Lean businesses are calling on staff to be experts in many different jobs – and the launch of Sage Business Community helps to make this possible.

A community is widely understood to be a valuable source of advice and support offline, especially when times are hard. As the economy grows out of recession, the business landscape is difficult to navigate, more than ever before people are looking to their peers to provide guidance. Sage has launched an online platform, the Sage Business Community, to help its customers support each other by sharing insight and knowledge on the unexpected challenges and tasks that people in business face on a daily basis.

When the recession hit in 2008, businesses were forced to become leaner than ever, and that mentality means that today many people are left covering multiple roles. Sage’s own customers report that employees are now being asked to take on additional responsibilities, and are being called upon as the ‘expert in their business’ on a number of different areas that would typically fall outside of their traditional job description. This means employees are likely to be asked for information about business areas and processes which they have not dealt with before, and are often have to provide this information at short notice.

Many will turn to the internet for clarity, and there is no doubt that there is a huge amount of business information out there. However finding it can be difficult and time consuming. The nature of searching for information on an unfamiliar topic can mean that a request does not clearly lend itself to a few search terms, making it more difficult to quickly find the right information.

Verifying the information can be another key consideration. Although the internet houses a huge volume of information it does not all come from a trustworthy source – at short notice, it is often difficult to differentiate the level of advice received. Giving false information to a colleague can be extremely damaging for a business, so being able to turn to a trusted source is crucial.

The value of a platform that can connect people to share credible information based on their own experience cannot be underestimated. However despite the obvious benefits, this type of initiative struggles to work in isolation. With a trusted name and expansive customer base of over 830,000 businesses in the UK, Sage has been able to not only create a platform with users that are both knowledgeable and able to dispense valuable help, but also provide a place that businesses want to come to for information, support and to network for more potential business for themselves. The Sage Business Community looks to help with this common problem of access to business critical information by connecting Sage customers with each other to share expertise and experiences.

The information itself is independently moderated and users are given a rating for the level of advice, so other users can identify trustworthy sources easily and quickly implement the advice.

The users of the platform not only benefit from access to likeminded business people, but also capitalise on the expertise within Sage’s business and the company’s relationship with industry bodies and other companies that can bring specific industry value to Sage customers. Conversations and groups can be created in the community within sectors to deal with industry specific issues, and the industry bodies that deal with the specific industry groups engaging upon the platform can provide further insight and support.

By listening to the concerns of customers and creating a platform that is driven by customer need, the Sage Business Community is focused on providing access to the information that people in business need. The platform is currently available to Sage’s service customers as an additional member benefit for them, and is becoming the ‘go to’ place for UKI small businesses to engage, share knowledge and insight – giving members the confidence needed to succeed in their role and to help their businesses grow.

Sage is concerned with its customers’ total business experience and the launch of the Sage Business Community reflects this. By speaking regularly with members from its extensive customer base, the majority of which are small firms, Sage is well placed to understand the current business landscape and the challenges it poses. Sage understands that business people do not have time to search for information when they need to be focused on growing their company, and by tapping into the expertise of the Sage Business Community they won’t have to.

Jane Rigg-4Jane Rigg is a Product Manager for Sage UK and Ireland. She is responsible for the Sage Business Community, an online environment that connects Sage’s small business customers to help and support each other in the day-to-day running of their businesses.

Jane has over 20 years’ experience as a B2B technology commercial marketing professional with extensive experience in the creation and delivery of marketing strategy to a range of B2B audiences. She specialises in social business and using the power of technology to deliver an extraordinary experience for customers.

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