6 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Alyson Murray is the founder of one of the UK’s premier food smoking brands, Hot Smoked. Established in 2008 from a love of cooking outdoors, the company has brought wood smoke flavour to BBQs everywhere through its award winning starter kits. Alyson has a background in agency and client side marketing, including the branding and launch of Orange mobile phones and extensive travel in her role as Marketing Director for Timex watches, launching the brand and its fashion licenses in far flung places such as Russia. With a degree in French and German and a love of art and gardening, Alyson has completed the Barcelona Ironman Triathlon and 7 marathons. She lives in rural Devon with her husband, two children and dog, Ruby.
What would you love to share with other women to encourage them to start their own business?
Starting out on your own is pretty daunting and whilst you lose the financial safety net of working for a large company, a dedicated IT department (you won’t realise how much you need it till it’s gone) and seemingly bottomless budget, you gain immeasurable freedom and flexibility. You will need to turn your hand to everything associated with running a business from finance to purchasing to human resources – never a dull moment and a few sleepless nights. There are huge challenges, breaking into a male dominated sector was one I encountered, and the inevitable ups and downs keeping up with shifting marketplaces. Be prepared to roll your sleeves up at every turn! I have worked with many friends along the way, two of which were inspired to launch their own successful businesses The Original Surfboard Company and The Oil Hut. They were probably thinking, well if she can do it, so can I. And they did!
What are your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
1. Choose something you love to do. It may never have to feel like ‘work’
2. Don’t be afraid to seek advice, network and ask lots of questions
3. For a gift company, be prepared for it to take 3 years to establish. Keep going!
4. Bring in expert help when you can if this is not your skill set,eg an accountant or web designer
5. Finance is key to expansion, be prepared to invest to progress.
Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?
Jasmine Harrison – The youngest ever female to row the Atlantic solo. She completed the event last month.
Chrissie Wellington – Four time Ironman Triathlon World Champion. She triumphed through sheer hard work and natural talent and a non conformist, maverick approach.
Malala Yousafzai – Incredible bravery in someone so young to champion a cause in direct conflict with the Taliban who tried to assassinate her and her wider cultural setting
Jacinda Ardern – New Zealand PM. Dynamic mother and leader!
Dame Carolyn McCall – Quietly carved out an exemplary track record, Chief Exec of ITV and in her 7 years as Chief Exec at Easyjet seemed to bring in a ‘woman’s touch’ overseeing massive change in customer service standards.
What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?
‘You learn as much from failure as from success. Though no one admires you for it.’
(from novel ‘We are Completely Beside Ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler)
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