The Steak on the Stone Company: Nick and Michelle Metcalf
Nick & Michelle Metcalf on proving the Dragons wrong and living up to their business plan
Company name: The Steak on the Stone Company Ltd
Website: www.steakstones.com Founders: Nick & Michelle Metcalf
Based: Reigate, Surrey
Staff Numbers: 2
Date started: February 2007
Tell us what your business does
We manufacture and sell STEAKSTONES, the Original Home Stone Cooking System. STEAKSTONES allow people to cook their steak exactly as they like and ensure that each mouthful is as hot and delicious as the first. Where did the idea for your business come from?
I travelled extensively in one of my early jobs and enjoyed eating out, especially in restaurants where I experienced something a little different – and it was in one of these restaurants that I got the idea for Steak on the Stone.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Anyone I spoke to who had experienced anything like it loved the experience, but there was no way you could recreate it at home – until now!
What were you doing before starting up?
Before setting up my own business I had worked in sports marketing for 10 years, but always had an entrepreneurial streak. I had no experience in product development, but applied all of my marketing experience to ensure we created a strong and identifiable brand.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Most business are stifled by their very nature and the desire to run my own company was born from knowing I could give a lot more than any company would ever realise.
What planning did you do before you started up?
I attended several start-up up exhibitions and read as much as I could find on every aspect of starting a business. Being a perfectionist, it’s easy to get tied up in all the detail, but my learnings have stood me in good stead.
How did you raise the money?
I sold my house, against the advice of the Dragons! We were more comfortable releasing equity in our property and moving into another house that needed significant work than putting the company immediately in the red.
How have you promoted your business?
We have appeared on Dragons Den and several other TV shows and have also exhibited at shows such as the Ideal Home Show. The shows are very expensive, so you have to be really targeted and ensure the audience will be of the profile the promoters promise.
What has your growth been like?
Our growth has been excellent to date and we are currently establishing some exciting partnerships including a distribution agreement for the US, which will see significant expansion. We have turned over £100,000 in year one and are already in a position where we will shortly be long term profitable. Our original business plan has proved surprisingly accurate to date so we are looking to push our predictions further as we go forward.
What’s the impact on your home life been like?
For the last nine months I’ve been running a full time job in marketing at the same time as running the business, so life has been a little hectic, but I have done this with a view to getting back into the business full time when the money allows and that time has come If it weren’t for the next five businesses I’m planning life would be a little less hectic now! What was your first big breakthrough?
It was actually a supplier contact given to us by another company, which ultimately allowed the product to be launched with a cost 25% of what we could find in the UK with ten times better quality and service.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time? We are also happy to continue our growth ourselves and I am currently working on another two very exciting start-ups, which I will build, with the same principle in mind.