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Hello all, I'm new to this board, but a long-time Fool around here.

This is sort of complicated and perhaps an odd situation. In short, I've recently started volunteering with a woman I befriended who is a partner in a small instructional-type facility that rents out their large space for various other instructors and other events. She and her partners are not business-minded people by any real stretch of the imagination: They are each artistic-instructor types that almost ended up with this large space by accident a few years ago.

I'm the first/only person they've met with something of even a vaguely administrative or corporate background, roughly corporate administrative assistant with several years background. At an extremely cursory glance at their "operations" (which are so bad it is downright laughable, but nicely so), they need help at every single level imaginable. We get along famously and they are (desperately) in need of any/all help I can get. They are willing, and eager, to consider ANY idea I have to help them improve the way they function as well as bring in more profitable business.

Basically, the bulk of their business is renting space at their large warehouse-style midtown Manhattan (yes, this is New York, NY: if you know real estate here, you know how uncommon this is) facility. They rent out open space by the hour, or infrequently by the day. It is mostly for dance yoga, rehearsals, exercise or training classes (not a gym, but can be used as a gym, except this is not a weight lifting type of place). They essentially have about 14 separate areas, some of which can be merged as appropriate depending on space requirements. Their hours of operation depends on when they can fill up space, but are roughly from morning till night (literally no specific time). They have huge stretches of dead time in the middle of the day; their peak times are evenings and weekends.

For background, they have extremely limited money: they are barely scraping by and are very cautious about expenses, but will spend if it is *absolutely* critical. They can't pay me, but have offered to give me percentages if any ideas I have can be implemented and bring in money.

Things I want to try and address for them:
- Develop a basis of some sort of list of prospects, for classes and events (they teach four major schools of instruction themselves, but there are probably easily about 50 or so regular instructors that come and rent space as needed) as well as for potential space renting clientele. For their class instructions, they have on paperwork on applications and waivers a base of hundreds of marketing prospectives from current and past students. They want to cull all the information into some sort of system and database. (I've done databases in the past via just MS Word; they don't have the money or interest yet in something like MS Access, nor Outlook, which costs too much money - I'm debating self-training, though.)

- Develop and maintain email distributions, telemarketing lists, help monitor their website for updates and corrections.

- Develop a better systematized way of keeping track of their rental space (names, times, applicable rates, balance due or pre-paid, space and size, phone numbers, # of participants if applicable, special notes or needs). Right now, half of the regular appointments are - literally - in one of the partner's head.

- Cleaning up their files, paperwork, etc. A veritable nightmare, but there is a loose structure.

- Help them with their products (they sell some things like sports drinks, water and stable snacks, and clothing items and special tools). They need to do inventory, know when to order beverages when they run out, find out what types and sizes sell more efficiently, etc.

Long-term, I know all the setup will take at least weeks bare minimum, nearly full time (almost all my spare time is spent with them now, I've just started, planning to give them about 20+ hours a week, almost daily).

Thanks for any/all suggestions.

$IQ
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