Designing and launching a dynamic international business
In our consultancy capacity we often help clients to identify opportunities for their business to create new products or enter new markets. We’ve used the same principles to found the 4 companies that make up The Rokker Network (Rokker, Skull Mountain, Random Colour Animal and Pretty Technical). 2023 presented us with the opportunity to grow the Network further by building a managed services business as a subsidiary of Rokker, RokkerX. This article documents some of what’s been involved in designing and launching a dynamic international business like RokkerX.
Having identified a gap in the market for a managed services provision to the iGaming industry we used our PRISM process to break down the large task of building a new dynamic international business into smaller more focused streams of Minimum Viable Initiatives (MVI’s)©. The seven key PRISM facets we worked on were:
- Product & Service
- Leadership and People
We were coming across an increasing number of iGaming companies that were looking to scale their businesses but were coming up against resourcing issues. As this was a common thread, there was a clear opportunity to provide high performance managed teams that would enable these businesses to scale dynamically, expediting their growth plans whilst reducing their risk. Securing an initial client with an ambitious growth strategy and timeline, accelerated our plans to found dynamic international business RokkerX.
As we had established that the new business entity would be a subsidiary of Rokker, it needed to include that in its name. In planning the brand strategy, we were clear that it needed to be something that would translate internationally and evoke curiosity from prospective employees and clients.
We decided on ‘RokkerX’, it sounded contemporary and had a number of symbolic meanings: ‘X Marks the Spot’ representing our ability to provide teams in strategic locations and ‘X number of colleagues’ speaking of the flexible and scalable nature of the service. We felt that an alignment with brands like GoogleX also implies a technology leaning.
We also identified some neat alignment with some of the key words in the messaging we wanted to use to promote the brand. The ‘X’ played into ‘eXperts’, ‘eXperience’, ‘fleXible’, eXciting, eXceptional, eXcel and eXplore. Our initial messaging for the website was written around this emphasis.
We worked closely with Network colleagues Random Colour Animal to devise the aesthetic of the RokkerX brand in record time. The brief was to appeal to a target audience of prospective clients in the iGaming space and potential employees for talent acquisition (identified as sports fans in their 20s-50s). As a subsidiary of the main Rokker brand, it was key that RokkerX felt related yet stand on its own as a unique dynamic international business entity.
We invested in the development of a RokkerX website and in our social media presence to build the brands profile. We focused our Instagram efforts on trying to connect with prospective employees and our LinkedIn activity on canvasing for clients, but with an awareness that prospective employees might also validate the brand there. We also produced a video to run on in-mall totems in the mall next to our Bulgarian office space to target prospective local employees who eat in the food court during their lunch hour.
Product & Service
RokkerX has been built upon decades of Rokker’s experience in building global technology, operations and consultancy teams and businesses. We have worked extensively across Europe, North and South America for clients in a wide variety of industries, which gives us ‘permission to play’ in this space.
RokkerX provide high performance managed teams across a range of highly optimised business and operational services. RokkerX teams are always an external augmentation to client’s existing operations. Our services range from small, focused ‘special forces’ teams driving transformation, through to large rapidly scalable operations and support services. Our wide range of solutions deliver real-world gains for international clients in the gaming, technology, and finance sectors.
We undertook research to identify competitors in the market but established that it was a fairly unique proposition. Central to building the RokkerX business was identifying a location where we could access exceptional human resources with expertise in our key operational areas at prices that would enable us to be competitive. Our Rokker Research team developed the Optimum Locator Model (OLM) in order to establish the optimum location in which to base the business. This model used a number of variables and criteria to score a variety of different locations in a consistent manner. Additionally, we also developed the model to be easily configurable; this meant that it could be tweaked by our initial client to best meet their needs. Based on the model results, we opted to set up ourinitial operations in Sofia, Bulgaria. As we expand with new clients, we will likely use this same model again to understand and determine the best locations to meet their specific needs.
Establishing the right financial model, contracts and processes was critical to the success of RokkerX.
To operate in a commercially viable way, we had to establish an in-cost, out-charge model that covered the overheads and operating costs in a way that was cost effective for our clients and made commercial sense for us. This needed to consider a clients minimum requirement, the administrative overhead of running each client account and the scalability of resources required. We also needed to ensure that there was sufficient cash flow to cover initial setup and ongoing BAU costs.
To operate in Bulgaria and Spain we had to establish legal entities, including the incorporation, tax/VAT registration, new bank accounts, identification of new office premises and the onboarding of new employees, etc. This was achieved by supplementing the UK based team by engaging with local agents, legal , accounting and payroll firms . RokkerX is now set-up to transact in Bulgarian Lev, Euros and Great British pounds.
One of the main challenges of a 7-person business (Rokker) setting up a 50-person business (RokkerX) has been the initial resource needed to establish the new entity. It’s been ‘all hands to the pump’ to develop and establish the brand, take care of logistics such as sourcing office space and equipment requirements, put systems in place (initially for accounting, expenses, HR and travel booking), document resource requirements, advertise and recruit for vacancies all ahead of getting ‘bums on seats’!
All in a very short space of time (c. 4 months).
It’s taken the energy, vision and passion of leadership, maintaining alignment and coordination of the wider teams’ activities to ensure that each base has been covered and each MVI (Minimum Viable Initiative) delivered in line with the roadmap of building the business. It’s involved international travel, navigating different time zones, cultures, procedures (legal, accounting and HR) and languages, so has been a significant undertaking, and one that has thrown up many different challenges that we’ve been able to rapidly respond to and learn from.
Our business consultancy skills have really laid fantastic foundations for the forming of RokkerX. Engaging with both internal and external stakeholders in a way that represents our culture consistently and builds for the long term has been a key commitment. In the initial days, keeping our client abreast of developments and milestones being achieved along the critical path was essential as a confidence and relationship building element. Consequently, weekly meetings and reports became an essential conduit along with the free flow of information between our organisations.
We’ve worked hard to ensure that the RokkerX global team enjoy using state-of-the-art tools and technology and receive equitable salary and benefits. Working with in-country partners ensures that we operate in-line with the best practice HR and legal requirements of each territory.
As you’d expect from a business design consultancy with a specialism in organisational design, Rokker have worked extensively on the corporate DNA of this new subsidiary. We want RokkerX to be a truly great place to work. As such, we take great care to ensure that our team are aligned for purpose and performance. That’s why we’ve applied all the principles behind our organisational design practice to ensure that RokkerX teammates have every opportunity to excel. These include our ‘Culture of Belonging’ and ‘THRIVE’ programs which are designed to encourage belonging and nurture excellence.
“We want RokkerX to be known for diverse, happy, high performing teams that deliver efficient operations for fantastic clients.”
Jim Marshall, Head of People Consulting, Rokker.
As the team dynamic is of critical importance to ensuring happiness and optimal working performance, having leadership in place that models our own values is critical. We’re really proud of the leadership team that we’ve established for each of our regional hubs. We invest in our corporate culture beyond pay, recognition, progression opportunities and benefits. This includes international team initiatives like our fantasy football league, and our regional monthly social activities.