Remember your first summer job?
As a teen, David Dunkley worked a number of summer jobs with local Northampton firm Soiltechnics. Not for one moment did he ever imagine having a future with the business beyond those early days and so, after earning his degree in Geotechnical Engineering, David moved to London.
In 2002, he was tempted back to Soiltechnics. “I planned to stay a couple of years but I’m still here because I found the work so interesting,” he said. “Every site’s different. Our projects range from small house extensions and factories, to roads and 50-storey towers.”
Now you’ll find David sitting proudly at the helm of the business as Director, part-owner, and, in another twist of fate, his responsibilities now include overseeing the finance function – a role he was pitched into after the departure of a fellow Director and Financial Director.
“I had no formal training in finance – I just picked up the system we had,” explains David. “So, it was incredibly helpful that we brought Fortus on board at that time. Our advisor, Stephen Watts, has been a constant at our side ever since.”
So, what’s the Fortus and Soiltechnics success story?
With Fortus at its side to help ‘dig for victory’, ground investigation experts Soiltechnics unearthed buried treasure: a 150% turnover boost in just five years. To uncover said treasure, the company needed best practice advice on buying out a shareholder where the negotiations had become somewhat protracted.
“In this situation my advice to them, often during late-night phone calls, was to ‘do the deal’ and move on,” explains Director, Head of Built Environment Sector at Fortus, Stephen Watts. “When you’re so deeply focused on the sale, it can start to affect the business. And that, according to Soiltechnics, was the single best piece of advice they’d had.
“It all boils down to having honest conversations. The company’s Directors appreciate the fact they can simply pick up the phone and have a chat with us whenever they need help and advice,” he added.
With Stephen’s guidance, the transaction was successfully completed with a restructure that facilitated the Director’s exit in the most tax-efficient manner possible.
And there’s more…
On top of helping manage a difficult shareholder buyout, Fortus also provided day-to-day accountancy and HR support where they lacked in-house resource. Taking on those necessary, yet time-consuming aspects of the business, like drawing up formal contracts and transitioning to new financial software, meant David could help plan for the long-term future of the business.
“Stephen also led me through some business development workshops that helped me to think more strategically about the business as a whole, rather than just as a financial model.”
Stephen added, “Through delivering quality and making sure they offer the right level of attention to the customers, Soiltechnics has achieved fantastic growth over the years. From a starting-point of £2 million, company turnover sailed past the £5 million mark in 2020 – an impressive milestone given the impact of Covid-19. We’ve enjoyed working closely with Soiltechnics since 2014 and are proud to play a part in their sustained success.”
For more information please visit: www.fortus.co.uk