Cotton Court Business Centre

Business

Home……and Away

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Over the last few months the way everyone is working has changed. As people are starting to take steps back towards normality, we want to help people and businesses look at new ways in which they can keep both their team safe and productivity high.We’ve been looking into some of the challenges and also the benefits that the lockdown has presented to people in business, right across the spectrum from freelancers to large organisations of many descriptions.

People have gone from being in the office full time, or nearly full time, to spending an entire working week at home and have adapted quickly. However, for some people it isn’t without new struggles; whether it is a lack of focus at home due to other distractions, concerns about client confidentiality and privacy on phone calls, maintaining team cohesion and direction on collaborative projects, or simply just desperate for a change of scene and want to separate home and work life a bit more. Not to mention the aches and pains that come with sitting on a kitchen chair for 8 hours a day, hunched over a laptop.

Businesses day to day operations have had to shift, the plans for the future may look considerably different, and they are looking at new ways in which they can maintain collaboration, productivity and focus, whilst prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of the employees and their families.

One of the priorities for businesses of all sizes now is increased flexibility, and we want to support customers and the business community to be able to work whichever way best suits their needs.

So maybe you’re an entrepreneur who only needs to use professional services such as meeting rooms, admin services or printing for a week at a time. Maybe you’re working for a large company and your office is operating at reduced capacity so you want somewhere else to work from. Or maybe you have a small team who are happy working from home but sometimes want a change of scene or need to work collaboratively. We have introduced some new service options to help customers take flexibility to the next level.

Our new services include
Remote Working Bespoke Package – We understand that every remote working team has different needs and challenges, so our new offering enables you to build a custom, remote working package for your business and your team. You can choose as few or as many of the services you need, whether its occasional office use, printing services or a business phone number.

Socially Distanced Workspace – We are also offering offices on flexible terms, even if you just need to work from somewhere for a day, maybe you have children at home and you could benefit from a few days of quiet focus each week in our new socially distanced workspaces. We have large offices set up too, so it’s ideal if you need to get your team together.

Pay As You Go Desk Space – On demand access to a professional working environment. No contracts, so it’s ideal if people want a change of scene now and again.

Digital Training Centre – Coming Soon! Training professionals and speakers that are switching to online or blended training can come into our new digital training space, fully equipped with filming equipment and access to video communications software to deliver their courses.

Quick Tips for your Small Business

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It’s fair to say that most people have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know that many small businesses are feeling particularly vulnerable right now. During these uncertain times, you may find you’ve got more time on your hands. Now is the perfect time to give your small business a quick health check. 

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar small business that’s temporarily closed your doors or an online business, we’re here to help you identify some quick fixes to help improve your business presence.

Business Address

It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, small business, freelancer or a Startup, having a physical business address is something that can professionalise your image and give your customers confidence and trust in your business. Using a professional business address can work towards improving your SEO ranking, add credibility to your business and most importantly keep your home address private. 

There are three kinds of business addresses: 

  • The registered office address where mail is received
  • The director services address which appears on the public records
  • The virtual office address which appears to the outside world that your business operates from – all of which we can help you with. 

If you are considering looking into a business address but can’t afford premises we offer a Business Address service. With our professional business address, you can work from home, whilst all your correspondence and business cards have a prestigious city centre office address. If you’d like to read more take a look here

Phone Number

When building up your own business, a simple thing like telephone numbers can be overlooked. You might be using your personal mobile or a landline currently to take business calls due to convenience. But there are some benefits of having a professional phone number, your business can appear bigger, protects your private contact details and presents a professional image at all times.  

Our virtual office service can give your company the professional edge by providing you with a dedicated business telephone number and call answering service. If you’d like to read more take a look here

Email Address

You may currently be using a free email account provider for business correspondence. Is it a Gmail? Outlook? Or Hotmail? Email accounts on free email services like jane.business@gmail.com are not good for business because they do not look professional. Your customers and other businesses will find a professional email address more trustworthy and credible. Take a look at the steps below on how to create your own business email address. 

First things first you will need to have domain name and a website to create a free business email address. After you’ve sorted the above, you will need an email service provider to handle your business emails. Many hosting providers offer an email service as part of their package, please check when comparing providers. 

Give it a go, it’s worth it. 

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free listing service, which provides you with the ability to list your business location on Google Maps and local search results. If you haven’t got one set up, it’s incredibly easy to do so. Simply click the link here and go through the necessary steps. Setting up a Google My Business is one of the simplest and easiest ways you can be found online. As Google makes regular changes to its algorithms, if you want to get found in local search you need to have a Google My Business listing and optimising it on a regular basis is very important. Here are three ways to optimise your Google My Business:

  1. Get your description as accurate as possible, try and include relevant keywords
  2. Add posts to your profile
  3. Collect reviews

Take the time to optimise your profile and treat it as a virtual shop window for your customers, give them an insight into who you are and what you do best.  

If you’d like to know more about any of the above, please drop us an email on info@cottoncourt.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

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 23rd January to enrol in the full-time, classroom-based IT-Ready boot camp classes that begin on 10th February 2020. 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 23rd January at www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire

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.

 

Barnardo’s Christmas Gift Appeal 2019

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Cotton Court Business Centre is once again inviting members of the local business community to come to the aid of disadvantaged young people in the county.

Each year the business hub launches its Christmas Gift Appeal in aid of Barnardo’s, and the 400+ disadvantaged young people it supports across Lancashire.

The appeal asks businesses and members of the public alike to spare a thought for disadvantaged young people in their area this Christmas, by donating a gift that can be opened on Christmas Day.

The appeal has gone from strength to strength and is now in its seventh year, but unfortunately, as momentum for the cause grows, so too has demand. Cotton Court is pushing the campaign especially hard this year, to make sure that no Barnardo’s supported young person is left without a present to open on Christmas Day.

Cotton Court Managing Director Robert Binns said:

“Every year we’re blown away by the support that members of the local community show the appeal. It’s a great way for everyone to come together at a special time of year and show the young people that Barnardo’s supports that we care.

When we started the appeal we set out to make sure that no young person that Barnardo’s supports be left without a gift on Christmas Day, and it was magical to achieve that for the last few years. However, the demand for Barnardo’s services increases each and every year, and we’re in danger of not meeting that target this Christmas unless the good people of Central Lancashire can come together and do something magical this festive season, and put a smile on a young persons face.”

The Barnardo’s appeal in 2018 was a great success,

Jenny Ashcroft, Children’s Services Manager at Barnardo’s Lancashire said:

“Once again we are extremely grateful for the support from Cotton Court to Barnardo’s services in Lancashire to enable the children and young people we work with to be gifted with a present this Christmas. 

As a charity we work with children and young people across Lancashire in a range of services, we would be very grateful for gifts for all age groups – particularly older children, teenagers and young adults.

The support from individuals and businesses to this appeal is amazing, we cannot thank you enough for the opportunity for our staff to pass on the Christmas gifts to those they work with and how excited and thankful our children and young people are to receive the thoughtful gifts bought for them.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved with the Christmas Gift Appeal, no matter how big or small your donation it will go a long way to making a difference this Christmas to the child or young person that receives it.”

There is a particular focus on gifts for older children, teenagers and young adults. Many people think that Barnardo’s supports just very young children, but this isn’t the case. The service supports people into their teenage years and young adulthood, and it’s often the upper age category that struggles for gift donations. 

As it can be difficult to choose suitable gifts for the older age category, this year the business centre has compiled a list of recommended items to assist kind supporters of the appeal if they so wish. That can be viewed HERE.

You can help the appeal achieve its target by donating an unwrapped gift for a child, teenager or young adult, with donations being received at Cotton Court Business Centre reception between 08.00 and 17.00 Mon to Fri.

While the business centre would prefer donations to be dropped off in person, so that a personal thanks can be given, they understand the demands of business and personal life. Therefore, this year will be accepting gifts directly shipped from Amazon (details provided below), and donations via a JustGiving page which can be viewed HERE. The funds raised via this page will be used to buy gifts or gift vouchers for the appeal.

The appeal launches on Friday 15th November and closes on Monday 16th December. 

Drop Off (Preferred) 

Cotton Court Business Centre (08.00 – 17.00)

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

Amazon

Order your gifts on Amazon.co.uk and ship directly to the below address. Please include your full name and email address in the shipping notes or email us with the order number so we can confirm upon receipt.

Christmas Gift Appeal

Cotton Court Business Centre

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

Natwest Events 26th November 2019

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We are excited to be hosting the Back Her Business workshop on Tuesday 26th November in partnership with NatWest and Crowdfunder. The event will teach entrepreneurs all about how crowdfunding works, and how crowdfunding in general and Back Her Business, in particular, can be an effective way to get your new business up and running.

These events are a must-attend for an idea or early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs that are serious about growth!

By joining the session you’ll learn about:

  • The importance of female entrepreneurship to society
  • The Rose Review
  • Back Her Business: how people can access it and the Bank’s role
  • What crowdfunding is, and all about Crowdfunder
  • Benefits of crowdfunding, including Back Her Business match funding
  • How to crowdfund

The event is free to attend, but registration is essential:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/back-her-business-preston-turning-ideas-into-businesses-free-event-tickets-74804100077

Hope to see you there!

Cotton Court take part in the Big PNE Sleepout!

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 On Friday 15th November the Cotton Court team along with hundreds of people will be sleeping out at Preston Deepdale Stadium to raise funds for the Foxton Centre. The Foxton Centre is a Preston based charity who are committed to helping adults and young people within the local community

Helping the city’s homeless, the sleep out aims to raise £50,000 to buy a house for Preston’s rough sleepers under the charity’s Housing First initiative. You can donate to our page here 

 

Here at Cotton Court we are entering a team of around 15 people, made up of staff and customers, to sleep out and hope to raise more than £1,000 between us!

Rochelle, said: “We are very proud to be able to be a part of the Big PNE Sleepout. Homelessness is a major issue in Preston and if we can contribute to raising awareness and money to support this cause then why not be involved.”

To make a donation towards this fantastic cause please visit Cotton Court group’s fundraising page here

 

Lancashire County Council chooses Cotton Court client to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud Fund

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A support fund available for businesses in Lancashire has a new team in charge of handing out loans designed to spark growth and jobs.

Lancashire County Council has chosen investment specialist GC Business Finance (GCBF) to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud business finance fund.

The team, based at Cotton Court, will oversee Rosebud loans from £10,000 to £300,000 for growing businesses over the next five years and will work alongside Lancashire County Developments.

It delivers more than £60m in finance to over 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises each year. This includes managing the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s ‘microfinance’ funds, providing loans of between £25,000 and £100,000 to businesses across the powerhouse area.

Rosebud aims to create around 150 new jobs per year and will focus on sectors such as aerospace; advanced manufacturing; digital and creative; energy and environment; health innovation; and financial and professional services.

County councillor Michael Green, a cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Over the last 30 years Rosebud has helped thousands of businesses across Lancashire to expand by tapping into finance to create new jobs, move premises and invest in technology. We’re incredibly pleased to be able to allocate a further £11.25m pounds to support growing Lancashire businesses to achieve their growth aspirations.”

Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “GC Business Finance already works closely with the Access 2 Finance service in Lancashire and has strong relationships with local businesses and the professional services community.

“It will help provide a seamless transition for the delivery of Rosebud finance, helping businesses create employment opportunities, especially the graduate-level jobs that can help us retain talent in Lancashire.”

 

Paul Breen, director of GC Business Finance, said: “Lancashire is a strong and vibrant economy and home to a vast number of successful businesses. However, some companies struggle to access funding through traditional means which is where Rosebud can play a vital role.”

Businesses interested in applying for Rosebud finance can do so through the county council website or Boost Business Lancashire. Applications for finance will be considered from businesses based in the administrative area of the council.

“Alongside GC Business Finance, the Growth Company is heading up a new initiative that has been launched across Lancashire to boost business productivity. Skills Support for the Workforce is a fully-funded programme designed to help employers bridge skills gaps in their organisation through bespoke training. Businesses can access a range of accredited and non-accredited programmes to help them upskill their staff – helping employees to progress in their careers. Skills Support for the Workforce aims to enhance staff productivity, increase morale and improve staff retention in organisations across the county”.

If you’d like more information on Skills Support for the Workforce in Lancashire and to see if your business is eligible, call 01772 920 750 or email WorkforceLancs@gcskills-support.uk.

International Cultural Awareness master class with BDC Moore!

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Join BDC Moore on Thursday 14th November 2019 here at Cotton Court for their International Cultural Awareness master class!

For whom is this Master Class?

  • Business owners
  • Team members dealing with international clients and/or suppliers
  • Team members attending international Trade Shows & Exhibitions
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Graphic Designers and Web Designers
  • HR professionals

Why should you attend this Master Class?

  • Learn how to avoid cultural pitfalls, which can be costly
  • Learn how to stay safe on international business trips
  • Learn how to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships
  • Learn how cultural awareness has a direct impact on your bottom line

What will be covered in this Master Class?

  • Meaning and impact of words, colours and symbols in different cultures
  • Legal and financial differences
  • How to stay politically correct
  • Impact of positive and negative stereotypes
  • How to use humour wisely

Limited number of spaces! Book your place now! 

Refreshments, lunch, workbook and free parking are included.

HLS Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation

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We are pleased to be holding the HLS #SMSTS Refresher and #SSSTS course here at Cotton Court on the 23rd-24th and the 30th-31st October 2019!

HLS are specialists in Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation across the UK and are delighted to announce the launch of their new Preston Venue!

The team of multidisciplinary Health and Safety Instructors can provide you with both Training and Consultancy services on request. They are highly qualified and motivated to provide a top-class service.  Having a North West base in Preston’s beautiful Cotton Court is fantastic as it’s so close to all amenities and travel is made so much easier.  HLS will be launching the CITB Site Safety Plus courses in October 2019 including Site Managers Training Scheme (SMSTS) and Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) and more.

Book your place now! https://www.health-life-safety.co.uk/open-courses/

Why not check them out on Facebook or Twitter for additional courses and special offers Or call Michelle on 07961 588 881

Experience Next Generation Wellness at Cotton Court Business Centre, with YOLO Wellbeing

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Cotton Court has teamed up with YOLO Wellbeing, a completely new and innovative, workplace wellness experience; to promote National Stress Awareness Day on 6th November 2019.

With a growing emphasis on mental health prevention, employers are finding themselves increasingly responsible for the welfare of their employees in the workplace. Forward-thinking businesses are already recognising that effective Wellbeing initiatives can have significant and positive benefits on morale, retention and reputation, particularly when looking at talent acquisition.  

Robert Binns, Cotton Court said “ After meeting with Cheryle and seeing the mobile unit, it was instantly something that I knew we had to have down at Cotton Court. And what better day to do it than on National Stress Awareness Day?

 Mental health and wellbeing has become such a big topic over recent times so it will be fantastic to be able to give staff and clients at Cotton Court the opportunity to be able to take 15 minutes out of their day to benefit from the YOLO Wellbeing experience”

The YOLO Wellbeing experience has been developed by Founder, Cheryle Britton, to offer workplace wellbeing that improves the physical and mental health of employees through the delivery of massage and meditation. Promoted as 15 minutes of pure relaxation; employees feel rewarded by their experience, and by their employer, making it a win-win investment.

The most unique element of YOLO Wellbeing is that it is delivered in a customised, mobile unit, which is brought to your premises; once onsite the van is completely self-sufficient, running on batteries fuelled by solar energy.  The YOLO Wellbeing environment is a very calm space, that allows you to very quickly de-stress and relax. 

Originally from a corporate background, Cheryle was keen to ensure that the YOLO Wellbeing experience is really easy to implement. In addition to the mobile space, she has created a secure online booking system.  This means your staff can book their own appointments in advance, minimising the need for internal planning and resource. 

Cheryle comments “I’m really excited to be working with Cotton Court to raise awareness of stress; particularly as it is one of the main contributors to mental ill/health and workplace absence.

“YOLO Wellbeing is has been designed to improve both the mental and physical health of your employees, whilst providing an experience that will significantly boost morale in your workplace.” 

About YOLO Wellbeing

The YOLO Wellbeing concept was developed by Founder, Cheryle Britton, who, whilst on a family holiday in Sri Lanka, she was inspired by the stress-relieving benefits of Ayurvedic Massage. She spent the next 12 months retraining, researching and developing the techniques used in the YOLO Wellbeing head, neck and shoulder massage; which in clinical trials have been proven to inhibit the release of the stress hormone, Cortisol; and boost the production of feel-good neurotransmitters: Serotonin, Dopamine and Oxytocin.

YOLO Wellbeing has been designed to be easy to implement, requiring minimum resource and minimum disruption to your business. All appointments are pre-booked via a secure online site; the YOLO Wellbeing environment is brought to your business premises, and employees only require 15 minutes away from their desk to receive the treatment. For more information please visit www.yolowellbeing.co.uk.