germany, we’ve also had to keep up with everything happening back at the Brooklyn office. It’s easy to imagine all of the pain points that come with managing a team that’s an ocean away, but thanks to some patience, planning, and the wonders of modern technology, it’s not as difficult as one might think. In fact, many of these challenges actually have a flip side that ends up being a net positive.

For example, we recognized the fact that it’s not as easy to address issues through breezy, informal conversations. We’ve adjusted our workflows to incorporate more touchpoints with project teams and clients. This has led to a more structured process, forcing us to plan ahead and streamline our meetings. Instead of holding open-ended chats on the fly, we focus on the tasks at hand and avoid letting meetings drift into overtime.

It may come as no surprise that the biggest challenge we’ve had to adjust to is the time difference. By the time we’re trying to wrap up an extremely busy work day (around 6:00pm CEST), the Brooklyn team is just starting to think about lunch. This means we’re often checking emails and connecting with team members or clients late into the evening. It doesn’t do anyone any good for us to jump on a call at 8:00pm after we’ve already burned a lot of our mental energy. Luckily, we’re able to rely enormously on our incredible team. We trust in their collective ability to address any and every client need that arises. They also know that if there’s an urgent issue we’re just a text or call away.

Making Our Way in Berlin

So far, the transition to life in Berlin has been remarkably smooth. Of course, there have been a couple things along the way that we didn’t anticipate when we made the move. For one thing, Germans are very fastidious when it comes to paperwork. It’s been really surprising how much they rely on snail mail to complete a range of administrative and bureaucratic tasks.

Another notable and surprising difference is the fluidity between one’s professional and personal lives here in Berlin. We often find ourselves socializing with our clients, as opposed to just networking or discussing projects. There’s a certain formality inherent to the German language that we haven’t entirely mastered. Thus, our tendency to forego formality and conclude most meetings with hugs has somehow worked in our favor and allowed us to form warmer relationships with our network.

Zum Schluss

It’s hard to believe that we embarked on this journey nearly a year ago. Moving to Berlin was a fantastic opportunity and a formidable challenge for Radish Lab. We’re excited to see what the city has to offer us in the next twelve months. What we know for certain is that we’re going to continue meeting great people, including new clients and partners, and continue to work hard to keep our company learning and growing.

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