MR AND MRS M
Living and working together sounds like a nightmare for some, however, for others it’s their greatest success. So, on National Spouses Day, we ask what it’s really like to be married and run a business together. EPIC Media Group’s Managing Director and Business Manager, Kevin and Lynda Murton, tell all!
Kevin and Lynda own EPIC Media Group, which has been providing a full vehicle graphics service to the waste industry for more than 18 years. The company is one of the UK’s leading providers of a changeable graphics system and also provides full vehicle wraps and customised safety signage. They have a full-service in-house team, including onsite designers, printers as well as an expert installation team, but it wasn’t always this way.
It wasn’t planned from the start! Managing Director, Kevin Murton co-created the company with his then busines partner in 2003. Kevin recounted the story “he fell in love with an American woman, he left us in 2006, married her, divorced her, stayed in America and has become one of the top US salespeople for Jaguar LandRover.” As the business continued to grow Kevin was beginning to find keeping on top of the paperwork as well as looking after the sales, production and installation unmanageable. “It was a natural progression for Lynda to join me in managing the company. She had previous experience in banking and finance so was the perfect match to work alongside me. I needed help with the accounts, I’m good at the client facing bit, including corporate golf days and delivering on our promises, however, I’m not so good when it comes to the paperwork.”
In the early days both Lynda and Kevin mucked in together working on print production and hand coating lamination over the weekend, so the graphics were ready for fitting the following week. Thanks to the success and growth of the business Lynda and Kevin have developed a full in-house team which enabled them to step back from the production side of things and to have more defined roles playing to their key strengths.
When asked what the most surprising aspect was of working together, Kevin said “we are still talking and married! There have been good times, bad times and those in between. We both have totally different outlooks on the business which is why it works. We also know when we’re getting on each other’s nerves and when we need to compromise!”
Separating work and home life can be a challenge for anyone, for those living and working together home life can just be an extension of working hours. Kevin recalls a time when his daughter complained that he and Lynda were always talking about work. From that moment onwards they made a promise to never talk about work in front of their children or during family time. Nowadays Lynda likes to do the 45 minute walk to and from the office with their family dog, Toby, to create the break and head space. “It gives me time to process the day ahead or behind me and arrive at work or home afresh.”
There are times when business decisions need to be made which can end up in stalemate. But Lynda says, “removing the emotion and reminding ourselves that we are working to the same goal helps us make the right decisions. Having different outlooks on the business really helps us make balanced decisions.” A long time ago, their bank manager commented that Lynda’s cautious and Kevin’s not so cautious outlooks made excellent qualities for them working together. Kevin chuckled “that is still true of today – I get reminders from Lynda when I get carried away with an idea that’s going to be ‘great’!”
The rewards from working together can be great in the right partnership. Being able to share the ups and downs of running our own business and being able to support each other by truly understanding the challenges we face. Both Kevin and Lynda agree that the best bit is that they still get the thrill every time a purchase order lands in their inbox or they hear they have won a new contract.
Lynda and Kevin are clearly very passionate about their business and industry they work in. They work hard to deliver an exceptional customer service – their order book, the many customer comments and their team are testament to their achievements.
When asked what their best advice was for other couples thinking about working together, Lynda said“listen to each other and remember you are both working for the same goal.” Kevin added “to compromise and do whatever is the best outcome for your staff and customers.”
Top tips for success:
- Listen to each other
- Determine and respect your individual roles and play to your strengths
- A difference of opinion isn’t a bad thing, it can be helpful for important decision making
- Celebrate your highs together and support each other during the lows
- Learn from your mistakes and experience
- Never lose sight of your end goal
- Have fun working together
- Make time for your relationship outside of work