Episode 20

It's OK to ask for help with Andrew Murphy

Andrew Murphy from the Federation of Small Businesses UK (FSB) talks running a business post-lockdown. We talk trends in business and lifestyle, explore the experience of founding and growing a business. Most importantly, we discuss how it is OK to ask for help, how covid actually fostered networking and how we are better off sticking together.

The Federation of Small Business UK (FSB) is an undiscovered gem in the wild world of running your own business. Whether you are a freelancer or whether you employ a team - we feel there is so much support available in an FSB membership and hope to see more take advantage of it, so they can focus on their day jobs.

About the show:

Problem Busters is a show that explores solutions to the biggest and the smallest of problems. Hosts Jonathan Goodwin and Oliver Happy discuss making the world a better place with guests from far and wide.

About our guest:

Andrew Murphy is a Small Business Champion at the Federation of Small Businesses UK. A career at PwC led him to start his own removals business in London, which ultimately led to a lot of lessons in starting and growing a business. He is passionate about the importance of small businesses to our economy and community as a whole.

Show mentions:

  • Starting off in PcW in Consultancy
  • Started his own business, a removals business - ran it for 15 years, then sold it and moved to the FSB
  • It was the Uber for removals - perhaps a bit before its time.
  • 04:30 The challenges in building a business, and in hiring and managing staff.
  • Remote staff management is one of the most difficult parts of the growth of the business.
  • Finding good people is one of the hardest part of growing a business in my experience.
  • Then looking after them and welfare is right up there with hard work.
  • I had a friend in HR, but eventually realised we needed help with that.
  • The Federation of Small Business (FSB) knocked on the door, and I was getting a lot of contacts at the time, but this guy made a good point and the offer was really strong
  • A not for profit who helps small businesses.
  • He talked about HR support, documentation and legal support, and it made a lot of sense to me as a business owner.
  • 07:30 Small business owners want to be spending more time on running the business, not doing all the other paperwork.
  • FSB has been running 45 years, has over 165,000 small business members.
  • There is at times a disconnect between central government and small business.
  • Example: The creation of the Furlough scheme, via the powerful lobbying voice of FSB, and a chap called Mike Cherry.
  • It has supported a lot of businesses during the pandemic.
  • The FSB legal hub was super helpful to me, had a series of documents in a library, we had access to an HR representative at no charge, and at one point, we had to visit the Employment Tribunal and they supported us through the process. We were not at fault, but it was great to have someone there to hold our hand through it all.
  • 14:00 What would I do differently next time? I'd get help from people like the FSB earlier. You've got to know when to ask for help.
  • What steps could people listening take to reach out and get assistance? Have a look at the website and all the services provided.
  • Tax investigation protection is a part of the membership (an important one in coming years)
  • Small businesses are the backbone of this economy. 70%+ of employers and an important part.
  • We're not talking a lot of money for this membership, and every bit of revenue goes back into supporting Small Business - £147 per year (based on the number of people in the business).
  • We have a lot of sole traders who are members. Sole traders also have legal obligations, tax returns.
  • We cover right up to larger businesses of 50 employees or more.
  • It can be quite isolating as a business owner. The buck does stop at you as owner.
  • 22:00 What are the top areas small businesses worry about? Staff Management, Finance, Getting new customers on board, tax investigation protection.
  • For every pound HMRC invests in tax investigation, they recoup £15 pounds.
  • We are seeing a lot of positivity coming out of Covid now. It's been a roller coaster over the last 18 months but we are seeing a lot more positivity and businesses getting out there.
  • How being remote has bought networking into a new age. We used to run monthly groups, a bit of a social thing and a lunch.
  • Now it has all moved online, there is a huge opportunity to now network with your potential customers anywhere in the country and anywhere in the world.
  • People are now happy to do these type of online meetings, and you still have the opportunity to meet in person also.
  • Episode: Zoltan Vass - Building remote teams
  • 31:00 The sharing section
  • Who do you most look up to in the world? I spend my life talking to business owners, from people who are about to set up to people who have been running for a while. So I'll go business owners. It takes real courage to run your own gig. I have nothing but admiration for people who get out there and make it work.
  • Book - Jordan B Peterson - 12 rules for life. There is some great stuff in there. He has a great understanding of the way we work as humans, or as a society.
  • Book - Jordan B Peterson - Maps and meanings.
  • What movements have you most excited?
  • Cop26 summit is going on right now.
  • I studied Environmental Science at University and it was a big deal for me.
  • Agenda 21 back then was important
  • Greta Thunberg famously summed this up - there's been a lot of talk and it's now time for action.
  • There is a groundswell of people looking to take this into their own hands, and looking at how they can get involved in sustainability.
  • 27:00 What tech is improving your life right now? I implemented Calendly.com into my work. It has taken away a huge part of when people can talk to each other. Send a link, sync with diary and it works for everyone.
  • What is one thing you'd like to change in the world? I don't have a specific thing because the solutions to where we are are really really complicated. There is a lot of complication in all of this, which is why we haven't been able to solve it.
  • There can be no question about the impact we are having on the environment.
  • I'm pleased that this stuff is now on the agenda, and the fact that people are taking personal responsibility rather than waiting for something to happen.
  • One thing people could take away from this episode? To recognise that you don't have to do everything yourself (like the FSB!) that help support you as a business owner.
  • 40:30 Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help, so that you can focus on the doing of the business, the growing of your business.
  • The last 18 months for a lot of people have obviously been really difficult. Especially for men, we are kinda a bit guarded around asking for help. As part of the FSB, we have first aid and nurses. It's reaching out to the right people when you need it.
  • Talking about mental health has become normal
  • Getting in touch? Happy to use Calendly, or to email andrew.murphy@fsb.org.uk.
  • FSB events - click here for events (going on almost every day), they are open access and you don't need to be a member to access those resources.

Logo and concept by Christy O'Connor

About the Podcast

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Problem Busters
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About your hosts

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Oliver Happy

Oliver works in tech and builds things that help improve people’s lives. He hosts indie podcasts Old Fox Young Fox, Problem Busters and Gone Workabout. Oliver is a Kiwi, travels a lot, eats a lot and loves sharing good ideas. He is determined to leave the world in a better state than he found it.
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Jon Goodwin

Jon Goodwin works in financial tech implementing clever solutions that help simplify business processes every day. His passions include science, engineering and dreaming up solutions to common problems. In his spare time he is a multimedia producer & friendly co-host of two podcasts the Bouyon Boys and Problem Busters.