As Managing Director of Global Freight, no two days are the same for Nicole Gunter.
Find out about a typical working week, her work-life balance, and what the biggest challenge is to exporters and the businesses they serve:
As a freight forwarding company, we move products locally, nationally, and internationally. We have shipped everything from documents to the US to a large crane to Mongolia, agricultural products to Canada, and last year we shipped human ashes to Slovakia.
It’s been 23 years since I started Global Freight and I think it’s fair to say there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ week. One week I am compiling tenders for large contracts and the next week I am dealing with agents in South Africa to sort out issues. I do have the dull days where, as the managing director, I have to look after the administration and running of the business, but with a great team behind me, we all work hard to achieve our goals.
I have great staff that work tirelessly to ensure our customers are looked after. They are not only conscientious but also professional. We chat regularly about issues and jobs that are on going and I take a genuine interest in what they are doing. It’s great to have diligent staff who are knowledgeable and who care about the business as much as I do.
Being MD of a business that works globally means there’s rarely downtime. We work in a 24-hour industry so emails are constantly coming through via my mobile and laptop so I am constantly reading them.
But I very rarely get work related phone calls at home during a normal week. We have a 24-hour approach and our office phone is diverted to a mobile during out of office hours to a staff member.
As for emails, I make sure I keep an eye on them regularly and answer where appropriate. Emails are a silent mode of communication and probably the least invasive. I have woken up in the middle of the night and not been able to fall asleep, and then found myself answering emails – probably to the detriment of falling asleep again.
As a business owner, I feel that work life balance is to a certain degree dictated to you by the nature of your business. I have a fantastic team who cover whilst I am away or not in the office. This means that I do communicate with staff whilst on holiday via email or the odd phone call, but I am the business owner and sometimes it’s just simply necessary.
And since my husband joined the business, it’s very rare that we are far away from work but I love my job so it’s not an issue!
The biggest challenge facing our industry at the moment is Brexit. The good thing about this specific challenge is that as a company we are all really looking forward to the changes. We regularly work through various scenarios to try and second-guess what might happen, but it’s an ever-changing landscape and one we are looking to face head on.
But, funnily enough, the biggest opportunity is also that same word, Brexit! As we leave the EU, the world will open up and become our new playground. The uncertainty of Brexit means that a lot of our customers who work in Europe are already looking at new and exciting markets and this means more opportunities for us to be able to support them.
We are constantly looking at the news to see if we can find hints of what life might be like after Brexit, but at the moment we are telling customers to do what they are already doing and to wait and see.
Brexit will definitely be a key point in my career as it’s one of the biggest changes to influence export and import to take place during my career.
Other highlights have included winning Shropshire Chamber’s Best Small Business Award in 2010. To me, it was recognition that what we as a business were, and are, doing is the right thing.
Likewise, when we won the Apprentice of the Year award last year, it showed that we were investing the time and effort into the next generation of freight forwarders. Thankfully I’ve not had too many lowlights in the 23 years of business and long may this continue.