Rob Saipe

Managing Director of Made 4 Fighters

Rob Saipe is the Managing Director of Made 4 Fighters. He was born in Yorkshire, England and currently resides in Leeds with his family. His first degree was in Sports Studies from Newcastle, and he graduated in 1993 with a Masters also in Sports and Management, from Leeds.

A keen sportsman, Rob spent several years playing in the professional basketball league in England and the summers coaching “soccer” in the States. He coached Leeds United Women’s team and a youth basketball team to the National Final Fours 3 years in succession.

Rob worked with a license company for 3 years managing the design distribution and sales of the Ultimate Fighting Championship clothing for Europe. The license company also ran the Made 4 Fighters site. When he become Managing Director of Bytomic, one of the first growth initiatives was to purchase Made 4 Fighters.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I can’t take credit for the idea behind Made 4 Fighters because it was the previous owners who thought of it. However, Made 4 Fighters was a website that originally focused primarily on mixed martial arts (MMA). But when we bought it in 2013, we saw the opportunity to diversify the website and extend the range of products outside of MMA. It now includes products from disciplines ranging from CrossFit and wrestling to karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical work day starts with coffee, a team meeting and then 30 mins of prioritising tasks. It then focuses on ensuring these are achieved as far as possible in an environment that is fast moving. I always finish the day going to the gym.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am not known for my creativity, but luckily we have a team of people who excel in that area. I focus my attention on empowering them.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Martial arts and fitness are areas that continue to thrive, and I’m excited to see how they evolve in the coming years.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I have learned to move through my day with the mindset of, “do it now!!” It’s easy to fall into the habit of putting tasks off for one reason or another, and as the Managing Director, they can really pile up quickly. If you get into the mindset of just jumping in and chipping away at what you can now, then you’ll make progress no matter how many things are on the “to-do” list.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Go for it, failure can only add to your learning.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I am tall, dark and handsome.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Margins, margins margins.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Our strategy with Made 4 Fighters is diversification – through acquisition of brands or distribution, that has allowed us to enter new markets and provide growth.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I bought large amounts of stock (pre-sold) and didn’t secure the exchange rates, which led to negative sales. This resulted in me spending time negotiating (groveling) and learning from my mistake.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Environmental coffee cup disposal and recycling business. Just on the amount I use and dispose of in a week would make this business idea viable!!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A bluetooth set of headphones. I have been able to do my workouts in the gym without getting caught on cables. Also, the quality of sound makes me workout harder.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Our team uses the project management software Asana. It helps keep the workflow transparent so we can see who is working on what and meet deadlines.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Shoe Dog Phil Knight – it’s a really good story about starting with very little and having a dream and vision.

What is your favorite quote?

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda

Key learnings:

  • It’s important to make quality time to think, plan and reflect on your business and role within it.
  • Re: look at our margins!
  • Move quickly when you see an opportunity.