Her Business Story: Helena Murphy, Founder of The Guide to Growth

In today’s interview we meet Helena Murphy, the female founder behind The Guide to Growth.

Helena, tell us more about your business Guide to Growth

I wear many hats {like most entrepreneurs!} but my work is split into two main parts. On one hand, I work with entrepreneurs 1:1 and through my online courses to put strategic processes and systems in place for their businesses and create actionable growth plans, manage their money and raise investment. My clients call me the growth guru!

The other part of my business is working with corporates, accelerators and some of the world’s most innovative funding platforms to coach their start-ups and manage  their investments. I then bring all of that experience back to the other side of the table to the work I do with my 1:1 clients so it’s a nice full circle. I’m also an active investor in small businesses.

Is this your first business?

No! I actually started my first side-hustle at 16 selling on eBay. Sophia Amuruso style (without the bankruptcy!). I continued doing this throughout university and then when I graduated with a degree in Sustainable development, I took my side hustle full-time and combined my knowledge of online selling with my degree and I was selling sustainable fashion brands online. It was a huge learning curve. I saw a lot of initial success with sales and I was quite well-profiled in the press. I was in a BBC documentary and even a film about entrepreneurship. But underneath I was hiding from what was actually going on with the fundamentals of my business – the numbers. I just saw the sales coming in and casually ignored things like cash-flow and spreadsheets thinking it would all just magically work out – it didn’t! I suffered from serious burn-out and stress-related alopecia. I learnt so much from my first business and met so many incredible entrepreneurs and without that experience I wouldn’t be where I am today

How long did it take for you to put your idea into action? What prompted you to act?

Not long at all! My current business has grown very organically through word of mouth over a number of years. I’m in the unique position of having been through 8 rounds of funding now and worked on a further 34 for clients so it’s not long before word gets around that you know a thing or two about fundraising, strategy and growth. My motivation for starting my business was a result of my own experiences of fundraising and growing businesses. There is a lot of information out there, but I don’t think there is enough resource and information helping entrepreneurs with the nitty gritty stuff – which is where I come in. The work I do now is the help I wish I had had when I started out.

What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?

I was pitching for investment for the first time. I came down to London from Glasgow and met with investors in a boardroom in The City. The room had a view of the London Eye and Big Ben and I remember walking in and thinking, “oh God, I feel way out of my depth here”. It didn’t help that I was the only female, I was 22 and everyone else was in a suit.

What has been your proudest moment?

When I made my first sale. I was so proud of myself for identifying a gap in the market and selling a product to someone I didn’t know!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?

Don’t ignore the money! If you ignore the money and the nitty gritty stuff, it will come back to bite you later. If you start with a clear strategy, you know your numbers and you take action and execute on your ideas – you enable yourself to run a business you love and do the things that truly light you up because you have a plan and all those other pieces of the jigsaw are in place.

What does success mean to you?

Waking up every day and doing something you love with the people you love.

Which women inspire you?

My mama and my grandma – both are absolute powerhouses who have instilled strong values in my family and are the incredibly hard-working women.

I also love Karen Brady, Sheryl Sandberg and fellow Glasgow Girl Michelle Mone – we have a very similar background.

And which men?

My dad! He started running his first business in his late forties and was my example that anything you set your mind to is possible, no matter how far away from your current reality it may seem.

My partner {who is also my business partner} inspires me every day. He’s a huge fan of vision boards and pushing the boundaries of our growth.

What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?

“Stop wishing, start doing.”

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