The nature of healthy risk taking – enterprise, adventure and ambition go hand in hand: 'No Ceilings for Dominic'
From burger van to multimillion pound business… the MD of ceilings and partitions installations company Dancor Group believes that the true entrepreneur is unstoppable. Dominic Goodale, managing director of Hampshire-based Dancor Group, has a vision. He wants to turn the ceiling and partition company that he founded five years ago into a £1bn business….
By Helen Dunne
Online exclusive: Dancor Group
He says: “It may take me another 15 to 20 years, but the long-term plan is to build a £1bn business. And then, once we’ve done that, to build another.”
There is a long way to go, although Dancor Group’s growth to date has been impressive. In its first year of trading, it generated turnover of just £300,000.
Last year, turnover reached £3.7m and this year it is projected to come in at between £6m and £7m. “We are limited by our own aspirations,” says Mr Goodale.
“I used to visit my first bank manager, spell out my vision and he would smile at me. I bumped into him only recently, and showed him how I was getting on and he said:
‘People aren’t laughing at you any more.’ Anything is possible. Take Sir Richard Branson. He has built six or seven £1bn businesses.”
Sir Richard is something of a hero to Mr Goodale. “I met him at the airport once and he spent about 15 minutes listening to me as I spelt out my plans for a business. He was really down to earth,” he says. “I told him that I’d really enjoyed reading his book, and he said: ‘I look forward to reading your book one day’.”
Mr Goodale pauses. “I didn’t really read his book. I’ve never read a book in my life. I always get to page three and put it down. I need to keep active. Still, he’s never going to read my book. Is he?”
Dancor Group is the third business that Mr Goodale has founded. When he left school at 16, Mr Goodale bought a burger van and started a business that lasted 18 months.
He then broke his neck in a car accident, and was out of work for almost two years. Once back on his feet, Mr Goodale established a business assembling products for Dyson. When the eponymous vacuum maker moved production overseas, Dancor Logistics (now known as Dancor Group) was formed.
“My friend Sean Hellier, who is now our technical director, was installing ceilings and partitions and I was looking for an idea. I started the business with Sean and two other guys installing for me. I was the one out selling and marketing to clients. We had seven customers that first year,” he recalls. Mr Goodale claims that the idea of working for someone else was anathema to him. “I wanted to create my own future. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, I always say that there are those that can’t be an entrepreneur, and they can’t be helped. And there are those that can, and you can’t stop them.” He is unperturbed by suggestions that the property market is slowing, and may affect Dancor’s business. “Whatever the marketplace, you just drive as hard as you can to win the business. The market we operate in has not grown 120pc since Dancor’s launch, yet we have.
If the market decreases by 20pc, then you just have to work 20pc harder to get that back.” He adds: “It is down to professionalism and personal talent. You must deliver the best product and service that you can.”
Mr Goodale urges potential entrepreneurs to follow his lead. “You hardly need any money to start. I sold my drum kit for £750 to buy my burger van. It is like rolling a pebble down the beach: you find that £10 can quickly become £100.”