A 2,260% increase in revenue in a week with little to no extra cost...

Consulting Services

I can't stand most reality TV but I'm oddly drawn to a few programs on the Quest Channel. They are mostly about gold mining in Australia.

I'm not a lifelong fan of gold mining but I can appreciate the culture of hard work, grit and determination in the pursuit of opportunity that these programmes portray.

An episode this week made me think of the position many B2B companies are in.

The episode of 'Aussie Gold Hunters: Mine SOS' was one where a few experts were dropped into a failing mine to see if they could turn around their fortunes.

The mine in question was a family affair. They had initial success and the excitement, thrill and adrenalin rush that went with it.

But for the last 18 months, their revenue had dried up. They found around $230 of gold a week which wasn't even enough to cover their costs. Their credit cards were propping them up.

The TV program parachuted 2 experts in to see what they could do to help. The gold miners 'wildest dream' was to get to around $800 a week.

Here's what happened next...

Opportunity, Money (Paydirt) literally lying around on the ground

The expert took about 2 hours to review their working practices and immediately identified that they were oblivious to the fact they were walking on money every day.

The gold miners were using 1 specific method of prospecting that entailed:

  • metal detecting the surface for gold nuggets. Detectors have an effective depth of 2ft.
  • scraping off the top 2ft of the surface layer to provide a new pad to metal detect for nuggets
  • repeat the process until they hit bedrock where they can't scrape down any further

This was the process they had operated day in, day out, for 2 years. That was how they were set up, that's what equipment they had and that's all they knew.

They were looking for nuggets (large gold pieces) but ignored the by-product of their work - the paydirt (the technical term for the scrapped dirt laying around everywhere).

The expert knew that the paydirt could be laden with gold-rich particles, that when processed correctly, would reveal returns.

He ran some samples of the dirt.

His face lit up.

It was one of the highest concentrations of gold particles per sample he'd ever seen.

Sure, it would need some new (inexpensive) equipment to process it and learn a new way of working but the returns were likely to be phenomenal.

Although it seemed obvious to the expert, the gold miners were going deeper and deeper into debt when the solution was right under their feet.

Literally and figuratively!

Either they lacked the specialised knowledge to see the answer or they had become blinkered that the way they currently worked was the only way.

I see this a lot in companies.

A company typically has valuable assets that are potential revenue creators sitting dormant in their business.

Whether they are too entrenched in 1 way of working, don't have the benefit of 'fresh eyes' or are just too pig-headed and stuck in their ways, they overlook the fact they are sitting on unused and underutilized assets that can revolutionise the finances in their business.

Specialised Knowledge and Breakthrough Information

When the gold miners originally hit gold they were at the western portion of their claim. That was where their initial success was.

When they had processed that gold they began moving in the direction they thought success would continue. They moved South East following what they thought was the path of the old river bed.

Gold usually travels from the high ground through rivers and gets deposited in dried-up river beds.

They had followed this path for around 18 months with little to no returns.

Committed to their plan, however, they ignored all signs they needed to regroup and replan and stuck to their guns (or detectors!)

The second expert was a geologist. He spent a day on-site, took some samples and did some background research.

Here are his findings:

  • His samples indicated high gold levels in the North and Northwest areas of the claim. Totally the opposite direction the gold miners had moved from their original starting point. It made sense. This was the upstream course of the river. The miners had been working downstream.
  • He had done background research and uncovered an entire, in-depth geological survey of the claim undertaken by a large mining company a few years back. The survey supported the predictions of high gold levels in the North and North West. It clearly showed no gold in the path the miners had been diligently working on for the last 18 months. If the miners had uncovered this survey (specialist knowledge) themselves (they could have) they would have saved themselves 18 months of wasted effort and almost crippling debt.

The geologist hadn't done the previous survey.

He was smart enough to do his research and found a piece of specialised knowledge that, if the gold miners had found themselves, would have transformed their fortune 18 months earlier.

There are so many lessons here businesses.

  • Make a plan based on the best knowledge you can acquire at the time
  • Constantly reiterate the plan
  • Constantly seek out better information
  • Bring in fresh eyes that aren't blinkered in the way that you might be
  • Bring in expertise from people that know what to look for and where to look for it
  • Look for ALL of the opportunities you create by following your plan. Not just the ones that fit your current working practice.

The result for the gold miners was an astonishing rise from $230 a week to a predicted $5,200 a week with little new investment or overheads.


What other lessons can we learn from this? Let me know in the comments please...