Are You Really Tapping Into Your Money Centre?

When it comes to finding what I term as the ‘money centre’ in your business it’s not always obvious to the business owner what that is, or where it is. Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes to see a problem but more so, to have the knowledge to find it and make it work, or to fix it.

With this in mind, I recall hearing the story about a 19th century mill owner, living in the north of England, (and you might relate your business to this story). He was worried because the steam boiler that provided light and power to his entire factory had broken down. He’d called in many proclaimed ‘experts’ to repair it, but none had been successful. He kept repeating to himself that ‘time is money’, as he counted the cost of lost production time.

At this point a man in blue overalls was shown into his office and said, “I can repair your boiler system for you, sir”.

The mill owner, being very skeptical was not the least bit impressed and replied, “I’ve had the very best engineers in to try and repair my boiler and they’ve all failed. I’m standing here looking at you in your old tatty blue overalls and a tiny kit bag of tools which doesn’t look as though you’ve got much in there at all, so why am I supposed to believe you can repair my boiler?”

“With the greatest respect sir” the man replied, “For this job, I’ll just need the tool necessary for this particular problem. Now are you willing to let me go and fix it for you?”

The mill owner was still unimpressed, but thinking he had nothing to lose, he led the man into the boiler room. The man could see that it was indeed a large boiler with miles and miles of piping which was snaking all around the factory. From the boiler was the hissing and clunking sound of pipes knocking but no sound of any machinery working.

“Are you going to get on with it then?” asked the mill owner in a frustrated and patronizing tone. Quietly and without fuss the man selected one tool from his kit bag. It was a small rubber mallet.

Very methodically, he began to tap gently on the various places and listened carefully to the responses he was getting from the machinery. For ten minutes he tapped at pressure valves, at thermostats and at u-bends. Finally, he returned to his kit bag and took out a much larger mallet.

He went over to one particular section of piping and gave it a big firm thump with the mallet. The effect was immediate. Water began to flow and steam began to be pumped which started the machinery working in the mill. The problem was fixed.

The mill owner was delighted. “Fantastic, and thank you. Please send me your bill and by all means double your prices if you wish”.

“That won’t be necessary”, said the man.

Some days later when the bill arrived, the owner of the mill was stunned. The amount was far higher than he’d expected. A hundred pounds was a huge amount back at the end of the nineteenth century. Although he had paid more than this to some of the so called ‘experts’ who had failed to fix the problem, they had been there for days at a time. Whereas, this man had only spent ten minutes.

The mill owner instructed his secretary to ask for a breakdown of the costs.

The reply came by return of post:

For ten minutes of tapping      £ 1

For knowing where to tap      £99

Total                                       £100

And this in a way is the same with finding the money centre in your business. You can spend a lot of time and money trying to find where it is, but it takes the right person at the right time to know where to tap into your business and find out where that is.

Want me to help you? Drop me an email on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *