Cotton Court Business Centre

Events

Congratulations Mayor Veronica Afrin

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Mayor of Preston, Veronica Afrin, was sworn into the role at an inauguration ceremony last week, in which our very own Jon Nutten was a last minute stand in photographer for the reception at the Harris Museum on Wednesday night.

Coun Afrin said: “I have been involved in setting up all kinds of charities in Preston and a lot of them are already writing to me asking me to come and see them during my mayoral year.

“I am looking forward to catching up with a lot of old friends and meeting a lot of new ones.

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“The role of mayor is still very important to people and after 35 years as a councillor this is the icing on the cake.”

The Labour councillor, who represents St Matthews ward, has appointed her daughter, Joanne, and granddaughter, Colette, as her Mayoresses.

Mayor Afrin has been straight to work on Saturday entertaining the Purple Flag inspectors as they inspected our City to ensure Preston retains its prestigious accreditation as one of the best nights out in the country for a third successive year. A project in which Cotton Court have been heavily involved in, by helping promote the event via multiple Social Media channels

All the staff at Cotton Court Business Centre wish Veronica all the very best for her tenure as Preston’s Mayor.

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SEO | 6 Surprisingly Simple Factors That Will Take The Lead

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This time of year is suitable for retrospection. We’re able to take a good look at how things played out in 2012, and get an idea of the trends and patterns that are most likely to dominate the coming year.

2012 was rough for SEO experts due to radical changes in Google’s algorithms, including many updates to Panda, as well as the the introduction of Penguin. While content quality and inbound links continue to play major roles in organic rankings, let’s take a look at the other factors that will govern SEO in 2013.

SEO | Quality of Content

Ultimately, it all comes down to the quality and value of the content on your website. Google has been very explicit this year about good-quality content, and we expect this trend to carry over into next year in full force. By content quality, the metrics are:

uniqueness of the content/topic
resourcefulness and information richness (i.e., no thin content)

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SEO | Mobile/Responsive Design

Although this does not directly influence the ranking of a page, it will play a role in your fortunes. Google was one of the first companies to become aware of this trend in web browsing due to the growing presence of tablets and smartphones.

Already, roughly 16 percent of searches come from mobile devices. This means local searches will be reaching their full potential both in SEO and in PPC.

Local businesses can no longer afford to excuse themselves from SEO or Internet marketing in general. This increase in mobile searches also means that site owners need to ensure that their site is served up well on mobile devices like having one site for desktop and other for mobile device.

SEO | Content Marketing

Content marketing is being touted as the next big thing. Experts have called it the new SEO. To an extent, this is true. As a general rule, content marketing attracts backlinks, and adds value for the user/reader. It is more challenging, because you have to generate more content of high quality, circulate it, and make sure your content gets published widely with ample social signals to generate substantial SEO value.

Since Google takes valuable content seriously, a solid content marketing strategy will be the key to climbing to the next level in SEO.

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SEO | Social Signals

After much debate and discussion, social signals have largely been accepted as valid ranking factors. No doubt, you’ve heard lots of buzz about social search and how Google +1’s and shares are going to be important. Well, this is the year when you will see not just +1’s on Google and Facebook shares on Bing integrated more into traditional search results on topics that are shared, but also related topics on the same site.

Facebook just announced a major social graph search feature this week. This changes the way we search online and over time it will change consumer behavior and search as we know it today.

SEO | Rel=Author Tag

We’re living in an influencer economy of sorts. Influencers can be celebrities, bloggers, authors, or other industry leaders.

Because we’re in an influencer economy, and so much content is being created, the one way to differentiate content is by how many other people are sharing that content or talking about that content. An influencer has the ability to share a specific piece of content that gets more shares and gets talked about it by their followers. For search engines, especially Google, influencers are a great solution to separate the wheat from the chaff.

SEO | Media

Images and videos have become staples on the Internet. We’ve consistently seen that relevant results that include videos get ranked higher than text-only content. The further emergence of media content is an important development you can expect next year. It’s becoming essential to add relevant non-textual media to text content, because this adds value and makes the content more resourceful.

Find out more about SEO for your business by attending the SEO taster workshop with Howdan Marketing on Wednesday 12th June, 8.30am – 10am. BOOK NOW

 

Cotton Court Supports #PRESTFEST

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Cotton Court Business Centre was recently asked by North and Western Lancs Chamber of Commerce and Preston BID (Business Improvement District) to work alongside them on a project that joined together a selection of city centre venues in a steering group to bring you Preston by Night.  Preston by Night promoted and raised awareness online for a new event called Prestfest, a 3 day celebration of Preston’s evening entertainment.

So what is Preston by Night and why have they the venues come together to promote Preston as a good night out?

Preston is one of only a handful of towns and cities in the country to be awarded the prestigious Purple Flag standard, demonstrating the City Centre’s achievement in creating a safe, easily accessible and lively & vibrant night out. Its diverse clientele and abundance of social activities validates Preston’s determination in maintaining high standards.

It is not just for the bars and clubs. With cuisine from every corner of the world and a great late night culture, theatres, comedy, an annual programme of events and a range of hotels, Preston is a key night time destination for all.

For more information about this prestigious award visit www.purpleflag.org.uk

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Cotton Court Business Centre was tasked with increasing the pages likes, customer interaction, app design, online branding, photography coverage, and the support of all the business within Preston City Centre that were taking part in the 3 day festival by promoting their offers and activities.

Below is the custom build welcome page that everyone is taken to before “liking” the page.

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The result is a vibrant and active Facebook page with nearly 2500 likes, hitting a target audience reach of 27808 people, in Preston alone. The page has an active audience range of all ages. As expected, the 18-24 & 25-34 age brackets contain the highest number of people, closely followed by the 35-44 market.

We are continuing to work with the Chamber, BID and Preston by Night group to develop and evolve the project. The photos from the Prestfest weekend will online very shortly on the Preston by Night Facebook page.  You can also follow Preston by Night & PrestFest on Twitter: @PrestonByNight & @PrestFest

 

3ManFactory Shortlisted for BIBAs New Business of the Year

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What a start to the year for 3ManFactory! After being shortlisted as Creative Business of the Year in the  Red Rose Awards and New Business of the Year in the E3 Business Awards, 3ManFactory have now been shortlisted for New Business of the Year in the BIBAs 2013.

The BIBAs are touted as being Lancashire’s leading and biggest awards ceremony, recognising and honouring the breadth of business achievement in Lancashire in all its variety. To be shortlisted for another award makes us a very proud bunch indeed: we’ve worked hard to and strived to be one of Lancashire’s go-to organisations for businesses that want to take their digital strategies to the next level.

We wish them the best of luck! We will see them at the premier awards ceremony.

For more information about The BIBAs 2013.

What is the Lancashire Cycle Challenge?

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The Lancashire Cycle Challenge is a fun, free competition to encourage your colleagues to remember the joys and benefits of riding a bike. There are lots of fantastic prizes on offer to tempt your team; from cinema tickets and local restaurant vouchers, to bike gear to support your cycle journey.

How it works

It’s all about participation – which workplaces can get the most people to ride a bike for just 10 minutes or more?

Lancashire businesses will compete against each other to see who can get the most staff to ride a bike between Monday 17 June to Sunday 7 July.

It’s not about who can cycle the most miles, but who can encourage the most people to give cycling a go.

Recruit workmates to ride a bike to climb up the leaderboard and win the Challenge. People only need to cycle for 10 minutes or more! It’s easy and fun!

 

To sign up! Follow the link: Love to Ride Lancashire

More information: Challenge for Change Website

Social Media: Getting It Right Seminar Photos

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Quick Snapshot from the Downtown in Business Social Media: Getting it right seminar.

A huge thank you to Tracey & Roger – Downtown in Business, The cheeky chaps Nathaniel Cassidy & Tom Stables from 3ManFactory, Hiran Panchal – Cotton Studios, Robert Binns – Cotton Court Business Centre for his referee skills & everyone who attended.

Follow us on twitter #DTsocial – fast paced social networking…..

Here’s a few tweets from the seminar

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A couple of pictures from todays event

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Getting ready to kick of the Social Media: Getting it right seminar hosted at Cotton Court Business Centre with Downtown in Business

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Tom Stables & Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory discussing customer service interaction with social media. Nathaniel telling us about watches? Christopher Ward Watches – Great example of good customer service – They made 100 limited edition watches after a customer tweeted them.

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Creating a check list for you social media to target your key objectives month by month! Helps target and encage your customers and followers.

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Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory showing twitter search tools during the seminar. Who is Frank McKenna??? – Downtown in Business Chief Executive.

Follow: 3manFactory

Follow: Frank McKenna – Downtown in Business

Follow: Cotton Court Business Centre

National Apprenticeship Week

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This week marks the UK’s National Apprenticeships Week. This week intends to raise awareness of apprenticeships and the positive impact they can have on businesses and the UK economy. Forecasts indicate that apprenticeships could add a further 3.4bn a year in economic gains to the UK.

Apprenticeship schemes will give young people the chance to learn a trade and build their careers. The Government are looking at ways they can expand apprenticeship opportunities so that they can become more widely available to young people. Barclays have also announced an expansion of its national ‘Bridges to Work’ programme, which is designed to help companies find and employ apprentices.

Apprenticeships ensure that your workforce has the practical skills and qualifications your organisation needs now and in the future. The mixture of on and off job learning ensures they learn the skills that work best for your business.

Over 130,000 workplaces offer apprentice places because they understand the benefits that apprentices bring to their business – increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a committed and competent work-force.

Improve your bottom line – Apprenticeships deliver real returns to your bottom line, with Apprenticeships helping them to improve productivity and to be more competitive. Training apprentices can also be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs.

Fill your skills gaps – Apprenticeships deliver skills designed around your business needs providing the skilled workers you need for the future. They also help you develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector.

Motivate your workforce – Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that invested in them. Remember, an apprentice is with you because they want to be – they have made an active choice to learn on the job and a commitment to a specific career.

One Connect Limited will host an Apprenticeships and Placements event on 20th March 2013 at Cotton Court.  The event will commence at 5.30pm until 7.30pm. Refreshments will be provided along with free parking onsite.

5.30pm Refreshments and networking

6.00pm Welcome: One Connect Limited – Sarah Walmsley

County Councillor Michael Green

One Connect Limited – An insight into our services

Charlotte Iddon and Rachel Briggs will highlight the benefits of working with One Connect

Limited and how your business can be supported in a risk free and cost effective way.

With offerings of accessing free training, saving costs on recruitment and sourcing free staff.

TO BOOK ON TO THE EVENT

Looking to grow your business?

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Looking to grow your business? Want a new way to recruit young talent?

This event is for any business owners in Lancashire who are looking to grow their businesses.  With offerings of saving on recruitment costs, providing you with independant advice and guidance on recruiting and training, information on grants and funding available.

One Connect Limited is hosting an Apprenticeship and Placements event on March 20th at 5.30pm-7.30pm in Cotton Court Business Centre, Preston Lancashire.

Refreshments and networking from 5.30pm speakers from 6pm

You will leave knowing more about grants of up to £15,000 for your business to support young people, One Connect Limited’s programmes which offer Lancashire businesses young adults for up to 8 weeks at no cost to the business.  This hugely successful programme offers businesses young adults on a trail basis, to enable skill matching.

Presentations from

Sarah Walmsley of One Connect Limited and Councillor Michael Green

Dawood Fard and Louis Rollenson of Centurus Ltd

Charlotte Iddon and Rachel Briggs of One Connect Limited

Paula Gibson of National Apprenticeship Service

Your business can’t afford to miss out on this great opportunity, book your place to find out more.

BOOK HERE

Get Started with Social Media, with Cotton Court and 3ManFactory

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Get to grips with your business’s social media presence

Let us show you how to engage with new and existing customers, increase your website traffic and improve your lead generation.

Cotton Court is hosting social media workshops in conjunction with 3ManFactory. This course is ideal for business owners, freelancers and anyone responsible for customer service, marketing or PR within their organisation that want to take the first steps into social media.

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These courses are hands-on and are carefully structured and designed so that each delegate will leave with complete profiles on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn., and will be linked with other businesses through these pages.

Social media has transformed the way that companies of all sizes interact with their customers. Businesses can use Facebook and Twitter to reach over 30 million users. LinkedIn however is 4 times better for b2b lead generation than Facebook and Twitter.

The facts:

  • 91 % of experienced social marketers have seen improved website traffic due to social media campaigns and 79% are generating more quality leads.
  • 75% of business owners have been put off a particular company due to their poor use of social media.
  • Social media users who receive great service tell an average of 42 people (compared to just 9 for social absentees)
  • 47% of customers are somewhat likely to purchase from a brand that they follow or like
  • 65% of the world’s top companies have an active Twitter profile
  • 90% of marketers use social media channels for business, with 93% of these rating social tools as “important”

These courses are held monthly within our IT Suite.

To book your place, or for more information, please call 01772 507767 or email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Cotton Court joins winners & finalists at the E3 Business Awards

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Great night at the E3 Business Awards last night. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!

Around 700 guests from the North West business community attended the first multicultural E3 Business Award ceremony at the Reebok Stadium.  Our director, Robert, was part of the independent judging panel of entrepreneurs and business experts.

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The winners were:

Business of the Year: Hockley International;

Employer of the Year: Fazila Foods;

Investment in Skills of the Year: Bank View Smile Studios;

Business Innovation of the Year: Mole Group;

Business Education Collaboration of the Year: NCC Resources;

Manufacturing Business of the Year: Designer Sofas 4 U;

International Business of the Year: Checkpoint Safety;

Sustainable Buisiness of the Year: Roaming Roosters;

Oustanding Woman in Business: Gail Hounslea, Wardworth;

Young Enterpreneur of the Year: Ria Meera Munshi, Ri Ri’s Dance Academy;

High Growth Business of the Year: Renewable Solutions UK;

New Business Start-Up of the Year: Staff Absence Solutions.

The evening concluded with a keynote speech by entrepreneur David Atherton, and a personal achievement award for Robina Mann, the founder of Blackburn-based clothing company, Amir Hosiery.

Please find below link to a snapshot of this years awards ceremony

E3 Business Awards Video