This month, Robin Denton, the Managing Director of Dentons Directories, celebrated 40 years since joining the Westbury-based business.
Originally producing only a small number of printed directories, Dentons now publishes an extensive network of printed local business listings. Alongside this, the company has diversified by offering a UK-wide online business directory, Dentons.net and a website design agency, Dentons Digital.
Robin looks back on the ups and downs of the last 40 years and tells us what he thinks the future has in store for this successful local firm…
How did Dentons begin?
In 1967, working from his home in Bath, my father, John Denton, developed an idea to create a local business and services directory to bring in advertising revenue with copies then delivered free to every residential and commercial address within the Bath area. When the Bath directory proved successful, he expanded the idea to the surrounding areas.
Who are your main customers?
Sole traders or small businesses throughout the South West and further afield that need a cost-effective website and digital services, alongside a range of businesses who advertise and consumers who subscribe to or receive their local Dentons Directory. We are proud to have over 90% directory client retention!
What are the most significant changes you have noticed over the last 40 years?
The creation of the internet and social media. In the past, people were reliant on either printed directories or word of mouth and with information now being made available at the click of a button, there was real concern that our directories would dwindle. However, this is not the case and they are as relevant now as they were in 1967.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Just like every other business, we are concerned about the economy, rising costs and cost of living, however, we remain a profitable business that is not scared to invest in offering services that our customers want and need. We are struggling to recruit in some areas. I think people’s mindsets have changed since the pandemic and recruitment has suffered for many businesses. However, we have a great team and have still welcomed some very experienced people to Dentons during the past year.
What is the main growth area for the business at the moment?
While our directory business continues to steadily grow, we have real aspirations for Dentons Digital which we hope within the next two years will make up in excess of 50% of Dentons overall turnover. Our aspiration over the next five years is to be recognised as the leading digital agency for small businesses and sole traders within the South West!
Pictured above: Robin Denton, Managing Director of Dentons Directories