This is a pretty remarkable story due to the ordinariness of what was required to create the huge increase in profit.

Like many trade businesses, this one charges for labour and materials. Previously, labour was being used to capacity but profits weren’t flowing. In theory, it should always have been quite profitable, but it wasn’t.

The change was simply a case of paying attention to the one thing that mattered most at that time for profits, which was focussing on invoicing properly and ensuring all the labour that was hired out was being properly charged to clients. Exciting, no, profitable, yes. The business’s operations had always been well-organised and provided a quality service so these things weren’t an issue. To change this focus, there was a staffing change, however it wasn’t a dramatic change, just getting a bit of a hand with project management so the owner, Tom, could focus more on invoicing. Operations didn’t change at all.

To Tom’s credit, when profits were low he fully confronted the fact that something was wrong, that he was responsible and that no one else was going to fix it. Profits hadn’t been so low that he was in any sort of difficulty, but they weren’t what they should have been. Furthermore, what he did was pay very close attention to a routine, boring task. It didn’t happen straight away and there was a period of being uncomfortable when confronting what had happened, however the staggering end result is well worth it and shows what can happen when you, metaphorically speaking, confront and slay your dragons. You can get the pot of gold.