Gloria Murray: From Hairdresser to Accountant to the Queen of Profit

once-upon-a-time

 

We all know Gloria Murray as the Queen of Profit and Director of Murray Associates Accountants Ltd. As you know she is a UK award-winning accountant and business growth specialist who has a passion to help small business owners create sustainable profitable businesses. But the story of how she got there was inspired by watching one of the greatest business advisers she has seen in ‘The Troubleshooter’ a TV programme back in the 90’s.

But what you might NOT know is Gloria was once a successful hairdresser in a Glasgow city-centre salon. When she left school she studied Psychology, “after a few months I realised the students (and most of the lecturers were mad as hatters). I was too, of course, but hindsight is a wonderful thing” Gloria laughs.

She finished her degree, did a stint as Vice-President of the Student’s Union and then left for Paris, where she worked as an au pair for a year improving her French (and ironing the family’s socks!!)

When back in Glasgow she fell into a job as Manager of a Health and Fitness Club. “I was very interested in fitness and saw an advert for a fitness instructor – no experience necessary as training would be given. Thirty years ago there were not many about. I went for the interview and was asked if I would become the manager instead. I was gobsmacked” she said.

However it was not the job she expected involving a lot of high pressure sales. “This really did not sit well with my values, so I left after a year” she comments.

A chance meeting with a hairdresser friend resulted in her training as a hairdresser.

Unfortunately she didn’t finish her training, when her son came along it just wasn’t possible to do the long hours of training and commuting.

To cut a long story short she started her own business when her son was born (that was a business disaster), moved to Newcastle to work in Administration at Newcastle University and then The Midlands to help in her partner’s business.

Since her first foray into self employment she became fascinated in what made a business successful and was an avid fan of Sir John Harvey- Jones and his ‘Troubleshooter’ TV programme in the early 90s and thought she would love to do that.

“What I loved about Sir John was his down to earth approach. He started with the numbers and then spoke to the people in the business, from the Boardroom to the factory floor. It was about numbers but also the people and I thought that was a great approach” she comments.

Eventually she returned to Glasgow to go back to hairdressing (same salon) and finish her training! While still a hairdresser she got more involved in the running of the salon and took over the financial management. She completed her Institute of Bookkeeping qualification and started studying her professional exams for the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants. “I wasn’t intending on becoming an accountant at this point, but just wanted to know more. Whenever I asked the salon’s accountant a question on improving the business or saving tax I could never get a straight answer. I thought I didn’t know enough to ask the right questions and that’s where my curiosity came from” said Gloria.

The idea for her own business came after a visit to the salon’s large accountancy firm. “We walked into this very plush, very large reception area with two receptionists behind this huge circular desk. They were having a conversation so just ignored us for around ten minutes until they had finished. Then we were taken in to see the accountant who proceeded to tell us he’d heard we’d recently taken on a receptionist and how we didn’t need one. The stylists could easily do the job while cutting hair!” he said.

Gloria remembers “That was when the light bulb went off in my head! I suddenly realised most accountants had no experience of the real world of small business as they normally went straight from University into working in a practice. They didn’t understand the importance of customer service or how difficult it is to run a business with all the juggling you have to do. I decided at that point I was going to start my own accountancy practice that was aimed at doing more for small businesses than just providing information for the tax man or Companies House. One that focused on the needs of the small business owner and didn’t patronise, use jargon or intimidate” It took her another few years before she could realise these ambitions until she finished her studies and gained experience. Since she opened her business nearly 20 years ago she has been building upon the knowledge and experience she has gained from being a business owner herself and seeing how other successful businesses operate and she has distilled this into her Pricing for Profits System. “I have seen many businesses make the same mistakes over and over and to be truthful I made a lot of them too at the start. A much faster way to be successful is to learn from other people’s mistakes than make them yourself” she smiles.

That was when the light bulb went off in my head! I suddenly realised most accountants had no experience of the real world of small business

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