Having started belly dancing ten years ago as a hobby, it has since become a passion for Claire Novis and she has eventually also turned it into a job. Claire now spends many evenings and weekends teaching classes, running workshops and performing around the UK. She does this as well as having a full time job working as a Senior Geologist for a firm of consulting engineers.

One of the biggest challenges is being able to promote and administer the business, organise events and communicate with students and customers in the limited amounts of free time available. Professionalism is very important in both jobs and it is essential not to compromise this. So, finding time to run the business without impacting on the 9 to 5 job is challenging.

Claire sets aside regular time to manage her business on a week by week basis, but, due to the nature of her work, this tends to be limited to relatively unsociable hours. She needs to be able to be responsive to students and other customers in order to take opportunities as they arise, and therefore ends up doing a lot of business administration on the move between different commitments. Soon after starting the business, it became apparent that it was going to be essential to have a website in order to expand and communicate readily with the existing customer base, and so Claire set up www.clairedances.co.uk

The website was produced using Microsoft Office Live, which allowed Claire to get a professional web presence at no cost. It also helped with time saving, allowing quick management all of publicity, contacts and communications on any computer accessed from anywhere, for free. This is invaluable for managing the business in the time available and also for keeping outgoings low. And, perhaps more importantly, being able to do this frees up far more time to not do work and have some well-earned leisure time!

Managing costs, time and expenditure is key for any small business; especially during this current economic climate. Given the lack of a large work force, employees must manage their workload within their limited time and ensure that they have access to all required information whenever they need it.

The internet is still the best medium in which to market and promote your business and there are a range of services and products to help you do this. Claire’s advice is to find the most cost effective provider that also allows you to conduct your business at any computer; anywhere, anytime. www.officelive.com

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