Lessons in living growth
As somebody who has founded, chaired and directed a network of five businesses over the course of the last eight years we asked our founder and CEO Andy Rogers, what lessons he’s learnt when it comes to scaling a business.
As a business design consultancy Rokker spend our days advising other companies on how to enter markets, how to scale or how to scale and optimise. We’ve successfully delivered that service for hundreds of international companies, but it’s very seldom that we turn that kind of attention on ourselves!
At the end of 2022 we identified an opportunity to establish an entirely new business line, international managed services subsidiary RokkerX. We employed most of the tools and techniques at our disposal to define the opportunity fully and design the business in a way that aligned with our experience of what good looks like. Leveraging this experience actually delivered us from concept to a BAU state in a period of just 4 months across 3 international jurisdictions.
Our previous experiences of growth were in developing The Rokker Network and organically scaling Random Colour Animal and Pretty Technical through embracing an international workforce. RokkerX presented us with the entirely new set of challenges in scaling a business, compounded by an imposed client go-live deadline! Some of our key learnings have been:
- Be clear on your objectives and ensure all team members are aligned.
- Draft in specialists to take care of specific tasks with focused objectives in a targeted efficient way.
- Bring in new team members for additional support to ensure that your core/existing business isn’t compromised.
- Always be one step ahead of the problem where you can be. Taking time to step back and think strategically and plan forwards is essential. For us it was mainly being aware of the talent requirements and where issues might arise.
The challenges that come with scaling a business by adding 50 new people in a new territory and a completely new business area are significant (as we’ve done with Pretty Technical), but not as significant as the binary state change in Rokker growing from a team of 8, to 58 virtually overnight! As if that wasn’t big enough, we needed to build with the future in mind, which is a fit-for-purpose solution for 200+ people, as the team is expected to grow in further jurisdictions throughout 2024/5. It’s this binary change that has been the most significant to navigate. It’s necessitated designing a business that meets the more complex needs of a much larger international workforce.
On the surface we’ve had to take care of practicalities such as ensuring that office facilities, desks, computers, infrastructure, systems etc were in place to enable team mates to do their jobs from day one. Behind the scenes it’s been having to execute on everything from tools, insurances, office facilities, system selection and implementation, multi-currency banking, multi-jurisdictional company setup and the tax and employment legislations that come with each, and areas that were brand new to our business, like enterprise international travel policies.
The devil really is in the detail of these things and it’s amazing how much time it takes to procure kit, write policies, internationalise supplier agreements and comprehend the nuances of international employment law! The other thing that can’t be underestimated in all of this is communicating with your client. It’s almost impossible to overcommunicate with a key client through times of dynamic growth. By keeping them updated on developments and movements they can be confident they’re in safe hands and can concentrate on doing a great job themselves.
We know RokkerX won’t sit still. We’re operating both at micro and macro level in developing our forward strategy. We have to ensure that there is continuous alignment through good communication and that we have the right processes in place to accommodate an evolving mission. Probably the most essential thing we’ve embraced is doing it all with good humour! There have been times where we’ve had to remind ourselves that something wasn’t life and death, just business, and that we just needed to keep a smile on our faces and not get stressed about things beyond our control (or even the things that are!).
So to summarise, our top 5 tips for living growth are:
- Clearly understand your objective and key results.
- Ensure that your resources have the availability and right experience to do what you need to do.
- Make sure that your cash is in a position that you can execute when you need to execute.
- Constantly adapt to maintain alignment with your objectives.
- Control the things you can control and influence the things you can’t.
If you’d value a conversation around the opportunity to scale your business please contact us.