What do you get a successful business couple for Christmas – well, in the case of Damian and Helen Broughton, a date with royalty.
The couple, who are the driving force behind the Lytham-based Danbro accountancy and employment firm, were named MBEs in the New Year’s Honours list for their work with the self-employed, small businesses and local community.
Initially, however, Damian thought it was his wife who had claimed the family bragging rights when he opened the post.
“I thought it was a scam – I wasn’t sure it was legitimate!” he admitted.
“You have to give your consent so we rang up the number and I said to Helen ‘that’s great, I’m really proud of you,’ but I was wondering why I hadn’t got one!
“She told me I hadn’t opened all of the post though and my letter was in there which was great.”
“I suppose it’s another milestone even though it was never a target really,” Helen added.
“You don’t think about things like this which is why, I suppose, we’re a bit humble about it – recognition like that isn’t something you crave.”
Their investiture takes place on March 22 but, with their eldest child Dan on a gap year in New Zealand, Damian and Helen will be accompanied by their daughters, Grace and Elizabeth.
The honours are another string to the couple’s collective bow, having previously won three BIBAs and a number of Red Rose awards.
Their company, founded in 1999, offers financial services to contractors, self-employed individuals, freelance workers, those with their own limited company and small businesses.
It started as a small family business but huge growth means they now operate out of two offices – one based in London and the other at Jubilee House, Lytham.
So what is the secret to their success?
“I think it’s down to timing, being in the right sector at the right time,” Damian said.
“There’s also the element of passion as well as keeping going, a willingness to take risks and the adoption of best practice.
“The most important thing of all, however, is working with the right people in your team and we’ve been very fortunate with that – we’ve been very deliberate about the people we want to recruit and retain.”
Getting the right people into the right jobs is key for any organisation – and can be easier said than done.
Like all firms, Danbro has a list of attributes they look for when hiring employees but, in addition to that talent spotting, the company also uses new ways of looking after staff.
Helen said: “Values are massive as is possessing a good character which synchs with our values.
“They also need to have respect and integrity as well as being someone who doesn’t just do as they are told – they take some ownership but are also prepared to work alongside you through thick and thin.
“As well as baby and maternity money, we also pay for people’s moving costs when they move house as long as they use the company we recommend.
“They are a local firm so, in a way, while we’re supporting local business it’s also about endeavouring to help people with pressure points in their everyday lives.”