Murray Edwards, president
The Mako Group
Joined NFIB: 2015
Tell me about your business. What do you do, and how did you get started?
After spending 30-plus years working in the corporate world, decided in late 2014 it was time to change directions. Most of my corporate career was spent with the small-business community as an advisor educating their staffs on products and programs that suppliers mandated. It became obvious that many small businesses were challenged by these requirements and when they reached out for assistance, the cost for that assistance was prohibitive. Additionally, the suppliers were only interested in assisting when it best served their agenda. This left many struggling with their day to day activities. I created The Mako Group as an affordable alternative. Our only agenda is to assist small-business owners with the challenges they face daily–hiring the proper personnel, increasing productivity, becoming more competitive and profitable.
Has your business changed over the years?
When I started my company in 2014, my primary goal was to be a trusted advisor to business owners and their staff. Someone that they could have frank discussions on their concerns surrounding all aspects of their business. What I discovered, that outside of their daily challenges, the overwhelming effect on their ability to achieve success was governmental overreach – rules and regulations, tax-codes. Unfortunately, due to many of these burdensome regulations, I watched as small businesses across the region decide it was too difficult and costly to comply and closed their doors.
In early 2016, I decided to make a dramatic shift in our focus. I decided that it was time to start giving back to the community that had so graciously provided me with a long and successful career. The Mako Group’s direction as a company that worked with the SMB community, shifted to one that has become an advocate on behalf of the SBM community. Our efforts are now focused on understanding state and federal lawmakers, what is being proposed and how these proposals could affect the business community. We act as a voice for companies and individuals who otherwise might not have the ability or willingness to speak out.
What was the hardest lesson you learned as a small business owner?
I think that one of the hardest challenges that many small businesses face, including myself, is being open to change, willingness to be flexible and taking criticism in the proper light.
What is the greatest challenge facing your business?
I typically look at challenges as opportunities. When confronted with one, I try to determine what it will take to turn it into an advantage.
What has been your greatest success as a small business owner?
I continue to mentor and coach a few select companies and individuals and as they have success, I have success. One of my most rewarding has been working with a group of young men as they started up their company a few years back. They recently called to let me know that the strategies and programs that we had established, enabled them to win a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract with a national firm. Our strategies allowed them to win this contract against much larger organizations.
Why did you join NFIB?
Several of the companies that I had worked, were or had been members of NFIB and they felt the organization had their interest in mind. I felt that based on our company’s direction, that NFIB would be a great choice to provide a voice for the SMB community.
How have you been active in NFIB?
I joined NFIB in 2015, in 2016 was invited to join the Alabama Leadership Council and was just recently privileged to be named as the 2nd Vice Chairman of the ALC. My goals with the NFIB are to provide education to the small business community to affect change in state and federal policies. By bringing together a diverse group of small businesses we can bring attention to the issues that can hinder growth and limit the prospect of greater success.