Published on February 24, 2009

Ed’s musings on the number eight!

Whilst visiting a client’s offices last week I bumped into an old acquaintance – someone I had had business dealings with some years back. 

During our wait in reception the guy asked me how the business was doing and how many people we had on the team these days. When I told him there were eight of us (which to me feels like the right number) he looked me square in the face and triumphantly told me he now employed 60 people. My initial reaction was “Wow – well done you!” Interestingly he didn’t seem so convinced, bemoaning the fact that he seems to spend most of his days dealing with “personnel issues” etc. and less time with his clients. 

And that got me to thinking.

We may only have a small team but actually it’s the right team – in terms of size and the people in the team. When Tracy and I started the business one of our guiding principles was that we always wanted to over-service our clients and make sure that they always got our full attention. 

Since that day we have worked hard to make sure we have never let our clients, all of whom we value dearly, feel they are just one of a number. And surely that should be the mantra of all service businesses – the client should always be at the centre of who and what we are. We should look after them like they are our only client and give them the very best we are capable of at all times.

So eight years down the line can I honestly say Stockdale Martin remains true to that guiding principle?


And how can I be so sure? Simple, really – It’s in the small things. 

The other week for example, when we had that crazy few days of snow and most of the country ground to a halt, it would have been really easy for any one of us to say we were going to stay at home. Snow stopped play. But every one in the team carried on. People walked two or three miles in the snow to get to work, or abandoned their cars by the side of the road and walked, or dialled into the system and carried on working. Laptops, mobiles, Blackberries – everything came into play. 

Why? Because everyone wanted to keep going, to deliver the work we feel honoured to be given, not to let our clients down. 

Thank you guys – you are a great team! 

So 60 might be the right number for some but for us, yes, eight is the right number.


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