Ian Childs: Ten Years Defined by Growth and Delivery

December 18, 2023

Managing Director of MBP, Ian Childs, reflects on the company’s ten-year anniversary with pride, discussing its growth-to-date and why the business’ values will never change.

As someone who has enjoyed a distinguished career connecting his passions of sport and business, few are better placed to reflect on the ten-year journey of MBP than Ian Childs, the company’s Managing Director. Ian proudly airs his view that the company has always adopted a different approach to its competitors in the sector, a different approach that was reflected right from the start.

“I knew of Mark before we got involved at MBP but had never met him personally before. I remember that he had an amazing proposal - it had been done professionally, all singing and all dancing, as he was seeking some significant investment. But I remember saying to Theo, ‘he doesn’t need a penny’. It wasn’t the finance that the business needed at that stage, Mark just needed the right people around him who could help open doors for him.”

For the business, Ian provided (and continues to provide!) the perfect sanity check, support and guidance. While Mark as the business’ CEO had an unrivaled experience in the world of professional motorsport, Ian knew the sports agency world like the back of his hand owing to his previous successes and got to work right away.

“For me, it was about putting some proper reporting into the business from the outset. The business hadn’t had this before as it hadn’t required it but management accounts and regular reviews became part of our daily routines. It just needed lines of functionality and accountability being added in which is what we did. The business externally with clients was in a good place, it just needed some growing up internally.”

While every business will ultimately be judged on its bottom line, Ian details that his pride over the last ten years of success at MBP is about everything apart from that. As he details, it’s about growth in other ways.

“When you look back at the ten years so far, I am just massively proud that we have improved every year, in every area. And that’s not about financials; that is about our clients growing every year, our depth of relationship with partners growing every year, our own people and team members growing every year. For me, I look at that and I think how brilliant that is.

“It’s never been our style to shout from the rooftops, we just pride ourselves on doing a good job and allowing the growth to happen more organically as a result. When people are happy to recommend you, then you know you are in a good place and in the overwhelming majority most of our new clients have come through referral and recommendation which is a great sign itself.”

The subject of doing a good job is one that comes up habitually when chatting with Ian - or more pertinently, what he refers to as delivery. It’s probably become one of the most repeated lessons at MBP HQ, the importance of prioritising client delivery above all else.

“There are lots of people out there in our space who do average work. They spend a lot of time worrying about what their brand looks like, how they talk about themselves and all the things which aren’t exactly the most important. For us, it’s the complete flip of that. Doing a fantastic job for our clients - whether that be drivers, partners, sponsors or whatever - that will always come first. That is what I am always most proud of. We have delivered from day one and we continue to deliver excellent work for our clients as they expect - we should be proud of that.”

With that in mind, Ian is firm in his belief that MBP operates a little differently and is adamant that as the business grows, that is not something that will be forgotten.

“There are a lot of agencies out there who spend so long telling you they know the answer, that they forget to listen to the client’s question. We listen. As we talk about all the time internally, asking ourselves how we can get better, well the answer is always to listen more. By listening to your clients, you strengthen your relationships and those relationships evolve over time.

“We’re really proud of the relationships we have with our clients, across all facets of our business. We have never been hard sell, we have utilised our network, grown our network and now that very network is supporting one another which is a massive achievement.”

It’s no wonder listening to Ian that the company’s values remain central to their work and with those values in mind, Ian feels that the future continues to look bright for MBP and all its partners.

“At the end of the day, we have achieved what Theo has always said to us - ‘make money, have fun but never forget to make more money’ - and we have done exactly that. It is a fabulous environment that we have made and we are so excited for how the future looks together with our clients.”