Cotton Court Business Centre

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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

Spotlight On Success: Diecut Global

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Diecut Global have announced another amazing milestone in the growth of their company.

The international supplier and manufacturer of corrugated, packaging, print and print finishing machinery have announced the installation of the largest Goldline Evolution in the world.

Installed at one of the UK’s largest print and communication companies, the machine will allow the business to significantly increase its diecutting capabilities and output, complimenting a Goldline they had previously purchased.

The original Goldline was introduced by Diecut Global 8 years ago as an alternative to the traditional hand fed platen.

Steve Waterhouse, Managing Director of Diecut Global, said,

“As a responsible machine manufacturer and someone who had sold hundreds of hand fed platens all over the world in the last 25 years, I knew the dangers of the original clamshell press. This was confirmed in recent history when people who simply operated them paid the highest price, on machines my old company had sold back when I was the sales director and co-owner of Crosland. I thought if I cannot bring to market a machine that not only does the same job but does it in a safe way, a way that jobs can be set up faster, it was easy for the operator to use and bring it to market at a comparable price to the old technology, then I was not doing my job.”

The milestone installation comes at a time of significant growth for the company, going from strength to strength with a series of high profile client wins and expansion.

The company operates numerous production sites internationally, with an administrative & management presence at its Cotton Court Business Centre headquarters.

Read more here…

Banking Heavyweight Leaves Corporate World to Launch VibePay

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Cotton Court client, Luke Massie of Vibe Tickets has joined forces with former City trader and mobile payments veteran, Gary Prince. Prince has left a 20-year career in mobile payments working for the world’s biggest blue chips to launch VibePay with the young entrepreneur.
In an bold move, the payments expert (whose experience includes projects with the likes of Barclays, O2, Vodafone, BT, VocaLink and Costa Express) is rejecting opportunities with some of banking’s biggest names to go into business with Vibe!
As Managing Director of VibePay, Prince is heading up the firm’s mission to make payments simple while offering a guarantee of no fees to its customers.
A payment platform offering direct-to-bank payments to people and businesses, VibePay was founded in early 2018 when changes to open banking legislation allowed regulated businesses to access UK banks’ payments infrastructure.
Prince says: “I’ve never settled for the status quo. In 2005 when a big employer told me there was no future in mobile, I knew it was time for me to move on. I have to be moving forward and making progress and I’ve never done that at such a pace as I have at VibePay.
“I live and breathe all things payment and my focus is always on the customer’s perspective. The big players are just not geared up to give consumers what they want. Making a payment is secondary – nobody wakes up thinking they want to make payments but they do want to pay for their travel or their fuel and buy a coffee in the simplest and safest way possible.
“That’s what VibePay is about. We don’t shroud things in complicated tech speak or banking jargon – traditional banks do that to try to justify their snail’s pace and to disguise their lack of innovation. We just listen to customers, feedback into our engineering team and we make things happen quickly.”
Luke says: “We’ve grown Vibe Tickets into a main contender for fans to buy and sell tickets and we listened to our customers when we integrated a third-party payments provider to complete the transactions. It was a hassle and it cost them money. It went against everything the Vibe Group stands for. We had no choice but to create our own alternative.
“The changes to open banking legislation, my initial meetings with Gary and the immediate interest from some of the country’s best payments industry techies in what we were doing showed we’d hit on something at the right time. The payments market is ripe for disruption. It’s stuck in the dark ages when customers couldn’t choose, they made do with what they were offered. VibePay is revolutionary in that respect.”
According to the UK Card Payments 2017 end-of-year report, almost 14.5 billion debit card transactions were performed in the UK last year, 37 per cent of which were carried out online. By 2020, Accenture’s Open Banking market report suggests 33 per cent of online debit transactions will be direct from customer bank accounts, representing 1.75 billon transactions with a value of £64.7bn
VibePay aims to remove debit card payments, fee-charging card schemes from the process and allowing consumers to pay merchants in real time, direct from their bank account, reducing online fraud and resulting in better cash flow for merchants who will receive value on funds sooner than via debit cards.
Open Banking, which is being adopted widely across the globe, gives customers the choice of who to make payments with for the first time. VibePay’s Open Banking platform will either be launched under the VibePay brand or under licence with an in-country partner.

Manchester Marketers Relocate to Cotton Court

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Manchester marketing consultancy Invoke Media has relocated its operation to Cotton Court Business Centre to support SMEs in the Lancashire area.

Invoke have been utilising Cotton Court for a number of years, making use of the second and fifth floor desk space, as well as meeting rooms to service their Central Lancashire based clients.

Jack Barron, Director, Invoke Media

Invoke director Jack Barron took on a role as Interim Marketing Director at Cotton Court in 2017, before becoming a permanent fixture in Spring of this year. This has has a direct influence on his decision to move the business to Cotton Court on a full-time basis.

“Obviously working in Cotton Court a number of days a week has had a massive impact on my decision to move the business to Preston. Whilst Manchester is only a short drive away, it has become apparent that moving between the two cities is not only inefficient, but unnecessary. Cotton Court has absolutely everything we need to run our business and provide a high level of service to our clients” says Jack. 

 

Invoke intend to make use of Cotton Court’s tech suite and virtual office services to support their move and overall operation, including the launch of a set of new services tailored specifically at Lancashire SMEs.

Invoke’s latest offerings include marketing support packages designed to make high quality marketing accessible to micro businesses, and their unique virtual marketing services aimed at SMEs who are looking to improve profitability through strategic marketing; with the flagship virtual marketing director service taking the lead.

He continues…

“We’re committed to helping micro, small and medium sized businesses achieve success. I’ll be looking to continue the work I do through Cotton Court into my own business by making marketing more accessible for Lancashire SMEs. Marketing is one of the premier components of business management & revenue generation, yet accessing it is out of reach for many. We’re hoping to change that with the new range of services we’re providing with the support of Cotton Court Business Centre”.

Invoke currently occupy space on the second and fifth floor of Cotton Court Business Centre, and make use of call handling, registered address, desk space and office services.

Find out more about Invoke Media helping Lancashire SMEs HERE.

Double Nomination for Cotton Court Resident

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They’re at it again! We’re proud to announce that Cotton Court Business Centre residents UK Media & Events have been shortlisted for 2018’s BIBA awards not once, but twice!

Shortlisted for awards in the ‘Leisure Business of the Year’ & ‘Micro Business of the Year’ categories, they’ll be battling it out with the best that Lancashire has to offer.

The BIBAs are a prestigious long-running award programme run by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Held on the 14th September at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, attendees can expect a sumptuous four-course meal and live entertainment, as well as the awards ceremony itself.

It is certainly one of the biggest dates in the Lancashire business calendar and a nomination is a huge achievement. We’ve all got our fingers crossed for a double-win!

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court says:

“We’re incredibly proud of the businesses that we work with here at Cotton Court, none more so than the guys at UKMAE. The last year in particular has seen some big client wins and new additions to the team to support their growth. It’s good to see their hard work paying off and I can’t think of another business more deserving of these nominations”.

Danny Bee, Managing Director at UK Media & Events adds:

“I’m so proud of the team and what we have achieved in the past 12 months. To be nominated again is great recognition for both our and our suppliers continuous hard work and the companies increased growth. I am very pleased we have this opportunity to showcase our services and what we do for our clients”.

If you want to see more about what UK Media & Events do, visit their website here:

https://ukmae.com/

To find out more about the BIBAs then visit the official site here:

https://www.thebibas.co.uk/

World Book Day 2018 – What Business Books Do We Recommend?

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The 1st March marks one of every child’s favourite school day – World Book Day. We’ve honoured the occasion this year not by dressing up as our favourite characters but with recommending our favourite business books! As every company is different we’ve asked our clients for their recommendations too, have a look below to see what they’ve said:

————–

Danny Bee – UK Media and Events

Money: Know More, Make More, Give More by Rob Moore

Harry Stezaker – DieCut Global

Brilliant Pitch: What to Know, Do and Say to Make the Perfect Pitch – Shaun Varga

Alys Stewart – Together We Balance

Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Tom Haviln – Get Staffed UK

Zero to One – Peter Thiel

Paul Livesey – Opsis

Soul Trader: Putting the Heart Back Into Your Business – Rasheed Ogunlaru

Amy Blundell – Cotton Court

The Magic of Thinking Big – David J. Schwartz

Jack Barron – Cotton Court

The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene

2017 Our Year in Review

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As 2017 has to come to an end we look back on all the amazing things our clients have done. Some of the memories and achievements have been so amazing we had to share with you what they have been up to…

Alys Stuart – Together we balance ~~ “The best part of my 2017 was in making the decision to take on staff. Having Tracy an then Bea join me in Together We Balance was the beginning of a major stage of growth for the company. Made easier by working at Cotton Court as all the facilities are in place and renting an extra desk was very simple to do.”

Daniel Fisher – Tienda Digital ~~ “Another Christmas comes, another Christmas party, another secret Santa and another year of delivery amazing projects for clients. When we look back and reflect on this year, a few things do stand out.

Relocation
This year we relocated back into the heart (city centre) of Preston to where it all began. Tienda Digital is proud to be in the heat of Lancashire and will continue to grow the digital sector here for years to come.

Awards
This year we came close to winning ‘Small Business of the Year’ (twice) but missed out to ome amazing winners. We are proud to be finalists in any award as it shows what we do is not only recognised but appreciated. Our very talented Eleisha Cartlidge only went and won ‘Employee of the Year’ at the Women In Business Awards. This is testimony to her hard work and dedication over the last few years.

TOOLi App
Our client TOOLi was voted the number 1 in the “Top 6 Apps For Tradesmen That Are Revolutionising The Industry” during 2017 which again is great news for not only ourselves for developing the app but for the guys at TOOLi.

Drop App
Tienda Digital worked with our client Drop to develop a new social connect app which has now launched and will be promoted to universities throughout the UK in 2018. The app has the potential to be huge and we will be supporting the guys at Drop to make sure this happens.

retailTRUST
It’s always nice to end the year on a high and this one is no different, Tienda Digital has been appointed to develop a mobile app for retailTRUST, a national trade charity that supports everyone involved in retail and the related service industries.

We would like to thank our clients, friends, family, business associates and even everyone who has liked tweeted or shared our social profiles this year. We wish you all the luck for 2018 and beyond.”

Roger Singleton – Riscon Solutions ~~ “My yearly highlight was the training of 10 staff at CARE International, an NGO based on the remote island of Tanna in the country of Vanuatu in March 2017. The training content was in Drinking Water and Sanitation system assessment in rural communities. Since that date, the team has undertaken over 50 system assessments and upgrades on the island.”

Danny Bee – UK Media And Events ~~ “We have delivered some fantastic events across the country for some of our clients, and being asked to produce Grace Davis’s performance in Cathedral Square, Blackburn for the x-factor semi-finals week (in less then 48 hours) was an amazing experience, achievement and honour. To top the event of the outcome and support shown towards Grace was phenomenal!”

Mark Drage – Ambledene ~~ “Ambledene was all about change this year whether that be the new logo or the fact we have added a new gin related monthly newsletter which allows people to see the best tried and tested gins of each month. Our new logo consists of two A’s combined to subtly create an ‘M’ this allowing us to showcase the Ambledene Accountancy Director Mark at the forefront of the business. To top the year off Ambledene Accountancy has helped their clients Vibe Tickets secure immense investments. Vibe tickets allows fans to exchange and negotiate on the price of tickets for live events. It has built a following of more than 70,000 users across eight countries since 2013. The investment will help them potentially become the number one destination for live events for fans across the globe.”

Craig Davis – Wise ability ~~ “My personal highlight was earlier in the year 3 of my candidates began work on the same day. This was particularly pleasing as the candidates had worked very hard to develop their skills and overcome their disabilities in order to find full-time employment. All 3 remain in work and have moved to unsupported employment, highlighting their individual capabilities and motivation to succeed.”

Jilly Jackson – Digital Touch ~~ “The highlights of the year for Digital Touch have been plentiful, including offering Photoshop training alongside our main Retouching work. This seemed to happen overnight and by chance and though it is not a lucrative part of the business, time is made, because a huge amount of pleasure is gained when sharing knowledge with people who are equally as enthusiastic when exploring the amazing world of Digital Art.
This year we have also taken on another retoucher Luke, who specialises in complex fantasy style artwork. He is incredibly patient with an exceptional eye for detail when taking on any task, making him a huge asset to Digital Touch.
The driving Force for what we do is the positive feedback we receive every single day from our many clients. However, due to the privacy required it is difficult to translate these to valuable online reviews, but nevertheless we still sit proudly in the top 5 of our all-important TrustPilot.
Towards the end of the year, we joined up with the guys at Manchester’s Digital Garage, who are assisting with improving our Adwords account and Analytics. Blogging on Social Media and Networking on Business groups have been incredibly beneficial and again Digital Garage will be working with us to maximise the use of LinkedIn as we look forward to generating additional B2B work in the New Year.
This year has been wonderfully empowering and 2018 has been tasked with the challenge of surpassing expectations.”

Andy Neale – Global Amigos ~~ “2017 was an amazing year for Global Amigos we: offered work experience, helped with CV’s and gave a reference which

allowed one of our first supporters to achieve employment after just one month of full-time volunteering!; our Podio magazine was shortlisted for the ‘Start-Up Social Enterprise Of The Year Award’ – for the annual SELNet Awards (Social Enterprise Lancashire Network) The ceremony alone was a highlight itself; Our founder Andy volunteered in India during the summer, supporting international communities. When he returned to England he had a clearer long-term vision for Global Amigos as a result; later on in the year, we won the project management contract for Preston At Night, enabling us to further share our passion for all things Preston. To top the year off it was an honour to have Podio PR1’s name and Christmas message shining brightly on the big screen at Preston’s Christmas Light Switch on, for the second year running.”

Spotlight On Success: GetStaffed

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Our ‘Spotlight On Success’ series takes a look at the people we work with, to showcase their talent and look at what really makes them successful.  

 

We’re big believers that it’s important for entrepreneurs & business owners to surround themselves with successful people. It’s not just about networking or getting advice from others. The people you interact with on a daily basis can impact upon the way you feel, think and act. We’re proud to have a wide network of successful, driven & experienced clients and contacts to surround ourselves with, and provide our clients with an environment conducive to successful business.

 

In this edition, we turn our attention to fifth floor resident success story, GetStaffed. They’ve received a considerable amount of attention recently, with a string of high value client wins and continuous growth.

 

Who are they?

GetStaffed are a Preston based staffing solution provider, with a national footprint. They’re headed by young entrepreneurs Tom Havlin & Tom Craig, two highly driven individuals who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.  

Tom Havlin (Managing Director) & Tom Craig (Operations Manager)

 

What do they do?

They’ve got a proven track record of providing high quality staff for the events and promotions industry. They don’t just recruit and supply a team, they invest in the personal development of their staff, meaning their clients receive the absolute best in service and expertise. They provide everything from bar staff and managers, to brand promotion teams and mobile bars.

 

Find out more about what they do here…

 

Who do they work with?

GetStaffed work with clients across the UK of various sizes, predominantly in the events and promotions sectors. They’ve provided mobile bars for small functions, through to large teams for established festivals like Creamfields & large venues such as Victoria Warehouse.

 

They’re in high demand, meaning that they’re constantly recruiting and training high quality staff for events across the country, 7 days a week. If you know someone who might be suitable, fill in an application form here…

What makes them successful?

The drive and determination of the directors and management is without a doubt one of the key critical success factors for GetStaffed. The ‘hands on’ approach from these individuals ensures that the company ethos is adhered to at all times, and their reputation grows from strength to strength.

 

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court says:

 

“In addition to strong leadership, a considerable factor in their success is the amount they invest in their own people. The training and routes of progression offered to their staff ensures ‘buy in’ from people at all levels of the business.

 

The management are approachable, but more importantly, they care about the individuals who work for them as much as they do their clients. That is how you win and retain high quality, loyal staff. It’s these staff that are their true selling point and are the foundation of their extremely good reputation.”

 

When asked what he thought made them successful, Managing Director of GetStaffed, Tom Havlin said:

Tom Havlin, Managing Director, GetStaffed

“We’ve built a solid reputation for being reliable and for providing high quality of staff to events across the country. I think our major point of difference, what sets us apart from our competitors, is the time and money we spend on the development of our team, whether that be team building and social activities, or personal professional development.

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got a big team, but myself and Tom Craig know every single one of them, and we’re always at the events ensuring the reputation of the brand is upheld. We’ve had some big client wins recently which are helping to stimulate the growth of the business, with much of that additional revenue going back into staff training and development. We believe we’re successful because of the people we work with, and we win their commitment and loyalty by demonstrating it ourselves.”

 

How can you find them?

You can get in touch with GetStaffed by email at: info@getstaffeduk.com

Visit their website at: http://www.getstaffeduk.com/

Or call them on: 01772 921107

How can you ensure customers pay on time? And what to do when they don’t!

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When you go above and beyond for clients, you expect to get paid just as fast. The biggest disappointment for a small business owner is when those expectations are not shared by the client when the invoice is due for payment.

Staying silent and hoping they will pay on time out of courtesy is not the way forward. You need to find a better way and fast, so here are our top tips on how to get your clients to pay on time…

  • Make it Convenient:

Arrange a set date each financial period when it is convenient for your client to pay, ensuring they are expecting and prepared for the invoice can also ensure they pay it on time! This tip also shows your clients that you are flexible with when they pay and that you want to make the transaction as easy and stress-free as possible for both of you.

  • Using technology:

Stop using paper to send your invoices as it is a prone way for your clients to make excuses as to why they haven’t paid I.E It got lost in the post. Instead, offer them an online invoicing process with the ability to pay there and then. There are plenty of online cloud-based accountancy and invoice websites. Some of these include Xero; The Sage Group; Go Daddy also Chaser a credit control software. Chaser and Xero are seamlessly integrated meaning that you won’t have to input and data as it uploads automatically from Xero.

Go Cardless is also a renowned website which chases your payments for you o ensuring you spend no more time following up late payments.; late payments or bad debt. Like chaser, you can also import all of your information from other websites, whether that be Xero or Sage 50.

We have many clients within our business centre that are always willing to help small business. If you would like any information then just email us on info@cottoncourt.co.uk and we will pass on your information.

  • Switch to a recurring billing:

If you’re the type of entrepreneur who has different billing dates each month, then you may need to rethink your strategy. However, if you choose to partner with a recurring invoicing system, you may find that your client remembers to pay on time EVERY time.

  • Nurture your client’s relationship:

If you have a good relationship with your clients then you should have respect when it comes to getting paid on time. If you both get to know how each other work then it will make it easier if you need to pick up the phone and ask about your payment.

  • Speed up your invoicing delivery:

If you improve your payment delivering terms to every two weeks rather than monthly or even weekly. Then this may help the client by training them to become timely with payments. Meanwhile, you get paid more often so timing becomes less of an issue because your cash flow will also improve.

  • Reward early payers:

Instead of an “overdue fee” implement a system that takes a set percentage of your client’s bill if they pay within three days or less of receiving the invoice. This may seem like your losing money but will strengthen yours and your client’s relationship as then will pay early because who doesn’t like a cheaper bill!

  • Get expert advice:

Every small business owner has the same approach when running their business “Hands-On”. But if the cash flow is a growing concern, then take a cue from bigger Companies and contact a financial advisor. They can provide the skills, information and discipline you need to get your finances back on track.

  • Collecting overdue accounts:

Despite your best efforts, there will likely come a time when a client will miss a payment deadline. How you react and respond to the situation can make a big difference.

The number one step is to get in touch immediately! You may feel like you should wait and hope they pay. However, with each passing week, you’re less likely to get paid.

After 30 days, start charging interest. You should have a payment policy which will specify your terms of overdue payments. Be sure to include your late payment fee on any subsequent invoices you send.

Continue getting in touch with your clients as they will need significant “nagging” to make their payment. Every time you get in touch with your client make sure to indicate your payment terms and the amount of interest that has occurred…