Abacus Engineered Systems
Abacus Engineered Systems was a mechanical engineering company valued at approximately $4,000,000 in January of 2002. The principal owner of the business had recognized that the future of the company would rest on his ability to attract a new level of leadership. He found such a leader in his new CEO Craig Williamson. “The owner had built a strong presence in Washington State,” remarked Williamson, “but the market clearly demanded a national presence.” As well, Williamson knew he would have to raise the level of leadership and discipline in the company as well as a recreating of its market identity to realize the owner’s goals for the company.
In April 2002 he recognized he would need help and retained The Sage Group® for a long term engagement to help him build a Path to Value® that differentiated the company and optimized its value in the market. “Sage brought a level of perspective, both internally and externally, that helped me build a strategy and execution model that was truly unique”, said Williamson. “Within 18 months we had created an industry buzz around a new Abacus value proposition that we continued to strengthen over time.”
The top line growth of the company from 2002 thru 2004 was nothing short of outstanding. With industry growth flat, Abacus was outperforming the market at an astounding growth rate of more than 40% a year.
By 2004 new international market entrants were finally becoming mature in their strategy regarding North America, while national and regional companies were stagnating. Abacus was in a position to raise capital to continue to build organically or position for a merger. “Sage helped us move from the build phase to an investor preparation phase, artfully engaging the market players to engage Abacus in discussions. This gave us tremendous leverage and control over our destiny,” said Williamson.
Guided by Sage, in December 2004, Abacus merged with one of the foremost international companies in the energy engineering sector, Schneider Electric’s TAC Americas, creating a $100M division and positioning to participate in a $1B strategy designed to dominate North America’s energy services market.
“I look back on our journey and realize how unique our partnership was,” said Williamson. “Value, velocity and veracity are now my precepts for value creation because of Sage.”
Pratt Legacy Advisors
Individuals who earn or inherit significant wealth have a significant hurdle to overcome to be able to effectively manage, steward and grow their wealth over time.
Pratt Legacy Advisors, with the help of The Sage Group® realized to a large extent this was a relationship problem.
“We had always relied on connecting with other market participants to assist people of wealth in the estate planning process,” said Alan Pratt, Founder and CEO. “Sage helped us identify what the market “ecosystem” looked like and what it felt like to the potential customer.”
With this clarity, Sage first prepared the organization for change by defining its operational process as well as its customer and partner’s engagement strategy. Then, moving quickly, Pratt began to identify those partners that could be coalesced into a broader strategy around a team-based advisor relationship. The potential partners included wealth management, certified public accounting agencies, legal firms, and financial planners.
“Sage led a series of meetings between these potential partners that ultimately created a new level of value in our firm that we were able to harness and exploit,” said Pratt.
Examples of past Sage Engagements
#1: A small contract software development firm targeting the aerospace market. Underleveraged and underfinanced, the owners wanted to secure the future for themselves and their employees. Sage was able to work with the owners to identify their ecosystem, the value of their knowledge and contacts, and redefine their go-to-market strategy. Working ‘with the end in mind’ Sage helped leverage a business relationship into a strategic alliance that created a defendable market position. The owners than leveraged that alliance into a merger with a global aerospace leader. Sage was able to help position for strategic value beyond the comparative norms of their industry.
#2: A Washington-based Services Company in an industry with definitive rules of engagement around the delivery of product and labor. Owner had no definitive plan for growth or value generation for the business. Sage positioned the company as a subject matter expert in emerging delivery mechanisms, assisted in re-branding and re-messaging the value proposition to the customer, created leverage through a new alliance strategy that increased the footprint and reach of the company, and, finally, created a new lead generation strategy. The client has moved from underachieving in a low growth market of 6-8% to a rising national player averaging 30%+ CAGR over the last ten years.
#3: Application software developer whose owner was searching for a new financial construct for the company. Sage not only helped deliver clarity in the financial model, but also has continued to coach the owner through a series of significant leadership issues around growth, executive development, and personal effectiveness.
#4: Mobility company with the potential for growth. Asked Sage to address the need for governance, strategic planning and a marketing communications platform. As a result, the company has become a leader in its category.
#5: Public company in the data collection market, with a under-leveraged portfolio of patents. Helped identify marketable patent that was positioned and sold through an international effort by Sage's IP Path to Value Team.