My Working Day: Gordon MacPherson

The virus came at the worst possible time for us. We were growing sales to meet our targets and were preparing to raise a second round of investment to expand our team.

Gordon MacPherson is a director at Seaham-based tech company Moralbox, which specialises in training development software.

In this issue’s ‘My Working Day’ feature Gordon shares with EDB why he loves running his own business and what the future holds as the country continues its journey through the coronavirus pandemic.

EDB: Tell us more about Moralbox and the services you offer.
GM: Moralbox is a training management software platform that helps companies to identify training needs, reduce administration, increase awareness, facilitate employee engagement and remain legally compliant. Our training needs analysis, automated training matrix, dashboard and weekly summary emails give advanced warning of any issues. Our software prevents training issues occurring and enables our customers to spend more time strategically planning. Our goal is to be the world’s number one collaborative training management platform, giving employers one single solution to effectively manage employee compliance. It also provides the employee with their own training profile which they can add to throughout their career.

EDB: You’ve also got another business, haven’t you?
GM: Yes, I’m a director of EDITCreate, a software development company which creates software solutions for businesses. We specialise in developing startup ideas to Minimal Viable Product (MVP), as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible, so they can focus on growing their business instead of worrying about the usual stresses around developing a software product. In some cases we act as their Chief Technology Officer, a role many startups struggle to fill. We used our experience from building Moralbox, and software products we’ve built for other companies, and decided to build a business around that service. I’m really excited to be contributing to making the North East a competitive technology hub.

EDB: What’s a typical day for you?
GM: I usually get up at 6:45am and help my wife to get my son Harrison ready for nursery. After dropping him off, I head into the office and the first thing I do is grind some fresh coffee beans before checking my emails while enjoying my first coffee of the day. I need my coffee fix. I then meet with my co-founder John to go through any pending items and we prioritise what the team will be doing that day. My work is quite varied and can range from financial and marketing related issues and checking in with sales and customer support to coding new or improving current features and networking with our partners.

I love the fact that no two days are the same. John and I have lunch out of the office every day and use the time to strategise about the future or chat about non-work related stuff. I usually leave the office around 6pm so I can get home and spend time with my son before his bedtime. My wife and I then have dinner and watch a movie or a couple of episodes of one of our favourite series. After a bit of relaxation time, I usually spend a few hours coding before bed. I love working late as there are no distractions – it’s just me and my music.

EDB: Running your own business can be challenging. Is it something you enjoy?
GM: It’s definitely challenging but it is great being responsible for my own success and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m a huge believer in a growth mindset, putting the hours in and constantly innovating; no matter how good a product is or what you know, there is always room to improve. I also get such a buzz from making sure our customers have the best possible solution and service. It’s a great feeling when they recommend us to other businesses.

EDB: The past few months have been hard for businesses. Has Moralbox been affected by the coronavirus lockdown?
GM: For a young, growing business the virus came at the worst possible time for us. We were growing sales to meet our targets and were preparing to raise a second round of investment to expand our team. Throughout lockdown, it was incredibly difficult to fully engage with potential new customers, so our focus was entirely on making sure that our current customers were supported.

EDB: What are your plans for the future?
GM: Moralbox enables training to be managed efficiently and promotes employee-employer engagement. Universal training profiles are at the core of our ecosystem, enabling employees to take ownership of their data including training records. We hope to have an e-learning platform released at the end of this year so employees can also take online courses created by their employer or one of our training partners. This will make us an all-in-one solution for planning, managing, and delivering training.

At our current stage of growth, we are providing a training management solution for businesses and providing free training profiles to individuals. Our vision is for everyone to have a Moralbox profile so they can keep their training records up to date. They are able to access and share their profile with employers throughout their career. We also have plans to add a talent bank feature – this is something we already have the infrastructure to do. People seeking new opportunities will be able to make their profile searchable and employers will be able to search for people with particular skills. With many people facing redundancy as a result of COVID, we would love to help them find a new employer quicker.

EDB: You’re passionate about supporting and using local companies, aren’t you?
GM: I really like helping anyone I can in business. When we started Moralbox there were so many people with more experience and established tech companies that helped us. It’s great to share our story and offer assistance to people that are starting out on that same journey as I know how difficult it can be starting a business.