Cotton Court Business Centre

Author: Grace Bennett

Spotlight On Success – Digital Touch

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Everything Digital Touches Turns to Photo Edited Gold

We’ve all heard of the Midas Touch, but what about the Digital Touch?

Now celebrating three years at Cotton Court’s creative hub, Digital Touch has recently undergone the sort of visual makeover that the successful digital photo retouching business is widely-regarded for delivering on, in relation to its extensive – and eclectic – client list.

Founded some 8 years ago by Managing Director Jilly Jackson, the company specialises in providing a digitally-created product, wedding, beauty, family and restoration photo retouching services for both personal and business clients. And has enjoyed accumulative successes completing briefs of varying natures and eventualities since Digital Touch’s inception.

 

The Sky’s the Limit for Rebranded Digital Photo Retouching Business

The standard of Jilly and her image-enhancing team’s work and professionalism shown from the outset of communications with clients is clearly reflected in the volume of positive customer reviews that Digital Touch receives. So much so, that Digital Touch is recognised as the UK’s number 1 Digital Photo Retouching Services by TrustPilot, and equally highly rated at Google My Business.

As Jilly seeks to take the business forward, she’s invested heavily of late in both continued visual appeal and employee power. Keenly illustrated in the aesthetic rebranding of the client-facing website along with the appointment of Chris Barker to the role of in-house Content Writer.

https://digitaltouch.co.uk/

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/digitaltouch.co.uk

https://g.page/digital-touch-photo-retouching

Business Competition Prize Gives Innovative Storage Company A Flying Start 

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What a whirlwind the past four months have been for Craig Wilson who won our start up competition with his innovative business concept, Blox Mobile Storage

In the last few weeks, as part of the competition prize, we joined forces with Scott and Natasha from the award-winning Northern Heart Films to create a film that captures the essence of what makes the Blox Storage concept so unique and why it’s such an ideal solution for anyone needing storage.

Craig said “Self storage is highly competitive and it has been difficult to get the unique features of our service across to potential customers. We felt like a promo video would be a great way to explain why mobile self storage is the easiest way to move goods into storage and the team at Cotton Court helped us out by getting the guys at Northern Heart Films to produce a great promo for us.”

Since winning the competition, Blox have also professional business phone number with call answering services, meaning he has been able to fulfil customer orders knowing that his calls are being managed and no potential clients are slipping through the net. 

Cotton Court based marketing experts, Invoke Media, designed a marketing plan and strategy for Blox focusing on Craig’s ambitious plans for the future. Central to the marketing strategy is the new promotional video, which Craig felt was something his business really needed.

Craig said “The support from Cotton Court has been invaluable and enabled us to access services that there’s no way we could’ve afforded at such an early point in our business. We’ve had the guys at Napthens Solicitors making sure all of our legal stuff is ok, marketing help from the team at Invoke Media and a priceless phone answering service to make sure we don’t miss any valuable calls.”

Back in May, the competition saw entrepreneurs from across the County pitch for a chance to win everything they need to start, build and expand their business.  Twelve finalists came into Cotton Court to film their business pitches, then the top three pitched their ideas in a Dragon’s Den style format to our expert panel, which was made up of some high profile business experts in Lancashire.

Since May, BLOX has launched the first Mobile Self-Storage service of its kind in the region, with the use of custom-built trailers that can deliver and collect walk-in sized storage containers directly to the customers door.

Craig is planning a busy few months for Blox Storage “We’ve got some great partnerships emerging with Estate Agents and building project managers and it’s clear that people are beginning to see the benefits of our unique service. We hope to expand on our concept and provide an ever-improving, affordable and convenient way for the people of Central Lancashire to move goods into storage!” 

Lancashire Adult Learning’s Get Started With ICT Course- Places Available

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Do you want to improve your computer skills; help the children with their homework or are you struggling to use the internet?

Lancashire Adult Learning are holding a FREE ICT course which will help you develop a range of skills for home, work or if you are looking for employment. Classes are small, friendly and supportive, allowing you to grow in confidence at your own pace. At the start, you will attend a Functional skills taster session, where you will find out more about the course and see if it’s the right one for you. These courses offer the opportunity to gain Functional Skills qualifications from Entry Level to Level 1!

These ICT courses will help you to develop the skills and confidence to use a computer. You can then use your new skills to find services in your area; find new hobbies; help your children with their homework or even to find a new job online. Computer skills are widely used across all areas of everyday life and having these skills will help to access much more information, as well as improving your job prospects.

Call 0333 003 1717 to enrol now!

“SUCCESSFUL EXPORT STRATEGIES” – FORTHCOMING MASTERCLASSES

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We are pleased to be hosting a successful strategies workshop with Exporteurs on Friday 18th October here at Cotton Court!

Book your place(s) for the forthcoming “SUCCESSFUL EXPORT STRATEGIES” masterclass now!

                                                                     CLICK HERE TO BOOK

Preston

Friday 18th October 2019

08:30-11:00 am

You will take away …
reassurance in the value of exporting for your organisation
the challenge of stress testing your products and services for export
an overview of the opportunities for exporting face-to-face and online
counter-intuitive models of success – case histories
five key considerations for developing a successful export strategy

Your mindset will be challenged – your outlook will be refined – you will gain a different perspective on exporting …

What previous delegates said and remembered:

“A great insight – Thank you” – Victoria Charlton – Director Rectella International
“How to disrupt the big stands at trade shows” – Sirka Moore – Owner BDC Moore Ltd
“Challenging perception – Affirmation of thinking” – Russell Clifton – Owner Ruk-bug Ltd
“Importance of building personal relationships” – Philip Wright – CEO Boardman Bros Ltd

The MASTERCLASS is delivered by Exporteurs – a partnership of independent specialists with over 120 years of combined experience in international business development.

Book your tickets now!

Preston Boutique Marketing Agency Grows Team After Major Client Wins

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Preston based Invoke Media launch recruitment campaign to support rapid growth

Cotton Court Business Centre based Invoke Media have launched a recruitment campaign to find new marketing assistants after a series of major client wins that has seen them approach their workload capacity.

The agency moved from Manchester in June of 2018, and has gone from strength to strength in a booming Central Lancashire economy.

Preston born director Jack Barron said:

“It’s been an absolutely amazing 18 months for Invoke Media, and the last 12 months specifically have been a game-changer. The outdated negative view of Preston as a ‘grim northern town’ that simply feeds commuters to major hubs like Manchester is gone.

We’re a vibrant city with our own thriving economy that is growing by the day. We’ve got massive amounts of investment going into the city, we’ve recently ranked 60 in the UK for digital influence and we’re seeing more and more businesses start up and succeed.

Bringing Invoke to Preston was a bold move, but by far the best move we’ve made in our 6 years of trading. We’ve quadrupled our turnover and we’re playing our part in the development of an upcoming city.”

This year Invoke has announced client wins with local hospitality heavyweights The San Marco Group, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s BID Preston brand and local success story GetStaffed UK to name but a few.

Successful candidates will be provided with a structured training package and gradual workload, regardless of experience. They can expect to work on campaigns for local clients as well as national names in numerous industries.

The business has a real focus on the hospitality, recruitment and personal finance industries however. Carving a very defined path of success with innovative techniques such as messenger marketing and automated lead generation through paid social ads.

Jack Barron continued:

“This is a great opportunity for someone to come into the business at our time of growth. Learn the techniques that are making us stand out to national clients and help define the future of Invoke Media. We’re recruiting someone who very much integral to our growth, and hopefully, that will excite them as much as it does us.”

 

Press Contact:

Evie Mrkalj, Marketing Executive

Email:

Evie@invokemedia.co.uk

Telephone:

01772  921 109

Northern Heart Films Customer Spotlight

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In this weeks ‘Company Spotlight,’ we are looking at one of our in house customers ‘Northern Heart Films’. Read more about what they do below…

Company name –
Northern Heart Films

Physical address per location –
Natasha and Scott joined us here at Cotton Court in February 2019. However, the company was created in January 2017

About Us / Our Story / Our Beginning –
We make films that touch the heart. At Northern Heart Films we work across a wide range of film formats which include Corporate Films, Documentaries, Shorts and Branded Content. Our work has been recognised nationally and we have won awards which include ‘Creative Award’ from Lancashire Business View Sub36 and the prestigious Royal Television Society ‘Open Award.’ The only way to make great films is to hire great storytellers and that’s why we’re here.

Missions/ Values –

We want to tell real stories that can motivate change.

 

Products and services –

We offer a film production service to make short films.

If you are in need of a helping hand with your filming then contact Northern heart Films on:

07746 310311
hello@northernheartfilms.co.uk
https://www.northernheartfilms.co.uk

LearnBox Customer Spotlight

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In this weeks ‘Company Spotlight,’ we are looking at one of our clients LearnBox. Read more about what they do and how they could help you below…

Learn Box are based at Media City on the 12th Floor in Manchester.

About Us / Our Story / Our Beginning –

LearnBox is video empowered learning, revolutionising the way education and training are delivered through the creation and delivery of high quality and bespoke video content, available on any device at any time and anywhere. 

Founded in 2016 by CEO Lucy Dunleavy, due to her frustration at the stagnant state the learner sector was in and the lack of innovative and effective methods to engage learners, innovation was the foundation of the business, and the thought process was simple:

Missions/ Values –

LearnBox disrupts the notion of tradition and instead pave the way for innovation and progression. Their forward-thinking attitude and eagerness to deliver results that encourage them to break the boundaries, and they’re determined to convince those afraid of change that the future of learning and technology can be an effective relationship, one that benefits everyone.

Through video empowered learning, they are actively investing in the skills of the future, supplying learners with the support they need to love learning.

LearnBox strive to make the learner experience engaging, enjoyable and beneficial, which is reflected through their outstanding results (Their pass-rates are well above the national average but more importantly the impact reported by learners and businesses they work with is very impressive!) LearnBox content is hosted on their multi-functional and flexible Learner Management System (LMS), which has a range of advanced features and abilities including unlimited storage, to

 allow for a full and unrestrained learning experience which the learner can be in full control of.  LearnBox doesn’t just deliver learning, they drive a learning culture.

Products and services – 

We create high-quality learning films that are learner-focused, data-driven, empowering and deliver outstanding results. Our content is available on any device, at any time, in web and app format through our intuitive and responsive learning platform. We offer a complete learning solution that empowers learners and fits around the needs of the business. Our content is personalised, bespoke and meaningful.

Contact information-

0161 4136204

Duncan.alexander@learningboxed.com  

http://www.learningboxed.com

Initiate Theatre Customer Spotlight

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In this weeks ‘Company Spotlight,’ we are looking at one of our desk space residents Initiate Theatre and what they do…

Company name –

Initiate Theatre Ltd 

Initiate Theatre joined us at Cotton Court in March 2019 after setting up in November 2018

About Us / Our Story / Our Beginning –

The company was founded by Andrew Sumner in November 2018. Initiate Theatre aims to explore your creative juices, unlock your imagination and help you to discover your potential. They create exciting Theatre, deliver quality education and training Workshops, and provide entertainment for birthday parties and events for children & adults throughout the Northwest. 

They are looking to expand as a business and take on more productions and gain more experience within different sectors. 

Team –

Products and services – 

Initiate Theatre offers a wide range of services such as workshops, performances and parties. They have received a lot of positive feedback from the services shown through the website and through social media. 

“We have just had an Afternoon Tea, where we booked our entertainment from Initiate Theatre. A young gentleman named Jack‘ came and sang for us. Jack was absolutely fabulous, he got everyone in the room, Singing, Clapping, Foot Tapping and Dancing. Highly Recommend if you have a function coming up. Easy to book through the Theatre by a gentleman named Andrew, from beginning to end of booking he was lovely and very helpful in all my needs. Jack is a lovely young man. Thank you so much Initiate Theatre”

 

If you would like to get in contact with initiate theatre call or email them on…

01772 439009

enquiries@initiatetheatre.co.uk

https://www.initiatetheatre.co.uk/

 

CompTIA Opens free IT-Ready Boot Camp At Cotton Court

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We are looking forward to hosting CompTIA and it’s tech workforce charity, Creating IT Futures eight-week information technology (IT) boot camp which is the first of its kind in the UK.  Funded in partnership with the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership as part of the DCMS Digital Skills Innovation fund, IT-Ready will offer free technical support training to help adults launch their careers in IT.

“With more than 140,000 IT jobs open in the UK and the average IT salary being 56 percent higher than the national wage, employers need more tech workers and more workers need more opportunities,” said Charles Eaton, CEO, Creating IT Futures and vice president, social innovation, CompTIA. “With IT-Ready, we help more adults get the training they need to fill tech jobs, gain an upwardly mobile career, and earn family-sustaining wages.”

 “We are delighted to be working in partnership with DCMS to support the roll-out of the IT-Ready programme in Lancashire,” said Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills Hub, Lancashire LEP.  

“The initiative, which is fully aligned with needs of local business, offers Lancashire residents a fantastic opportunity to develop their digital skills and improve their employment prospects,” Lawty-Jones added. “It’s also another great example of how the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, which is part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, is raising the skills of our digital workforce to boost productivity while also driving inclusive growth across the county.”

Interested adults can visit www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire by 16 August to enrol in the full-time, classroom-based IT-Ready boot camp classes that begin on 16 September. IT – ready primarily serves:

  • Lower-income adults due to unemployment or underemployment
  • Displaced workers whose skill sets are no longer in high demand
  • Groups under-represented in the ranks of IT workers, such as women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a UK citizen or permanent resident and have 4 GCSEs (including Maths and English) or equivalent. No prior experience in tech is necessary, but a love of technology, a strong level of commitment and a drive to succeed are extremely important. 

IT-Ready students receive free tuition, learning materials, tech and soft skills training, and certification vouchers. They learn technical skills to help them successfully pass both parts of the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Plus, students receive professional development training to refine highly sought-after business skills including communication techniques, conflict management, teamworking, critical thinking and problem-solving. Graduates are prepared to apply both technical and professional skills starting day one of their first tech job. 

Creating IT Futures developed IT-Ready in 2012, and CompTIA UK Ltd staff will work with local employers to hire IT-Ready graduates in Lancashire. Within four months of graduating, 85 percent of IT-Ready students typically are working in a paid IT role with local area companies, earning £16,000 – £18,000 annually. Graduates move into help desk tech roles, building and maintaining a business’s IT environment and assisting its internal and external customers.  

Applicants should apply by 16 August at www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire. Employers interested in hiring the applicants in November should contact Zeshan Sattar of CompTIA UK Ltd at zsattar@comptia.org

About Creating IT Futures
Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.creatingITfutures.org.  

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the more than 50 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.

 

Top 5 Tips to Make your Company Look Bigger

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Large corporations enjoy different benefits over smaller start-ups. Companies with major brands have established reputations, reduced operating costs and massive advertising budgets that garner significant media attention. If you’re an entrepreneur with a small startup, competing with multinational companies is challenging.

It’s essential to keep in mind that these multi-billion dollar enterprises once started out small and humble, overtime they offered products and services that exceed customer expectations, which led them to dominate industries.

 

If your customers love your products or services then you are on the right track. To start making revenues like a multinational it’s essential to make your small business look like a huge corporation. Here’s a quick guide on how to make your small business look big.

Get a Professional Website

Consider your website as the main portal between you and your prospects. If the website is dull, boring, slow and filled with filler content then your premium products or service cannot save you! Your potential customers will take a lot from your unprofessional website. To make your small business appear like a multinational then invest in a professional website designing service to get a corporate website with quality content that converts your visitors to customers.

Phone Answering Service

Nothing is more annoying for any potential customer than hearing a polite and professional “hello” when they call your company for a query or complaint. You will need to invest in a dedicated telephone number and call/text handling services to cater to all your internal and external communication needs. For any new business owner installing a powerful and efficient phone handling system should be a priority. A smartphone system with a business phone number will give your small company a chance to appear much bigger by having a reception team that manages your calls.

Have Larger Invoice Numbers

When you work with a bigger invoice number, it indicates that you have a lot of business transaction to complete each day. When a customer sees a larger invoice number has a positive impact on your credibility as compared to typing 20 or 30 on your invoice, which clearly indicates you’re a new start-up business. A corporate phone, registered address, and website will offer the much-needed business support that your small business needs. It makes your job as a business owner much easier allowing you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.

Be Active on Social Media

You won’t need a hefty advertising budget to promote your business over the internet. Use Google Ads, Facebook Ads and other Instagram and social media advertising agencies to promote your content for you. Having a social media platform gives access to millions of customers

who are interested in the product or service you offer. If they see that you are active on Facebook and have, a lot following then chances are that you will double your earnings with correct social media marketing strategy. Social media presence is essential for business growth and development.