Cotton Court Business Centre

Author: Grace Bennett

PowerUp

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What does the Northern Powerhouse mean to your business?

The North has a long history of innovation, influencing the fortunes of the country and the face of industry further afield. Today’s global industry trends are driving new opportunities for growth and the Northern Powerhouse is working to help you harness their potential to benefit your business.

The time is NOW, so lets PowerUP!

Register for your free place today for a Northern PowerUP information and networking event near you to find out more about how the Northern Powerhouse is fuelling and supporting the growth of small and mid-sized commerce in your area. Hear from neighbouring businesses that have benefitted, and about support initiatives through your Local Enterprise Partnership.

  • LANCASHIRE, Tuesday 25th June

Cotton Court, Preston, PR1 3BY

Agenda

9.30am – Registration and coffee

9.50am – PowerUP panel and Q&A

11am – Networking

11.30am – Close

Speakers

Speakers include representatives of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Local Enterprise Partnership and your business community.

Register for your free place now!

Mastering Public Speaking With Cheryl Chapman

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Calling all female business owners, consultants, freelancers and employees – do you have a message that you want to share. Are you struggling to get your voice heard above the competition?

Mastering Public Speaking is a one-day masterclass that is created specifically for women. You will discover how to impact, inform, inspire and influence your audience so that you gain the recognition, rewards and income that you are striving for.

Do you get anxious or nervous at the thought of public speaking?

Whether you’re running a business or represent one, you need to be able to speak confidently and professionally. From presentations, pitches for sales or investment or simply answering the question “What do you do?”, you need to capture the attention and engage the audience. Discover how to reduce the waffle and make an impact. This one-day workshop will teach you to master the art of effective presentation skills and techniques for public speaking, personal impact and influencing, both inside and out of the workplace. Whether your audience is thousands or just one person, you need to be able to engage them quickly and deliver your message clearly and effectively.

Cheryl will help you to understand what it is that holds so many women back when it comes to standing up and speaking out. She will share with you what not to do as a woman if you want to be taken seriously when it comes to business.

In this one day masterclass you will learn:

How to PRESENT in a confident and clear way

How to POSITION yourself as the go-to person in your industry

Understand why you should create PRODUCTS that mean you don’t have to be there

How to PITCH your products in a way that people want to do business with you

Friday 2nd August at Cotton Court, Preston
9am-5.30pm

Book your tickets now!

Start-up Competition Winner!

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Cotton Court Business Centre’s Start-Up competition reached its pinnacle on Friday 17th May with the top 3  finalists coming into Cotton Court to pitch their ideas to our expert panel.

We had some amazing pitches from all the finalists and some lively debates amongst the panel! The top prize went to the winner on the day, Craig Wilson of Blox Mobile Storage!

Craig has created a custom-built delivery trailer which gives Blox Storage the unique ability to deliver walk-in sized, weatherproof containers directly to your home or business for you to pack in your own time. Blox Storage then collects and store the container in their secure warehouse, with onward delivery available anywhere.

The Start-Up Competition launched in March and budding and established entrepreneurs from across Lancashire took part in the competition for the chance to win a prize valuing nearly £20,000.

The competition saw entrepreneurs from across the Red Rose 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 3 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, including:

Andrew Leeming –  Programme Manager at Boost Business Lancashire

Heather Waters – Enterprise Manager at NatWest

Robert Binns – Director, Cotton Court Business Centre

Dharma Kovvuri – Dean of Burnley Campus, UCLan

Paul Woodburn – Partner, WNJ Accountants

Steph Harding, Commercial Manager, Wallace Digital

Michael Finnigan – Founder,  i2i

Alistaire Jama – Managing Director, Kennedy Ross Consulting

Amy Blundell, Manager, Cotton Court Business Centre said “We are absolutely delighted to support future entrepreneurs from Lancashire. Myself, Robert and the team at Cotton Court are really looking forward to working with the competition winner and finalists. The competition is an excellent platform for local entrepreneurs to get their business off to the best possible start, with the help of professional support from the panel and advisors.”

On Friday, we also saw inspiring pitches from runners up Laura Jeffers of Asikara and Laura and Rachel Beattie of Careaux who Cotton Court and the advisors will also work with going forward.

The winner will be given a dedicated package of benefits including a desk space at Cotton Court, marketing and design support, mentoring, access to networking events, a smart telephone package, professional photography and many other benefits.

Lancashire Entrepreneurs Invited to Meet Lord Mayor of London and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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On The 16th May, the MD of Cotton Court Business Centre Rob Binns attended a prestigious event in the City of London. The event was jointly hosted by The Rt Hon Dr Greg Clark MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Alderman Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of London, at his official residence Mansion House

The event comprised of a seminar for 150 delegates during the afternoon, focusing on the challenges of implementing the Government’s industrial strategy at a local level across the UK and the central role that Local Enterprise partnership’s (LEPs) are playing in driving economic growth.

Dinner was served in the spectacular Egyptian Hall, to a unique gathering of 300 businesses, industrial firms and professional bodies, from across The City and the UK, along with the Industrial Strategy Council and the Professional Business Services Council.

Guests listened to speeches from The Lord Mayor, The Secretary of State for Business and the Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The speakers touched on the role of London as a centre for investment, technological innovation and financial services and how our cities and LEPs can work together to grow the UK economy.

Rob Binns Said “It was a fantastic experience and I was delighted to be asked by the Lancashire LEP and Boost to represent Lancashire. It’s clear that the growth of the county’s businesses and how they benefit the UK economy is a key priority. I look forward to following up on the many conversations I had in London and it was a privilege to be able to speak proudly of our skills, assets and ambitions in Lancashire to such an influential collection of people.”

Rob was joined by:

Miranda Barker – East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

Anastasia Kenyon – Kandi Cosmetics

Mo Isap – IN4.0 Plc

Pitching secrets to be revealed at upcoming event

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Budding and established entrepreneurs from across Lancashire are invited to learn about creating the perfect pitch.

NatWest will be holding a pitching-based taster session for its Pre-Accelerator programme at Cotton Court Business Centre, Preston. The session will coincide with the Cotton Court Start-Up Competition which sees entrepreneurs from across the Red Rose County pitching for a chance to win everything they need to start, build and expand their business.

Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “During our Pre-Accelerator taster session, we will teach participants our award-winning pitch structure which enables entrepreneurs to confidently and effectively present their business in any given situation. Pitching is absolutely vital for skill any new business and having the confidence to deliver a good pitch can make or break a business opportunity.”

Robert Binns, Director of Cotton Court Business Centre, said: “Being able to shout about your business and tell your story is invaluable to any business person and this course will give people the opportunity to learn first hand how to accomplish this.”

Later this summer NatWest will be bringing its full Pre-Accelerator workshop to Cotton Court. The session is designed for early-stage businesses looking at ways to grow and enhance their business ideas. The programme is part of NatWest’s three-stage business accelerator scheme which is delivered across the UK.

The pitching event is on Tuesday, May 6 at the Cotton Court Business Centre from 10am to 11.30am. To register visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pitching-masterclass-tickets-60302903608

How to Attract Large Customer Base for Your Small Business

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Attracting new customers is an essential part of your business growth. If you are running a small company as an entrepreneur then it becomes indispensable for small and medium enterprises to gain a considerable market share based on their target audience. As a small business, you won’t have unlimited access to financial resources to spend on an advertising campaign on multiple platforms.

 

In this post, we will share how to gain a larger customer base with your one-man band.

Have a Marketing Strategy with Day to Day Campaign Activity

Small business owners have a tough time managing their business support and their tactical day-to-day activities. During all these operations, it’s hard for businesses to focus on a lucrative and inexpensive marketing strategy. The only solution to the problem is to take some time out each month and plan your marketing strategy.

 

Start with online marketing, target special holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fathers, Day, Christmas, Easter and many other events. Target these family events to market your business on social media. Plan giveaways on weekdays and weekends. 

Tell a Story

One of the best marketing tactics that small business owners can employ to promote their company is to tell a story. In simple words, tell your target audience what your brand is all about, what were the reasons that made you think of starting this particular business. When you share your journey to success with your audience, it convinces them of your dedication to the new business.

Invest in a Mobile Friendly Website

The website is the most important aspect of your business; it’s the first thing that a customer witnesses about your company. But to truly be successful you will need to have a mobile-friendly website. Most of your clients are using their phones and other handheld electronic devices so it’s natural that they will scroll through your website on their mobile phones or tablets. Your website must be altered to work flawlessly on a smaller screen.

Registered Address of Your Business

When your small business has a registered commercial address located right in the city centre, it makes a big impact on your customer base. A registered business address makes it easier for your customers to get in touch with you. Moreover, it’s important to save up and invest in a professional business phone number with call handling and call forwarding services. You will need to invest in a dedicated telephone number and call/text handling services to cater to all your business communication needs. For any new business owner installing a powerful and efficient call answering system should be a priority.

There are several benefits of getting a registered company address at a central location such as:

  1. Giving the impression that you run a large business
  2. Improve your business networking circle
  3. Periodical business sustenance events
  4. A chance to keep your business and personal emails separate
  5. A dedicated telephone line

Benefits of Entering Start-up Competitions

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As an entrepreneur when you are in the process of developing your company, startup competitions encourage you to innovate and aim for the funding you might get if you win.

Many start-ups competitions are far beyond traditional techniques and methods. If you have a good idea, someone will want to listen to you. Consequently, many small business owners participate in these competitions to get funding and guidance from industry experts.

Start-up competitions come with great benefits in terms of providing access to business growth tactics and experts from different perspectives.

In addition, young companies gain the ability to create their own brands for their target audience. Here are some benefits of entering business Competitions.

Increase Your Brand Value

Small business competitions are usually leading companies in their respective fields. The brand values of these established companies have already been established in the eyes of target groups.

These well-known brands aim for the big price, the ultimate winning award will take your small company to new heights. One of the biggest benefits of participating in competitions is that you get a chance to create synergy with a major brand.

This allows your target audience and investors to better understand the purpose of your professional initiative. By strengthening your reputation, you become an attractive investment option.

 

Reaching Out To Marketing Experts

As an entrepreneur, you have many duties that you need to consider as the business owner. You have to determine the marketing strategy for your products or services. Being a part of business competition allows you to meet marketing experts in your relevant field.

Talk to them about your business and ask them for suggestions on how to improve your marketing strategies to attract a larger target market. 

Make sure that the business competitions keep you on the right track and not to miss the milestones that you have set for yourself and your business support. These competitions enable you to reach

 

Establish New Connections

Any entrepreneur you meet will tell you that the road to success is through coincidences and useful links at meetings.

In a startup contest, you can get in touch with a big company to collaborate not only in the near future but also in your entire business life.

Participating in competitions is a great way to meet senior leaders and opinion front-runners to help you expand your professional and personal network worldwide. Developing such relationships enables start-ups to increase the number of staff, improve your platform, and expand the marketing and sales channels.

 

Meet New Entrepreneurs with Challenges

In addition to enabling you to connect with international executives and business experts, professional competitions also give you the chance to meet new entrepreneurs who are struggling with many challenges.

The challenges they face in their business will help you broaden your horizon and learn about doing business in different countries and cultures. These competitions allow you to see the big picture and grow your new business with marketing, communications and mutual interaction.

How To Make Your Home Based Business Look Like a Major Corporation and Enjoy the National Bed Month

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Being an entrepreneur means, you have to start everything that a company needs from scratch. Many mothers find it easier to start a home-based business because it allows them to be flexible with their work and household duties. Opening a small home based startup was never this easy. You have plenty of options on your hands if you’re a budding business owner don’t wait to make a professional first impression on your clients. We’re sharing some simple ways that can make your small setup look professional.

Get a Professional Business Address

Trust and credibility are the main aspects of your small business growth. To get the credibility that your target market demands you need to invest in a professional business address. Getting a business address has several benefits, the first one is you can work from anywhere even your own bed! A professional business address will add another layer of privacy to your small home-based business. Use it until you can invest in an office building. Business address will make your business appear corporate with a physical mailing and communication address.

Get a Business Phone Number

A dedicated business phone number is what sets you apart from your rivals. If you’re a new business owner, it’s essential to invest in a professional phone number that’s dedicated to your business. Availing such services will allow your business to look professional and with years of experience in conducting business. Professional greetings, receiving and dialling calls, emails, texts everything is covered by a professional phone service provider. Gone are the days when you needed to hire people to call answering and call back, now the task is made easier by professional telephone services. Apart from handling calls, they can provide you with a text portal to interact with your clients and suppliers through your business phone number.

Choose a Perfect Domain Name and Website

As we are celebrating, the National Bed Month to commemorate working from home when you want it’s essential to talk about how to make your business look professional. Your small business should have the right domain name, some services offer you a free domain name but usually, that’s not something you should go for. A standard free URL is hard to remember and tedious to search over the internet. The best alternative is to get a premium domain name, it will cost you some money but you will have a professional website with a company name.

Hiring a professional web designer will help your official website stand out from the rest. Get a website with a corporate theme and keep the design subtle yet attractive. The website should be easy to navigate for every visitor, buy a premium domain and server since they load faster and offer server security. A business phone, registered address, and website will offer the much-needed business support that your home-based business needs. They will make it easier for you to work from anywhere in the world including your bed without worrying about missing meetings and deadlines.

Spotlight On Success: National Apprenticeship Week 2018

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We’re celebrating national apprenticeship week this week by getting to know what our apprentice enjoy most about working. Here is what they had to say

Name: Harry Stezaker Employer: Diecut Global
Job Title: Commercial Team
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Business Admin level 2
Start Date: 5th June 2017

What is your job role?
I am a sales representative/prospector, this involves me being the first point of call for all
customers, therefore I deal with there enquiries and I generate business; this means that the
majority of my day is spent on the telephone.
What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I prefer being in an apprenticeship more than full-time education as I both learn and earn
money whilst doing so.

What are your favourite things about your job?
My favourite things about my Job would be the colleagues I work with, they’re kind and
helpful whilst also being quite wise and instructive. As well as this I like my job role as a
salesman because there is no better feeling than making a sale.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would recommend an apprenticeship for the following reasons:
Earning money whilst learning
Gain good life experiences due to being in the workplace
Gain a good head start in life economically
You mature a lot quicker.

What is your career goal?

My goal whilst working with Diecut Global is to become the leading salesman in my
company, this would give me both the experience and the correct thought process to get
further in life with my future aspirations.

 
Name Grace Bennett
Employer: Cotton Court Business Centre
Job Title: Business Administration Apprentice
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Business Administration Level 2
Start Date: 4th September 2017

What is my job role?
My role is varied and a typical workday involves me answering calls for either
customers within the building when they’re otherwise engaged; answering calls for
virtual offices which I then email to inform them so they can get back in touch. It also
involves setting up and organizing conferences which are held within the building on
a daily basis; whether that be groups of 4 or 104. On a daily basis I also handle all
the mail for our virtual office customers, office and desk clients. As well as, making
sure all conference are presentable and clean throughout the day.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I like the fact that my NVQ work ties in with my day to day on the job work make it easy to
complete both whilst learning new things on the job

What are your favourite things about your job?
There are many favourite areas in my job role but one that sticks out the most is the
ongoing day to day interaction I have with other clients and visitors. Also, I like the
variety I get with my job and that I’m always learning new things.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I have chosen to become an apprentice because then I can advise young people to
consider an apprenticeship after school instead of college. Also, that apprenticeships
are for anyone no matter what your starting point is. I also choose to become an
apprentice to expand my skills in the workplace whilst still learning and staying in
education. I believe this network will allow me to meet a wide range of people,
whether that be fellow ambassadors or people when out and about visiting schools
and career fairs. Also, benefit me on how other businesses work and what each
individual business entails.

What is your career goal?
In the future I would like to be in a job which i enjoy also one which will broaden my
horizon for the forthcoming years. I would also like to say that I now manage all
virtual office customers and enquiries and that I would like to build my way up to a
managerial role.

 

Name: John Alty
Employer: Compeller Ltd
Job Title: Digital Marketing Assistant
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Level 2 IT.
Start Date: 23rd July 2016

What is your job role?
My Job Role at Compeller is ever changing as my skill sets improve and I get a wider
understanding of the industry. But primarily my Job is based on building and managing PPC
campaigns on Adwords for our clients. My time is also spent creating various reports and
website audits every month.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
It was a good option after college to start an apprenticeship and get into the working world
early, instead of committing to 3 years of university. I’ve always worked so I thought why not
carry on.

What are your favourite things about your job?
Learning new things and gaining experience in the industry is a very rewarding experience
and I couldn’t have found a better place to do so. Working office hours is enjoyable and fits
in well with day to day life. Being able to have weekends and evenings free is something that
you can’t get with a lot of jobs.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
It’s a great way to get into the world of work and learn new things while being paid to do so.
What is your career goal?
Improve my knowledge and confidence to the point where I can independently make
decisions within the company.

 

Name: Lydia Bury
Employer: Compeller
Job Title: Digital Marketing Apprentice
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: IT user skills level 2
Start Date: 3rd January 2018

What is your job role?
Managing and building PPC accounts and various SEO techniques, writing google ads,
copywriting and putting together content for websites.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I like the fact that the coursework links in with the work I’m doing with Compeller and that it
is relevant to my job role. It’s also great to be learning and gaining experience as well as
being paid.

What are your favourite things about your job?
I like the variety I get with my job and that I’m always learning new things. I’ve also been
really lucky to find a fantastic company to work for.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would recommend an apprenticeship as you are getting experience on the job, gaining a
qualification as well as getting paid. I would recommend an apprenticeship over going to
university as you’re gaining insight into how the industry works, getting paid as well as
coming out with a qualification.

What is your career goal?
Gaining experience and knowledge to work my way up to a managerial role within the
marketing industry.

Strategic Transport Plan Consultation Event

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On Wednesday 24th January we’re looking forward to hosting Transport for the North as they start the public consultation on the Strategic Transport Plan.

This is your chance to find out more about the recommendations and what it means for you and your area and give your feedback which will help shape the Plan in its development.

These consultation events are open to everyone and are your chance to hear from Transport for the North representatives and ask any questions you might have.

First stop is in Preston, at Cotton Court!

They’d like to invite you to a special pre-briefing at 3pm, where you can hear from their Strategy Director and discuss their proposals.

 

The outline for the session is as follows:

4pm – 5pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

5pm – 6pm: Drop-in Q+A

6pm – 7pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

7pm: Event close

If you are able to attend, please register your interest here