Mercator CEO: "We will be 450 people by the end of the year"

Marc Churchouse explains how he grew from IT recruitment startup to digital powerhouse with zero marketing
BizAge Interview Team
Photo of the Mercator team on a yacht

What does the Mercator Group do? 

Mercator launched in 2006, it started out as a niche IT recruitment company. The company changed direction in 2018 to become a digital delivery consultancy where the team builds digital services for large private and public sector clients. The great thing about working with some of the largest central government departments is that Mercator gets to build services that really make a difference to the country and put the user at the centre of everything.

What's your biggest strength?

My leadership style is one of my biggest strengths. It is what has helped us build a strong team to deliver quality services to our high-profile clients. My goal has always been to empower staff to make their own decisions and speak up with their own ideas and be proactive in their roles. I cannot scale myself without empowering others, I delegate and empower to grow my leadership team. 

What made you think there was money in this?

I was inspired by my parents and my family that were business owners. Watching them when I was growing up encouraged me to be the master of my own destiny without having to work for someone else full time. I have only been employed by someone else for a total of 18 months. 

What makes Mercator unique from its competitors comes from the mindset of delivering user-centred digital services. Mercator puts delivery first and foremost because they do not allow financial implications to stop the team from doing the right thing. Sure, they’re a business, but the client’s needs and staff well-being come first. This approach makes them have a successful outcome that is not governed by a balance sheet. Not many companies use this kind of approach and that can affect the quality of their delivery and the well-being of their employees.

Where is the business today?

From starting at zero in 2006, Mercator is now a multi-million-pound business. Even at the start of the pandemic, Mercator was still a £12 million business that was generating significant revenue due to the digital transformation that was sparked by the pandemic. This has sparked growth at a rapid pace. In 2020, the company made about £12 million, and in 2021, the company turned over £17 million. In 2022, we project that we’ll project £25-£30 million pounds. The staff has also dramatically increased from the start of 2021 to today. We have grown by about 170 people to a total of 300+ people globally. That number is projected to grow to 400-450 people by the end of 2022. 

What is the secret to making the business work?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the secret to our company's success is our people. Our staff have always gone above and beyond. We have a very empowering culture that allows everyone to feel confident in making decisions. Because of this we get things done and always deliver the outcomes for our clients. There is a very friendly culture across the group. Nobody is out of reach and we all chip in. The idea of letting down a colleague is just something that doesn’t happen at Mercator.

How do you market the company?

We don’t actively market the business. We have always grown by word of mouth. This is why it is so important to always be the very best we can be. We strive to make sure that our staff and our clients are front and centre of everything. Delivery is paramount. If we get these parts right then the marketing and the money take care of themselves.

What funding do you have? Is it enough?

We have an invoice discounting facility but only because we want to have protection against late payment of invoices. Other than the invoice discounting facility we have no other borrowing or funding. We are 100% privately owned and have been able to remain that way because of our strong organic growth.

Tell us about the business model

Our business model is different to most firms. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t work with a margin-based model. We know that by delivering the right outcome for our clients, the margin takes care of itself. By making sure that all of our staff are empowered to make decisions regarding the delivery and direction of the projects, we are able to scale at a rapid pace. We remain a very agile organisation and we strive to remain this way.

What is the future vision?

The future vision is to continue to grow our reputation. We will be 450 people by the end of the year and we expect to continue growing at the same pace that we see today. By the end of 2024, we will be around 1000 people in the organisation and have an amazing contracted pipeline of work that currently takes us to 2026. As we continue on our journey, we are always on the lookout for new opportunities. We want Mercator to be known as one of the best consultancies delivering Digital Transformation services across both the Public and Private sectors across the Globe.

Written by
BizAge Interview Team
May 30, 2022
Written by
May 30, 2022