Women in Business Series: Babs Murphy

With International Women’s Day on March 8, Bottomline online asked five women in business to share their experiences of the current economic situation and how they are driving their business forward. Today we feature Babs Murphy, chief executive, North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.


How has your organisation performed in the past 12 months?


Many of us in business will look back and reflect on what has been a pretty miserable time with many organisations cutting jobs, losing sales, and scaling back investment. The fragility of the banking sector has also created difficulties for businesses needing finance to invest for growth and create jobs.


That said, I meet many businesses on a daily basis who are telling me they have been finding ways to adapt to the climate and, in some cases, even use it to their advantage. Although most companies will likely remain concerned for some time to come, there are a whole range of initiatives and celebrations which will certainly give a boost to our local economy and business community in 2012.


And the outlook for 2012?


The Olympic Games will bring a massive one-off commercial boost to the country including businesses in Lancashire who have either independently, or through partnership arrangements, secured Olympic contracts.  The net impact of the Open Championship to be held in Lytham this year is forecast to generate £32million worth of new business to the North West.


2012 also brings the challenges and excitement of Preston Guild. Forecast to attract up to one million visitors, the Guild will provide a one-time opportunity to capture the attention of a national and international audience. With its roots firmly in trade and commerce, the Guild is a business focused initiative par excellence, and there are a host of ways businesses will be involved in shining a spotlight on innovation and talent in Preston and Lancashire.


Has your management style changed as a result of the recession?


Everyone has to adapt to change to maximize the performance of their organisation.  To get the best outcomes you find that different situations require different leadership styles, recession or not.


Has the recession taught you anything new?


The issues of the next ten years will be very different from those faced before. Innovative and original thinking will be needed to provide the economic framework to help existing businesses grow and new businesses to start; to create more jobs and ensure local people have the skills to access them.


What has been the best piece of advice you have ever received?


Don’t fool yourself, learn to let go, embrace change, make decisions and be honest.


Which business person inspires you the most?


There are so many for different reasons but a local name that immediately springs to mind is Phillip McIvor of Farmhouse Biscuits. He is genuine, successful, started from humble beginnings and simply did it his way.