As thousands gathered in the 100-plus-degree summer heat of Las Vegas for the Sage Summit, it occurred to me that Sage was once a small company, just like yours. It, too, went through a time when the owners had to figure out how to launch it, stay afloat, scale and grow.
The Sage Group is a global company offering accounting, data management and related business software to more than 6 million customers. Its subsidiary, Sage North America recently hosted its annual customer event called Sage Summit. Here are 11 facts to know about Sage and what it does for small businesses.
1 + 2 = startup — Sage was started in one pub in New Castle in the United Kingdom by two university students. Like so many small businesses Sage’s startup was not planned. One evening, two university students sitting in that pub realized there had to be a better way for businesses to manage their finances — and the concept of Sage was born.
- Takeaway: Inspiration can strike anywhere. Be sure to capture your thoughts as they occur to you — it just might be that next opportunity.
30,000 conversations — That’s how many conversations Sage employees hold with Sage customers, every single day.
- Takeaway: In this era of the Internet, we sometimes forget our customers want — and need — to talk to us and not search our websites for FAQs. Your phone number should be easy to find on your website, or any communications you send your customers.
150,000 online community members — Sage City is Sage’s online community with more than 150,000 small business “residents” who connect and support one another. Considering Sage City was launched last year, that’s a lot of population growth.
- Takeaway: Creating an informational community for your customers is a way to build loyalty while adding value. It’s also a good way to encourage customers to spread the word to their friends and colleagues.
5,000 small business owners — That’s the number of people who attended Sage Summit this year. This was the first year since the Summit was started in 2006 that the Summit was open to everyone — Sage customers, partners (there used to be a separate partner conference) and small business owners in general.
- Takeaway: Can you host an event for your local customers? If you have a store or office, host an open house, offer promotions and encourage your clients “bring a friend.”
25,000 social messages — That’s how many messages were generated during Sage Summit using the #SageSummit hashtag on Twitter. That translated into a whopping 12.7 million social impressions.
- Takeaway: Using social media is no longer an option for small business owners. Integrate social media into your overall marketing plan.
0 employees on up — Sage offers products and services for every small and midsize business — no matter the size. Products are designed to serve distinct needs depending on size.
- Takeaway: A deep focus on your market enables you to segment them by need and deliver solutions to serve their distinct needs.
$22 billion in credit card transactions — Last year Sage processed about $22 billion in credit card transactions for its customers.
- Takeaway: While it can be expensive to take credit cards, it’s increasingly the way America wants to shop. It’s also a must for online. A report from market research firm Javelin Strategy & Research says by 2017 only 23 percent of point-of-sale purchases will be made with cash.
8,500 miles — Sage launched an RV tour last year with 35 Sage executives, to visit customers throughout the United States and Canada in two months. They logged 8,500 miles in their quest to learn from the customers from visiting on site.
- Takeaway: As important as social media or teleconferencing is, there’s no substitute for face time with customers.
1981 — This is the year that Sage got started. By 1999 it was named to the the FTSE 100 (i.e., one of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange).
- Takeaway: Perseverance matters in business.
24 countries -– From its humble start as an idea in that U.K. pub, Sage has grown into a global company with revenues of more than $2 billion, over 12,700 employees worldwide (3,000 in North America), and a footprint in 24 countries.
- Takeaway: Humble beginnings can lead to enormous success.
15,781 feet above sea level — That’s the height of Mont Blanc, which is the highest mountain in the Alps. Pascal Houillon, the president and CEO of Sage North America is a master scuba diver who relaxes by climbing mountains and has scaled Mont Blanc.
- Takeaway: No one can work 24/7. Make time to do what you love, it will replenish and refocus you.