Happy National Small Business Week small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs! There are lots of great virtual and local events happening this week to share strategies and celebrate successes. You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtags #NSBW2016 and #DreamSmallBiz.
Below is an interview that we thought might be of interest. It was originally published on Microsoft’s* Office Blogs here. It clearly demonstrates how technology can help all kinds of small businesses get to the next level. (You might want to check out other posts and webcasts on Office Blogs, too.)
Constance Turman, owner of The Constant Stylist, is a personal fashion and style consultant in the greater Seattle area. We recently spoke with Constance about how she uses Office 365 to help her business be more agile, responsive and professional. Here are some highlights:
As a personal style consultant, what’s your biggest business challenge?
To create the style that’s right for any client, I have to build a very close relationship with them. It’s almost intimate. I come into their most private personal space, where very few people get to go. It’s critical that I take that trust seriously, get to know who they are and do all I can to make them comfortable. If I can get them to be vulnerable, speak freely and still enjoy the experience, they’ll walk away more confident with their style and their image.
How did you decide that Office 365 could help you meet that challenge?
I wanted to be known for constant availability and dedication to my clients, and I knew from the beginning that I would need the right technology. I have to collaborate with clients, vendors, shop owners and event teams every day. I’m out of the office at least half the time—shopping, meetings and traveling. I needed a solution that would allow me to stay connected and productive on the go, but I wanted to focus on my clients and my business, not worry about how to manage all kinds of technology. I began with Outlook.com, but quickly switched to the full suite of cloud services in Office 365.
Did you need help setting up Office 365?
I implemented Office 365 myself. I felt like an IT pro. Once I set it up, I didn’t have to learn anything new, and the transition was super easy. Now, I have no infrastructure to maintain and just one environment to manage.
What have you been able to accomplish?
Now I have a Constant Stylist email address and I use the tools in Office 365 to create schedules; build forms; upload, share and edit documents and images; jot down client feedback on the go; and video-conference with clients and vendors. I save more than two hours per client service and by the end of the month it really adds up. With the tools to stay connected and get work done anywhere, I can make every client interaction more productive, explore innovative offerings and help The Constant Stylist fulfill its brand promise: always there to help you unleash the power of who you really are. I literally could not do it without Office 365.
What’s next for the Constant Stylist?
There is nothing but opportunity out there. The Constant Stylist is growing and I’m going to add a business manager, and partner with other businesses on promotions. I’m very excited about exploring innovative new offerings, such as virtual styling with Skype for Business Online videoconferencing. Everything that I do in-person now, I’ll be able to do virtually—for anyone in the world.
To learn more about how The Constant Stylist uses Office 365 to make her business more successful, read the full case study and watch the video.
*Disclosure: this company has a client relationship with CarolRoth.com or its affiliated entities