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7 Questions with Heather Murray
7 Questions with Heather Murray
Name: Heather Murray
Current title: Managing Director
Current organisation: Beesting Digital
Proud Brummie with a lot of energy. In addition to running two companies, runs Festive Friends, a charity providing a free meal for 100 isolated older people every year. Has a Spanish rescue dog, Dotty and long-term partner, Paul.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
Finding the right people has been much harder than I ever imagined. I thought you simply advertise and sift through applicants, but I have found that decent people are very well hidden! I understand now why so many recruitment agencies exist.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was made redundant in (but not due to) the middle of the pandemic. I have always wanted to run my own company, and I thought what originally seemed like a disaster could turn into a real opportunity. And it did. I wish so much I had done it sooner.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up every morning at 7am, and head straight downstairs to get stuck in while my brain is brightest. I always make sure I have a proper breakfast. I recently gave up caffeine, so plenty of decaf coffee. I take a break at 10:30 to give my dog a decent hour-long walk. She is reactive sadly, so we have to avoid other dogs, but it keeps me on my toes! I continue to work through, with lunch at my desk, until the second dog walks at about 3:30. I generally finish around 6 or 7pm, though I'm almost always on LinkedIn in the evenings on my phone! I like to get to bed early with a book, heading up to read around 8:30 and I'm usually asleep by 9:30pm. I need a lot of sleep but always feel refreshed in the mornings.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
To lead by example. Set specific standards, be able to show the level of work you are looking for very clearly and you're more likely to get it. It also works for attitude...a positive, caring and transparent outlook really encourages those same traits in those you lead.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Cialdini's Influence is such a brilliant book, and really stands the test of time. The Rule of Reciprocity is so relevant for modern digital marketing, I bring it up frequently: keep giving great value away online (insights, information, help) and you'll attract the right customers much more easily.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
By explaining WHY. Never ever just using a "do what I say" attitude; your staff are worth the justification. If they feel part of something, and can see how it operates and their role within it, they will give their absolute all.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
We are still as young as a company. But I remember first losing a big client. It felt that the floor fell out from beneath me, and I didn't know how we would cope. It turned out to be an opportunity to pivot, niche down into agency-only copywriting and we were quickly in a much better position than before. I learnt to see situations from new, positive angles and it really opens up the door to new ideas.