Rob Day is an MDHUB success story. A member in the early days of the hub100, Rob has since joined the MDHUB team, and now facilitates workgroups for its members.
We chat over Zoom, as he lives year-round in Jersey. In the background, I can see a freshly painted seascape; evidence of a healthy work-life balance he has carved for himself since exiting his business.
Rob first met Fiona Shafer, current Managing Director of MDHUB, while she was consulting for Sussex Enterprise. The team at Rob’s web agency Liquid Light was at a crossroads, having to make big decisions about whether to scale up. “Fiona was empathetic and supportive,” Rob states. “She helped me and the team to make the right choices for the business.”
As a result of Fiona’s intervention and help, Rob subsequently made the decision to join MDHUB (then ‘the hub100’). Taking part in regular peer-to-peer workgroups, he was able to develop his knowledge and confidence in order to improve Liquid Light.
“If things are going well, you don’t think you need peer learning sessions. But you will have good and bad days, and on those bad days, the peer support you get in these sessions is everything.”
During the period where he was looking to exit his business, Rob received a huge amount of support from something within MDHUB called the ‘Escape Committee’, a regular workgroup focussed specifically on business exiting. Cutting a long story short, he eventually exited in a successful manner in April 2016, before spending time going travelling with his wife, Evelyn.
With his batteries recharged, Rob returned to MDHUB as a facilitator and business coach. Alongside a number of other regular workgroups, he now runs the Escape Committee, helping the next generation of business owners to negotiate their own exits. For those peers in that situation, he has become someone to turn to; someone who had, colloquially, ‘been there, seen it, done it…’
It is something he finds an enormous privilege. It also helps him stay connected to the south east from Jersey. Best of all, he feels, “I get to do it in a professional capacity, with the support from all of these inspirational business leaders.”
MDHUB matches Rob’s values and, all the while that continues, he believes he’ll be happy to spend his time with them. “The sense of integrity, compassion and care is 100% of MDHUB’s DNA; you see that in the board meetings as much as you see it in the delivery. There are not many places in the business world where it’s not shrouded in hubris and ego.”
While MDHUB provides a space to champion and support members in times of growth and success, it also provides a safe space for business leaders who are struggling. “Asking for help takes courage.”
As one of his many workgroups, Rob runs Wildcards, one-off workshops, where members can talk openly and freely, and discuss new ideas. ‘Tech 101’ is one of Rob’s Wildcards, borne of the sense that technology is going through one of those big ‘aha’ moments – the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The workgroup allows him to, as he puts it, ‘switch the light on’ for business leaders, and discuss the newest developments in the field, including how this could change the way we work.
For Rob, AI is the thing to watch for business leaders. “It’s affecting so many spaces: e-commerce, SEO, social media, content writing; there’s not an industry I can think of where it won’t have some impact.” For those wishing to dip their toe into these worlds, he suggests ChatGPT and Midjourney as starting points for anyone looking to learn about what AI can do.
We also touched on the cost of living crisis, Brexit, and rapid tech developments. All of these are perceived to be making for a very unstable environment. Rob’s one piece of advice for surviving this climate was, “Don’t do it alone. It’s a lonely place to be an MD, and it’s impossible to have all the answers.”
As part of this, he suggests implementing an advisory board; having external support from mentors can help you make the best decisions for your business. “It’s about support,” Rob concludes. “Being with MDHUB means you’re not alone.”
If you would like to hear more about the peer groups that Rob facilitates, please email Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB, please visit www.mdhub.co.uk
Email MDHUB Directors:
Fiona Shafer: email@example.com or
Phil Green: firstname.lastname@example.org