81% of small businesses believe economy is getting better and 66% plan to hire more staff in the next year

-Sage business networking breakfast attracts 100 start-ups-

 17th July 2013: Over three quarters (81%) of Irish small businesses believe that Ireland’s economy is improving and two thirds intend to hire more staff in the next year according to a poll of 100 entrepreneurs and small business owners who attended the Sage One ‘Giving Back to Business’ event in Dublin this morning.  The respondents represent a mix of industries, from agri-food to technology to retail and online services.

As well as making new hires, 93% plan on investing in new technology for their business in the next twelve months, with cloud technology cited as the most popular (40%) followed by mobile technology (38%).

With most start-ups operating on tight budgets, cost-effective online marketing is key to their success, with 95% saying that the use of social media has a positive impact on the bottom line for their business. 55% said that Twitter was the most important social network for their business, followed closely by Facebook and LinkedIn at 49%.

The recent sunshine has also had a positive effect on business with 56% saying that the improved weather has been good for their business.

Small business experts Séadna Dervan from Facebook and Ruth McEntee from Google shared tips and insights on how to market a business online and how to keep up with changing technologies and consumer behaviours.

Facebook’s Séadna Dervan said: “With over two million active Facebook users in Ireland, the social network offers small businesses an instant mobile marketing strategy at an affordable cost. Business can implement very targeted campaigns by identifying their potential customers through their demographic and interests. This allows companies to generate content that is both personal and relevant.”

Ruth McEntee from Google, Facebook’s Séadna Dervan and business finance and turnaround expert John Crawley pictured at the Sage One Giving back to business event on the 17th July 2013

Google’s Ruth McEntee said: “80% of the population in Ireland are online, much higher than the EU average of 65%, however only a quarter of Irish businesses are e-commerce enabled. Companies that are digitally engaged grow twice as fast as those who aren’t and are 26% more profitable. Mobile is a growing trend in Ireland with 57% of the population using a smartphone and this is set to increase to 71% by the end of 2013.”

Business finance and turnaround expert John Crawley (thefinanceexpert.ie) highlighted the importance of measurement using key performance and risk indicators: “You need a good idea and a good team as a basis for growth. It is absolutely critical that you measure and can see clearly and simply if your business is performing.” He also spoke about the difference between activity and productivity – being busy does not necessarily mean you are achieving your goals.

Simon Hodgkins, Country Manager, Sage Ireland said, “We are delighted to host an event that equips our customers with practical insights and tools to help them market and grow their businesses. The SME sector is the backbone of our economy and with 40,000 SME customers in Ireland, Sage understands the needs of this sector and is committed to supposting business in a meaningful way.”

Sage held the event this morning to celebrate Sage One’s second birthday in Ireland and to coincide with the launch of the new Add-On for Sage One. Add-On incorporates leading business management software services to give SMEs a complete and comprehensive tool to manage their business online. It comprises an entire ecosystem of online services that integrate with Sage One including CRM, Credit Control, Business Intelligence and eCommerce software from leading SaaS providers including Senddr, CustomerSure, ebizmarts, Smeebi and OneSaaS. Add-On is available to view on the Sage One website www.sageone.ie

See the video from the Sage One Giving Back to business below:

 ENDS

For further information please contact:

Maria Doyle FleishmanHillard: +353 1 6188 431 / M: +353 87 990 7831

Notes to the editor:

 

About Sage One

Managing your business may be serious work, but at Sage One, we believe that it should also be really easy. Sage One is a family of online accounting and online payroll services designed specifically for Irish small business owners who want control of their business but don’t have an accounting background or the time for software training.  No jargon, no fuss, just a clear, simple way to get things done.

Sage One Payroll integrates seamlessly with Sage One Accounts, its financial accounting software for those with no time to learn accounting, which makes it much easier for business owners to manage their finances and payroll.

Value for money

With no upfront costs, no installation charges, no maintenance or support fees and free, automatic upgrades, the Sage One pricing model is well suited to business owners who want to spread costs and manage their cash flow. Sage One is one of the industry’s best value for money accounting software packages.

Unrivalled Support

Sage One requires no formal training and is easy to use. However, free 24 hour support is available, either on the phone, via email or on the web, giving business users and accountants access to Sage’s unrivalled infrastructure of professional expertise and software support whenever they need it.

Visit www.sageone.ie to find out more.

Beatrice Whelan

Social Media & Content Specialist

Beatrice Whelan is Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage Ireland.

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