Accelerator: Keep it legal - Q & A

Maxine Raphael founder of Maxine Raphael Specialist Transport and accelerator editorial advisory board member.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

WHY DID YOU SET UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

I left my job as a transport manager for an international trucking firm with the intention to work for myself doing what I loved - driving a van. I didn't envisage the potential for so much growth, for it to become the business it is today. I realised that there was a space in the market for the service I wanted to provide; I was always searching for sub-contractors who were trustworthy, reliable and charged a reflective rate for their service; there was never enough of them.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Everything! It is my way of life. The variety and opportunities are unlimited.

WHAT DO YOU HATE ABOUT IT?

The occasional loneliness, getting the cash to flow in the right direction and the bank to understand you and your needs, recruiting the right staff, and fighting the urge to work 25 hours a day. There can be challenges for a woman working in a male-dominated industry, but you find your own place and get on with it.

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU'VE LEARNT?

The delegation knack, how to be firm but fair, to hold one's nerve and put aside the unnecessary worries. A wise old owl once told me: 'Never worry worry until worry worries you.'

WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS?

Be clear about the service or product you want to offer and how you want your (potential) clients and the outside world to see you. Get the financial aspect in order from the beginning and realise growth before it surprises you. It is far easier to get it right from the start than to have to pick out the bones a few years down the line. Be prepared for the ups and downs but savour every moment - even the seemingly bad can turn around to be something wonderful.

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