World Cup diary – Learning to let go to achieve BetRegal growth, a new sportsbook created to provide its customers with the “highest possible value” in prices, is on the road to Russia for this summer’s FIFA World Cup.

In the second diary of this World Cup series, Aly Lalani is talking about building up the company’s Malta office and “learning to let go”, as he packs his bags for London.

In the last diary, I referenced a general review of 2017 with the rest of the stakeholders as a key initiative for us at ICE. One of the topics that will be top of the list will be how do we start to accelerate our growth. Up until now it’s been a slow and steady crawl in terms of acquisition. Our expectation is to ‘grow’ a little more aggressively in 2018.

Grow. It’s an interesting word with so many interpretations. When we say we want to grow in 2018, what does that actually mean? When the owners talk about growth, they are referring to growing volume and the bottom line. When I think about growth, I think of increasing our new funded accounts, while our finance team is most concerned with growing deposits.

Whatever the KPI we settle upon, it has become increasingly clear that we need to grow our BetRegal team to achieve any level of growth in 2018. We need to have smart people in strategic roles to help define the roadmap, whichever KPI is defined as the most relevant measure of our growth.

During my last year(s) at Pinnacle, we had grown to a pretty sizeable marketing team, so I am used to the idea of delegation. It’s a pretty basic management concept. So why is it so much harder this time?

Maybe it’s because I was there when this was just an idea, and it’s made me a little more protective. Maybe it’s just that I don’t think the brand is mature enough to be exposed to the critical eyes of others? To be honest, I am not sure why I’ve been hesitant, but I’m learning to let go. I promise.

The development of up until now, including any growth we have had to date, has been built off the back of outsourcing expertise from various agencies. I have always touted that the main reason was this speed to market (and I still stick by that).

Perhaps another reason I was so agreeable to the outsourcing model was it still gave me some measure of control and visibility into what our vendors were working on. It allowed me to be involved at a fairly micro level into pretty much everything.

However, I’m finding out that when you’re trying to focus on too many things, you’re probably not doing any one of them well enough. A jack of all trades, but a master of…not enough.

From developing a CRM program to ensure we are communicating with our customers effectively, to reviewing the UX, providing affiliates with fresh campaigns to advertise our brand, planning World Cup promotions, recruiting new advertising partners and dealing with everyday operational issues, we have simply too many priorities that don’t get the attention they deserve.

So it’s time to broaden our knowledge base and start recruiting some experienced and intelligent folks to push the BetRegal concept further along the line. Not only will this benefit our desired ‘growth’, but it will also enable us to hear other viewpoints on how we develop the brand and engage our customers.

It’s obviously important to have our resources constantly exposed to the market and customer we are trying to attract. A large priority for myself and the wider BetRegal team is to build out our Malta office. The plan is to setup our base of operations in Malta, with satellite offices and remote workers wherever necessary based on market focus.

Part of creating our team is ensuring all of our site maintenance is done in-house. If something ever goes wrong with the site, or if there are urgent technical priorities we need to address, I want the resources handling those emergencies be our own internal resources. We have begun the process of handing off the maintenance from our vendor, Vegas Kings, to our own internal resources.

Working with Vegas Kings as closely as we did was a positive experience for us – it helped us to get off on the right foot in terms of design. Therefore, I envision a continued working relationship with them, where we can use them to focus on new website features and specific UX improvements.

As a new brand, who has been working primarily with vendors for the past year and a half, you can probably imagine how developed our HR process is. While it is important for us to fine tune this process, it’s perhaps more important to define the roles we need to fill.

I don’t think we need to have formal job descriptions yet, because the requirements are still fluid to an extent. We are not big enough (yet) to restrict interest in our company, but we know that our priorities lie in marketing, and on the sportsbook product management side.

This could be the dream job for someone. Imagine being an experienced marketing or product professional (focused on sportsbook with a little casino experience) and being given the opportunity to help build a brand. To actually put a fingerprint on the way the brand looks, feels and communicates.

If only there were somewhere I could find a huge gathering of like-minded individuals, all focused on igaming marketing and product development… See you all in London!

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