Cotton Court Business Centre

Entrepreneur

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.

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!” 

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

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.

Sell-Out Flag Market Event a Quadruple Win for clients Invoke Media

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Invoke Media celebrate collaborative success of landmark local event

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media are celebrating a quadruple win after last week’s successful Prestfest event on Preston Flag Market.

The annual event is organised by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Preston Business Improvement District (BID), with the intent of bringing thousands of party goers into the city centre to stimulate the night-time economy & celebrate the coveted purple flag accreditation.

This year’s sell-out event has surpassed all previous years in terms of attendance, economic impact and customer feedback.

The planning and execution of the event has been led by Preston BID, alongside a careful selection of expert providers from the Preston and Central Lancashire area. 

Invoke saw three of its key clients involved in the event. Preston BID as the event organiser, Get Staffed providing the bar and hospitality team, and UK Media & Events as the event management and production agency. 

In addition to client involvement, Invoke Media took the marketing lead for the event for the third year running, providing paid social advertisements, messenger marketing, live video streams and overall marketing consultancy & support; helping Preston BID sell 95% of its online tickets before the event.

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“It’s one of those rare occasions where we get to collaborate with multiple key clients on the same project. It was a great experience to work with like-minded people, each an expert in their own field, to put together an excellent event that has driven thousands of people into the city centre. Our involvement and that of three key clients makes this a quadruple win for us and extremely satisfying.”

He continued:

“The main reason we moved Invoke Media to Preston from Manchester was to support and be a part of the development & investment that is happening in our city, my hometown. It’s events like this, local collaboration and hard-working organisations like Preston BID that are driving growth and making us a true contender in the region, we can’t wait until next year”

Mark Whittle, Manager of Preston BID said:

“Preston BID worked with a close-knit team of local trusted businesses, to plan and execute our most successful event to date. By working with Preston businesses we’ve not only ensured a sell-out, well-run event; we’ve fed back into the local economy and supported chamber members.“

Further Information

Invoke Media is a marketing agency based at Preston’s Cotton Court Business Centre. Incorporated as a limited company in 2013 and operating from Manchester city centre, it returned to Preston in summer of 2018 to support the development of the city and local area. 

Working with local success stories such as the San Marco Group, GetStaffed, Baluga Bar & Club, Cotton Court Business Centre and the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, they have truly ingrained themselves in the local economy and the success stories it creates.

Northern Powerhouse Lancashire #PowerUp!

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We were delighted to host the Northern Powerhouse Lancashire #PowerUp conference yesterday. We took away some really useful information about how businesses can access the best support available to help them to grow! Attendees benefited from the advice of panel members Sue Barnard (Senior Manager, British Business Bank), Ben Hookway (CEO, Relative insight), Andrew Leeming (Boost Programme Manager, Boost Business Lancashire), Will Salt (Senior Policy Adviser, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)) and Andy Mann (Director and Group Editor, The Samuel James Group.) The event discussed business support and how such organisations can help companies access the most relevant, best support available to grow the Lancashire economy and support local businesses!
The Northern Powerhouse is the government’s vision for a super-connected, globally-competitive northern economy with a flourishing private sector, a highly-skilled population, and world-renowned civic and business leadership.
The North has a long history of innovation, influencing the fortunes of the country and the face of the 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.  

NPIF is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley. NPIF provides over £400m of investment to boost small and medium business (SME) growth in the North of England. Funding options which are available include; Microfinance, Debt Finance and Equity Finance.
If you are a small business that is looking for support get in touch and we can point you in the right direction #growinglancashire  

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!

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.

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