We recently took part in a feature in our local INCheshire magazine covering five of Cheshire’s ‘entrepreneurial twosomes’ who are busy building successful commercial enterprises across diverse business sectors. See what we had to say to Matthew Robinson in our interview here …..
In 2011, a year after meeting, Darren Dronfield and Donna O Keefe set up Cheshire Granite Worktops Limited. Both experienced professionals in their forties, the couple merged the best of the old ways and introduced new ways of working to create a business which would put the consumer at the heart of everything they did.That strategy has certainly paid off and now 90% of their business is direct with home owners.
Launching in the depths of the recession, when the credit crunch was also the name of a drink in the local pub where they lived, was not without its challenges. Resilience, nerves of steel and financial backing proved to be the key to keep the plates spinning and to steer the business into more positive economic waters.
Darrens career background has always been in stone masonry, setting up his first business in 1994 operating from a small workshop under the railway arches in Manchester.
He remembers very clearly and reminisces, Our work was secured by word of mouth, no advertising or website, so I was only as good as my last job.
The way businesses operated was very different back then, with only a handful of fabricators skilled in creating stone surfaces in marble and granite. Without the power of the internet and social media, businesses grew from referrals, and competition was scarce.
Darrens business thrived and supplied predominately the trade sector, including developers, kitchen studios and builders.
Fast forward 17 years and competition is now vast in the granite and quartz worktop sector; where the internet andsocial word of mouth are King, where young and old alike are conversant with Google keyword searches.
Consumers are empowered like never before and Darren recognised that he had to change the way he did business from the days under the arches, when advertising meant a listing in the Yellow Pages.
With a background as a professional marketer, Donna had previously worked in design agencies for more than 20 years, developing brand, advertising and direct mail campaigns for clients in the hi-tech sectors.
After a few years working in Australia she returned home and started working with small businesses to help them utilise the power of social media and digital marketing to grow their business. She had also seen changes in how consumers went about making purchasing decisions.
Whilst they may disagree on some business aspects, one thing they are both passionate about is doing things right and never giving a customer a mediocre product or service.
Both commenting, they explained, People pay a premium for granite worktops and they deserve the highest standards and best results. As the owners of the business we ensure this happens, from quality workmanship to exceptional customer service.
But dont take their word for it They have 58 customer reviews on the independent business directory FreeIndex, where they have been rated 4.9 out of a possible 5. www.cheshiregraniteworktops.co.uk