Like most homebased business owners, Carmen Knowles, owner of MicroFast Systems, a computer consulting company in Port Moody, British Columbia, has a rather modest marketing budget. When she needed a brochure, instead of paying a local printer's sky-high prices, she designed it herself using Corel Print Office ($99; http://www.corel.com). "I'm on a very tight budget, and [Corel Print Office] has been a huge cost saver for me," says Knowles, 63.
Using the program, Knowles was able to produce a brochure with crisp images and professional-looking graphics. She also found the image-editing program Corel Photo House 2.1 (included) very useful for altering photos and adding nifty effects.
If you don't already have brochures, business cards and letterhead, desktop publishing programs like Corel Print Office or Microsoft Publisher 98 ($99.95; http://www.microsoft.com/publisher) can help you build a corporate identity for your business, one in which all your materials have a professional and consistent look. And learning to use either of these programs demands only a very small investment of time. "It doesn't really require any training to use [Print Office]," Knowles says. "It's very easy to learn."