Kai Murray talks at Startup Grind Edinburgh

by Nathalie Nilsson

April 3, 2018

The third Startup Grind 2018 event was hosted by iZettle in their Edinburgh office on the 29th of March. We had the pleasure of listening to Kai Murray, Shirlaws Group and ex-MD of Search Consultancy, as she answered questions and gave helpful tips for the entrepreneurs present.  

Speaker bio

Kai Murray’s specialty is to help businesses grow. As a business coach she guides business leaders and their teams onto more efficient paths that in turn will lead them to greater pastures. She has a wealth of experience to draw from and is passionate about helping others overcome challenges.

For over ten years Kai held the position of Managing Director of Search Consultancy. She saw the company grow from 170 members of staff to 600 as it branched out into England. After her time with Search Kai spent two years developing a management consulting and mentoring practice, before joining Shirlaws Group in 2010.

Fireside chat

Kai has the calm ease of someone who is used to take centre stage in much more stressful situations. And we learn that she is when she tells us of one disastrous company that she has helped over the years. Most companies are not so bad, she assures us. Most are for different reasons held back by fear, or it is a dynamics issue within a group that is preventing the company from growing.

“What I notice with the companies I work with that do really well are that they are very resilient, and they are very people orientated,” Kai tells us during the fireside chat. She also underlines that these companies implement things and avoid getting stuck in the planning phase.

We return to the topic of scarcity of talent multiple times throughout the talk. It is a topic that worries people, Kai included, even though she herself has not suffered because of it. The solution, she says, is to hire “for attitude before skill, because you can teach skills.” She speaks warmly of the training courses that has set her own staff up for success. Furthermore, if you pay attention to what motivates your employees and look after their needs they will stay.

What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with talented people

She explains that often people vocalize that they are worried about talented people showing them up. This is not the case, she insists, what talented people do is push you up. Find people whose strengths match your weaknesses.

If you look after your team, they will look after your business

Find out what matters to your staff and do your best to provide it. Kai further emphasizes this in a personal story of how a group of long-time employees left her company and took important information with them. The team that remained stepped up without being asked to do so, determined to minimize the damage done to the company. “I could never have survived that horrible situation without my team,” she admits.

Don’t wait, act

Kai describes herself as very action orientated, though she admits that she doesn’t always take the right action. However, inaction is the killer and waiting to see what is going to happen before you act can be downright harmful to your business.

Missed the event?

If you missed the event you can remain calm. It was filmed by Product Forge and it can be found on their website.

About Startup Grind

Startup Grind is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. With monthly events all over the world, it aims to feature fireside chats with successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors. They share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies. Their values of; making friends, not contacts; giving, not taking; and helping others before helping yourself, speak to us as an organisation. We are pleased to be part of the Startup Grind community.

The next Startup Grind event

On the 26th of April 2018 Startup Grind will host its next event in Edinburgh, this time featuring Richard Cooper of Cascade Technologies, Novosound and RBC Consulting. Tickets to the event as well as more information is available via Startup Grind Edinburgh’s website.