A model business
With Microsoft Office this promotion company has its data to hand anywhere
Paul Marshall is typical of entrepreneurs everywhere. As he puts it: "I have to work twenty-four hours a day, but at least I get to choose which twenty-four."
A laptop and a pocket computer running Microsoft software help him stay flexible and responsive as he grows the business. He can work from the office, from home or on the road.
He started Strut Promotions at the beginning of 2004 to provide "face to face marketing services and promotions." In an age when traditional advertising is becoming less effective, his agency connects companies with models who can promote their products at launches, exhibitions and so on.
Clients include Nissan Forklift, Harley Davidson and Chemistry, a big national dating agency. "It's really taken off," he says.
The heart of the business
His model database is absolutely the heart of the business. The firm is just Marshall and one other employee and they share access to the database, which he keeps in Microsoft Excel.
He is able to take it with him on his pocket computer and he can use either the PocketPC or his laptop to show clients photographs of the models. What's more "whenever a call comes in, whether I'm in a restaurant or wherever, I have all the models' details with me at all times."
He found that Microsoft Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager (BCM) gave him detailed information about his client base. BCM is a feature of Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003 that helps small business track clients, opportunities and sales. "Next to each contact, I always know the status of their account and how much business they're doing with us. It just makes it a bit easier," says Marshall.
Email in one place
The laptop is also helpful for model recruitment. He plans a three-city tour to do interviews and he will take a projection system so he can give presentations to prospective models to show the different kinds of events they support.
�The laptop lets me have the office at home, in the office, on the move.�
Working with email from two different accounts - Yahoo! and the email link from his website - became a lot easier when he switched to Microsoft Outlook 2003 which pulled in mail from both accounts and consolidated it into a single inbox. "It's just a little thing, but it really helps," he says.
Most of all, however, Marshall likes the flexibility of being able to work wherever he goes: "Because I do most of the work, I do a lot at home and I'm out of the office at least a day or two a week. The laptop lets me have the office at home, in the office, on the move."