We are looking forward to hosting Create Theatre Academy as they welcome back their students!

Cotton Court Business Centre

Productivity

Cotton Court welcomes Create Theatre Academy!

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We are looking forward to hosting Create Theatre Academy as they welcome back their students!

Who are Create Theatre?

Create Theatre Academy offers a unique training experience of the highest quality taught by industry professionals. Their mission at Create Theatre is to nurture talent and enhance performance skills with innovation and imagination. 

Create aim to build a strong foundation for their students so that they can succeed in reaching their full potential. They take pride in building student confidence, encouraging growth and creating a safe space for students to develop their skills in Musical Theatre and Acting. Create Theatre Academy are a triple threat school focussing on allthree disciplines, Acting, Singing and Dance, ensuring they bring to their students a wide range of knowledge in all areas of the industry.

Founded by Rebecca Eastham, Wesley Bromley and Alex May Roberts, who as a team of all working actors and creatives in the industry can provide a fresh and contemporary approach to our training, They pride themselves on being an inclusive and engaging place for individuals to embrace their own unique talents and skills.

Email : createtheatreacademy@gmail.com

Meet the team :

Wesley Bromley –

Wesley graduated from The Urdang Academy London with a distinction in Professional Musical Theatre and Dance. Wesley is currently working as a senior rehearsal director/ choreographer for talent artistic group/ tui sensatori international. 

 

 

Rebecca Eastham- 

Rebecca trained at the prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre London in Musical Theatre (BA Hons) as well as working as a professional actress. Rebecca has taught drama and musical theatre ( including lamda exams) in various schools across the North West.

 

 

Alex May Roberts –

Alex May Robertr trained at the University of Central Lancashire and graduated with a degree in Musical Theatre (BA Hons). She is currently working as a drama tutor and is a highly skilled vocal coach. Alex is a professional musical theatre performer and is represented by a top London agent. 

 

10 Socially Distanced Meeting Must-Haves

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Planning and organising a conference or meeting requires a great amount of forethought and consideration at the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic, and people that are responsible for organising meetings and training sessions have a number of further considerations to make in order to ensure that their delegates feel safe. 

  1. Thermal scanning is becoming a must-have layer of security for people attending meetings and events. Thermal scanners alert venue staff if someone has an elevated temperature on arrival, giving an indication of Covid symptoms and won’t be admitted to the premises. Not having this capability will add an element of risk for attendees.
  2. A spacious room with plenty of ventilation will help delegates feel more comfortable and at ease. As well as your office boardrooms, you’ll need to bear in mind that venues will also have reduced room capacities; a room that could have once held up to 25-30 delegates now might only be able to accommodate 10 people or fewer at a safe social distance.
  3. Blended training…..do you want to offer an online option? Some of the people you’d really like to attend may not be able to due to local restrictions or personal circumstances. Choosing a venue that has a strong technical offering can really open up your options. Think tracking cameras, strong internet connection, HD screens and Zoom capabilities.
  4. Risk assessments are a must have for any meeting and events planner. A venue should have a risk assessment specifically for Covid-19, outlining the potential risks and their intended precautions. You should request this from the venue prior to the event. 
  5. Look out for the Visit England GoodToGo industry standard and consumer mark, which provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for businesses and visitors that clear processes are in place in the venue.  
  6. Consider your catering…..are the venue able to provide individually packaged lunch and refreshments for your event? When there are fewer touch points in service areas your delegates will feel more confident. 
  7. How will visitor traffic be managed? Make sure the venue has something in place for managing visitor traffic, such as a one way system, particularly for larger meetings. 
  8. Keep your delegates informed. Venues are likely to be operating stricter visitor policies and people may be required to leave their personal details on arrival for test and trace records, the waiting areas may also have restrictions.
  9. Provide attendees with travel information. Letting them know about onsite or nearby parking, and any changes to public transport will be particularly helpful during this time. 
  10. Get some feedback. What did the delegates like about the event, are there any improvements you can make next time. You want delegates to be happy to return to meetings and training, and feeling safe is key, so it’s always a good idea to follow up to see how they found the experience.

Whilst the specific requirements of your meeting and industry will dictate how you plan your event and the factors you need to consider, the nine factors we’ve discussed here are a good place to start. Don’t get stressed about your event, follow a clear process and don’t be afraid to lean on your venue for support or advice.

We pride ourselves on the level of customer service we provide here at Cotton Court, and regularly help our customers and prospective customers in the planning phase of their meeting or event. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need some friendly advice around planning your next meeting.

 

Reimagining the Future of Workspaces – Flexibility Takes Centre Stage

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As the world evolves, so must workspaces. Technological advancements have revolutionised the business landscape at an unprecedented rate; from e-commerce to automation. In the workplace, this translates to increased flexibility and mobility in the way we work.

To improve workplace productivity and motivate employees, businesses must adopt office practices that complement the ongoing trend in the labor market; flexibility and mobility.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Winston Churchill,

A growing number of organisations are realising the importance of flexible workspaces. Startups, SMEs, and Fortune 500 companies are embracing the changing tides in the industry. But what are the benefits of flexible workspaces? What do businesses stand to gain from flexible serviced offices.

What Exactly is a Flexible Workspace?

A flexible workspace is basically a fully-serviced office that requires little-to-no set-up costs, and minimal time to set up. It offers the features of a conventional office, but without the hassle of designing, set up, and long term leases.

The idea of flexible workspaces is rooted in the concept of co-working. Co-working spaces offer a centralised shared area, surrounded by small or large private offices. The shared area typically houses various amenities, lounges, and conference rooms. This gives employees flexibility and mobility throughout the day.

What are the Benefits of a Flexible/Collaborative Workspace?

Regardless of your company size, flexible workspaces offer value to both the employees and the business.

  1. Agility

Market expectations and consumer habits are constantly evolving. As priorities shift, organisations must align their workforce to correspond to the changes. This fast-moving world demands a certain level of agility; which is offered by flexible workspaces.

One of the main benefits of a serviced office is the flexibility offered with contracts and leases. Businesses no longer need to be tied to a fixed lease,meaning they can enjoy greater flexibility as market conditions change. For example, a company can deployer a project team closer to a target market for a short period and relocate immediately after finishing the project.

  1. Cost-Saving

Flexible workspaces significantly improve the bottom line by allowing businesses to cut costs. Businesses only pay for what they need now, on a month-by-month basis, rather than what they may need two years down the line.

For example, if you’re setting up a regional office and you have around 10 employees, renting a long-term full-floor office would result in unnecessary costs and wasted space. But if those employees were placed in a flexible workspace, they would still enjoy the perks of dedicated office space, minus the costs of a traditional model.

  1. Foster Connection and Interaction

In an increasingly virtual world, characterised by improved connectivity and remote working; does working from an office still offer benefits? Or is working from home the new normal?

The truth of the matter is that people who thought working from home would be great are now recognising that the office plays an important role. An article appearing in the Harvard Business Review notes that “face-to-face interactions are by far the most important activity in an office.”

Employers also have to consider the needs and preferences of employees

  1. Employees Comfort and Motivation

Flexible workspaces are designed for activity-based working that aligns to the employees’ working style. This gives employees greater flexibility over how and where they work thereby increasing their productivity, work quality, and satisfaction. According to a study by Herman Miller, worker comfort affects operational efficiency by increasing job satisfaction, retention, productivity, and well-being.

  1. Improved Scalability

Looking to expand your business? Planning to build a team in a test market before entry? Serviced offices allow you to scale, regardless of your company size. Setting up an office is fast and moving in is easy, especially since operational tasks are catered for.

Takeaway

Flexible offices offer a ton of benefits that can improve the bottom line, while fostering employee satisfaction. Businesses no longer need the kind of real estate they once did, and can therefore reduce costs.

In other words, flexible workspaces are the future! In an increasingly dynamic and fast-paced world, businesses need to adopt practices, policies, and office designs that align with the changing times.

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.

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

Spotlight On Success – Digital Touch

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Everything Digital Touches Turns to Photo Edited Gold

We’ve all heard of the Midas Touch, but what about the Digital Touch?

Now celebrating three years at Cotton Court’s creative hub, Digital Touch has recently undergone the sort of visual makeover that the successful digital photo retouching business is widely-regarded for delivering on, in relation to its extensive – and eclectic – client list.

Founded some 8 years ago by Managing Director Jilly Jackson, the company specialises in providing a digitally-created product, wedding, beauty, family and restoration photo retouching services for both personal and business clients. And has enjoyed accumulative successes completing briefs of varying natures and eventualities since Digital Touch’s inception.

 

The Sky’s the Limit for Rebranded Digital Photo Retouching Business

The standard of Jilly and her image-enhancing team’s work and professionalism shown from the outset of communications with clients is clearly reflected in the volume of positive customer reviews that Digital Touch receives. So much so, that Digital Touch is recognised as the UK’s number 1 Digital Photo Retouching Services by TrustPilot, and equally highly rated at Google My Business.

As Jilly seeks to take the business forward, she’s invested heavily of late in both continued visual appeal and employee power. Keenly illustrated in the aesthetic rebranding of the client-facing website along with the appointment of Chris Barker to the role of in-house Content Writer.

https://digitaltouch.co.uk/

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/digitaltouch.co.uk

https://g.page/digital-touch-photo-retouching

Lancashire Adult Learning’s Get Started With ICT Course- Places Available

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Do you want to improve your computer skills; help the children with their homework or are you struggling to use the internet?

Lancashire Adult Learning are holding a FREE ICT course which will help you develop a range of skills for home, work or if you are looking for employment. Classes are small, friendly and supportive, allowing you to grow in confidence at your own pace. At the start, you will attend a Functional skills taster session, where you will find out more about the course and see if it’s the right one for you. These courses offer the opportunity to gain Functional Skills qualifications from Entry Level to Level 1!

These ICT courses will help you to develop the skills and confidence to use a computer. You can then use your new skills to find services in your area; find new hobbies; help your children with their homework or even to find a new job online. Computer skills are widely used across all areas of everyday life and having these skills will help to access much more information, as well as improving your job prospects.

Call 0333 003 1717 to enrol now!

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