by shahzad.akram

Interview with franchisee Marc McCallum

WO: Tell us about yourself? (background, etc.)

MM: I was reasonable at school, but probably more interested in the business side of things. My dad had a small business in the Beef Trade and so on school holidays and weekends from the age of 13 I learned the business from the ground up. 4 am starts, working hard physically and in some horrible conditions. I went full time at 16. It was particularly tough in the Scottish Winters. One year it hit -15!! It was a great grounding for me though and while my dad was a hard task-master he was also inspirational.

The business came to an abrupt end as a result of B.S.E. but it was brilliant in terms of learning worth ethic.

I got involved in a B2B courier service, in 2003 through another family member and got my sister, Helen involved. Helen’s a great organiser and keeps me on my toes. We’re a good team because she handles the detail and lets me deal with business development and sales. The business grew slowly but steadily and we had our best year in 2018/19 but then in the last couple of years suffered quite a bit with The Brexit announcement and then like most, with Covid. I’m sure we will all agree that both are still problematic!

WO: How did you learn about the franchise opportunities that World Options offers?

MM: I had come across World Options a few times over the years as we had developed our own portal and was targeting online sales where I came across World Options. I got frustrated by the amount of time I was spending with developers sorting problems and with continuous development. It was restricting my ability to grow the business. Both Helen and I agreed that something needed to change.

WO: How did you find the process of purchasing a World Options franchise to be like?

MM: H must have been sick taking my calls and receiving my e-mails. Us Scots can be a bit overly cautious but H answered all our questions until it got to the point we had none left. He was very thorough and pleasant to deal with. We used RBS for finance which was straightforward due to our historical trading relationship.

WO: What can we expect to see from your franchise in the coming months?

MM: Well, I’m hitting the targets I’ve set myself. I’m aiming for a £5k margin consistently by end of March 2022 and I’ll do all that I can to hit a £10k margin by end of our first full year as a Franchisee by end of September 2022. That will be tough, but no point in aiming too low. I’m bringing on a sales chap in January to help the cause.

WO: Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to buy a World Options Franchise?

MM: Write down all questions you have. Discuss with your loved ones and write down any questions they may have. Be prepared to be dedicated to the process, work hard and get out of your comfort zone. Give yourself some breathing space. Having 6 months of living expenses behind you is essential. Listen to H and Richard and follow the process. Richard was another one who was sick listening to me for the first month or so after 5 really good days of training. He was and is extremely helpful. We’ve found the whole team at HQ to be supportive. The Litmos archive is also an excellent resource to learn from once you’ve done the training.

marc mccallum and children

WO: What is your favourite holiday?

MM: That’s a tough one. I love the Italian Lakes. I’ve been to most of them and just love the region, the food, the wine and the scenery is stunning. I also like the quieter part of The Algarve. Burgau beach is sensational. I’ve been to Australasia a few times but really prefer Europe.

I also love getting round the coasts and Islands of Scotland. We’re building a holiday rental lodge on Islay for the Whisky and Golf market (with a few friends). It’s nearly ready but still to be landscaped. It will be ready for Spring! We’re looking forward to spending some time there too. I’ve never been to Devon or Cornwall or some of the idyllic parts of Wales so need to get moving.

WO: Hobbies?

MM: I’m a keen golfer but maybe manage an average of once per week during summer. I would love to have the time (and climate) to play more, particularly through winter. I played a lot of amateur football when I was younger and still enjoy watching the odd game. I took up cycling 5 years ago and get out when I can. I need to get myself an indoor bike for the winter months to keep the timber at bay! Spring and Summer is where golf and cycling clash, as one of them needs prioritised on a good day. I’m still a boy at heart and love camping. My wife and 3 daughters humour me. We bought a big air-tent in Summer and we went away 5 or 6 times but in most cases the older girls needed to be coerced. They like their luxuries!

WO: Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

MM: No one single person so not a simple answer I’m afraid.

There have been several strong influences in my life. My Dad, who died young at 46 started the business and gave me the work ethic. My mum, for just being all that a mum should be. My sister Helen and Aunt Rose who both worked with me for years, know me inside out and gave me gentle advice every day, whether I needed it or not. They are really genuine, honest, hard-working and caring people. Nepotism is alive and well in our business, eh?!

My wife Melanie is my greatest inspiration every day. Mel works as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Community for Strathcarron Hospice, near Stirling and every day I hear her giving brilliant care and advice to patients and their families. She has her own mobile and a work mobile but gives folk her own mobile number so they can get her out of hours. Not great when watching a movie but how can I complain?! It is inspirational to be around someone who does that with genuine warmth and doesn’t complain. Despite her job, she is fun-loving with a wicked sense of humour. I’ve been on the end of a few pranks in my time!