How long have you been in business: Sage Restoration was founded in 2010.
What is your background?
In 2009, I had been in the corporate financial world for twenty years as a successful mortgage broker. I felt frustrated by the layers of bureaucracy and the stagnate leadership I had to endure. I knew it was time for me to exit Corporate America and business ownership really appealed to me. I believed I could utilize my insights, knowledge and leadership skills to become a successful businesswoman. I was willing to work the extra hours required and make the financial investment necessary to build an enterprise that would be mine. I relished the opportunity to become a leader in our business community.
How did you develop the skills necessary to start your business?
“Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program” participant August 2016. I was one of 192 entrepreneurs across the nation selected to participate in the “Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program,” which is a program developed and sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Babson College in Boston, MA. The program was developed to help small businesses gain practical business skills and knowledge through an intense curriculum and receive the tools and support necessary to develop a growth plan to take their company to the next level and to help their local communities by employing more people and stimulating business growth.
“ScaleUp KC Program” participant January 2015 I was selected to participate in the “ScaleUp KC Program” which is a program developed and sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the UMKC Innovation Center. The program was developed to help small businesses like Sage Restoration with revenues between $150,000 – $750,000 grow to the next level, This is accomplished by delivering a targeted intensive support program in regions across the country. The program is designed to provide the necessary support to help companies scale up and grow while strengthening and enhancing local entrepreneurial ecosystems around the specific needs of growth-oriented owners and firms. I really benefited from ScaleUp KC and I often recommend it to other emerging entrepreneurs.
What sets your business apart from your competitors?
Sage Restoration is a woman-owned and entrepreneurially led enterprise founded in 2010. My team and I are dedicated to helping home owners and commercial property owners who have experienced a very stressful situation such as a destructives fire, the damage from flood water, or with problem mold in the walls of their residence or building, No matter the job, Sage employees often walk into a family’s life or business owner’s workspace at one of the most stressful and shocking times they have had. We are caring and compassionate in how we assist clients every day.
Our Sage comprehensive emergency fire damage repair services can reverse many of the negative effects of fire and smoke damage done to property. We are also trained to perform biohazard or specialty pack rat/hoarding cleanup services. Because we use the only optimum cleaning techniques, products, and equipment, we can dramatically increase the likelihood of saving or client’s property. Sage team members are ready to go on site 24-hours a day, seven days a week to handle all sizes and types of remediation projects.
At Sage, I take great pride in maintaining a collaborative culture with a positive work ethic. I work very closely with my Sage employees and I consider them members of my family-owned business. Helping them to become highly skilled in their jobs and being able to support their families, having a nice standard of living and realize their own dreams means a great deal to me.
How is your business involved in your community?
Because Sage Restoration has access to household and office items that help charitable organizations and the people they serve, I established a donation program for them. From our hoarder clean outs, items that are “gently used” are donated to Goodwill, Catholic Charities, and Hope Faith Ministries. Metal from the cleanouts is donated to local scrap contractors. (We don’t charge them any money and they are able to make money from selling metal appliances and other items.) To help further the mission of Habitat for Humanity, donations of usable kitchen cabinetry from restoration projects are made to their housing projects. These organizations are so very grateful that we care enough to do this for them, and it does help them in terms of revenues.
Each year we select several non-profit organizations and make donations, attend their activities and help to sponsor their programs. Financial donations are made to Kansas City CureSearch Walk, The Family Conservancy, the Women’s Employment Network (WEN), Kids TLC, and Sheffield Place. My employees and I annually gather toys for the Toys for Tots charity. We are supportive members of the Mid-American Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and donate to the local The Save, Inc.
What is your business philosophy/mission statement?
Our mission is to restore properties back to normal so to ensure a healthy living or working environment, and to approach every job with a sense of urgency, care and compassion with a commitment to provide excellent service with honesty and integrity to ensure quality work is performed in our customer’s home or business.
Why should your business be included in the minority & women business spotlight?
Sage Restoration has a very positive story to tell that I think is inspirational and encouraging to small business owners! In June, we celebrated our 9-year anniversary and we have grown from launching with “one woman and a van”. Today, we manage several crews that service hundreds of customers every year! In fact, in 2010, Sage had 32 only customers that entire year! Fast forward to 2018! We served over 400 property owners! This is proof of what strong determination, perseverance and outstanding customer service can do!!
What do you like about doing business in Kansas?
Kansas is very entrepreneurially friendly and focused. There are a variety of programs and services that educate and encourage business ownership from the Department of Commerce and at educational institutions include Kansas University and Johnson County Community College, for example. There is the MED Week award program that serves to recognize outstanding small businesses every year. It is this caliber of support that results in a higher degree of success not just for Sage Restoration, but for all types and sizes of minority and woman-owned businesses in Kansas,
What inspired you to start your business?
I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to develop and then lead a business that could be of much benefit to the people to which services were provided, And, I also wanted to create a work environment that would be supportive, collaborative, and open, and offer fair treatment to employees.
I knew I wanted to launch or purchase a business that would include a solid annual revenue stream, offer the possibilities for continued growth and expansion, and would also incorporate my core personal philosophies. I could have started an enterprise in a much different category, but I liked the remediation business model. The idea of helping people get their homes healthy and livable again, or their businesses back on track after a disaster really appealed to me. Proudly, that is exactly what I have achieved daily for 9 years at Sage Restoration!
What was the biggest “win” in your business’ history?
I think a “Biggest Win” for Sage Restoration was reaching the $1mil revenue mark in 2018. It was a major milestone for a service business, and we are so proud of it. I equate this milestone to the confidence our customers have in Sage as they refer us to their family, friends and business associates. Another “Win” was being honored as the “2017 Kansas Woman-Owned Service Business of the Year.”
What’s one valuable lesson you’ve learned that you would share with other business owners?
I would tell business owners to closely monitor all financial transactions no matter how busy they become. Every business should have systems in place to track revenues coming into the business and money spent on overhead, salaries to employees, paying vendors and purchasing supplies. They should thoroughly research the background of anyone, employee or service provider, who handles financial transaction, too. Following these rules will elevate headaches and losses for them!
Tell us an interesting and fun fact about your business.
In nine years, I’ve moved Sage Restoration from its bootstrapped beginnings of being a “one woman show,” in which I juggled performing on-site restoration clean-up for customers, took charge of marketing, sales and operations, and with just part-time and contract employees, to the present in which Sage is a full-service business with 6 technicians, 2 project managers, an office manager and a salesperson to development corporate relationships. Both my husband and my son are involved in this business success story, too.
Career Advantage has been owned and operated by a Lawrence, KS woman since its inception in 2003 and continues to be a valuable resource nearly twenty years later! In today’s tumultuous environment, I feel career services are necessary now more than ever. People are having to change jobs, often unexpectedly, and the competition is high. Engaging a career services professional to help prepare application materials and display one’s highest representation can expedite the job search process and help candidates make well-informed career decisions. This ultimately helps the Kansas workforce and economy, since we can assist people all across the state.
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