Q&A with Cargocall franchise owner Donna Ralston

Q: Where did you pick up your copy of The Franchise Magazine?

Donna: I spotted the March (2008) edition of The Franchise Magazine in a newsagents at Waterloo station. At the time I'd had a really long day at work, commuting up to London and felt really fed up - I knew then that I needed to change career direction.

Q: What made the Cargocall profile stand out?
D: International freight forwarding franchise Cargocall stood out because it is a white collar franchise, with low overheads. The thought of being involved with international trade also appealed.

Q: What was your initial impression of the Cargocall management?
D: My initial impressions of the management team were that they were very friendly and open - this has subsequently proved to be correct.

Q: What territory do you own and what are your targets for the business?
D: I own the South West area comprising the Guildford, Portsmouth and Southampton postcode areas. My targets for the business are to become the forwarder of choice in the South West and to grow the business at a steady pace.

Q: What was your previous occupation and was it easy to make the transition to franchise owner?
D: I was a Strategy Manager for a telecommunications company and had done a stint on their board so I was quite used to decision making and working under my own steam. The transition to franchise owner was fairly smooth, although it's a bit daunting to be responsible for everything when you're used to having a large team around you. The benefit of joining a franchise is that while you are your own boss you have access to ongoing support from the franchisor - so you are never totally on your own.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being your own boss?
D: The thing I enjoy most about being my own boss is the ability to make a decision on the spot - you don't have to go in front of numerous committees and get approval signatures, you just decide to do something and do it!

Q: What are your interests outside running your business?
D: Outside running the business, I'm a mum of two small children. I am trying to get fit and I am currently researching my family history!

Q: As a working mother what would you say are the benefits of investing in the Cargocall franchise?
D: I could have got a part-time job to fit in with my childcare requirements. However, with Cargocall the work is more intellectually stimulating and better paid. As your own boss you can also fit work around any family commitments - and the great thing with Cargocall is that head office will take your calls when you go on sales visits!

Q: Who is your hero in the business world?
D: My hero in the business world is Richard Branson - I've always admired his guts and 'can do' attitude - he once said he'd get a planeload of people somewhere when he didn't even own a plane and that was the start of Virgin Atlantic!

Q: When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
D: When I was a child I had a stint when I wanted to be a social worker but I've wanted to be involved in business since I was a teenager.