Cotton Court Business Centre


National Baby Swimming Week With Water Babies!

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To celebrate National Baby Swimming Week which is 13th – 19th October 2019 we turn our attention to our second-floor residents Water Babies. In May last year, Holly Unsworth was the youngest ever owner of a Water Babies swimming business and has had an office at Cotton Court from day 1! 

Who are they?

25-year old Bolton-born Holly Unsworth runs the Lancashire and Bolton Water Babies, the world’s largest baby and toddler swimming franchise business.

The team, based at Cotton Court employs 15 people, including Jess (office manager), and admin assistants Gemma, VJ and Leo. 

What do they do?

The Lancashire and Bolton Water Babies franchise teaches around 900 babies a week. The sessions focus on teaching parents how to teach their babies to swim so that they can support them as they learn an important skill and develops confidence. As the world’s largest professional baby and toddler swimming programme, Water Babies teach around 47,000 children at over 560 pools every week.

What makes Water Babies great?

Baby swimming with Water Babies is an exciting, enriching experience for both parent and child. Not only does it teach vital life skills, but it also enhances the way babies and toddlers learn other skills, too. Holly and the team, work hard to make sure they have exceptionally high standards of professionalism, and no one else works harder to make sure the babies feel happy and safe. Holly said 

“ We always incorporate lots of bonding, fun and socialising, so you can be sure that a Water Baby is a happy baby!”

Find out more about what they do here… WaterBabies

The journey so far…

Holly was first inspired to dip her toe in the water as a Water Babies baby swimming teacher when she used to help out as a pool attendant as a teenager. She would watch the classes and be completely in awe of the incredible bond the teachers had with the babies. She always loved children, and she knew then that she wanted to be a part of this special time in their lives.

Holly gained several years’ teaching experience from working for a neighbouring Water Babies office, where she had the chance to run her own classes locally and jumped at it. 

What does Holly like best about having her own business?

She enjoys watching the little ones as they progress each week, and knowing that not only has she helped them in their swimming journey but have also watched them grow up, is a real privilege.

She enjoys the freedom that being her own boss gives her, she has a great team and loves being able to help her team develop and progress in their own careers. 

When asked what she thought made them successful, Franchisee Holly said “Everyone is so professional and willing to help. We’ll do as much as we can for each other and the customers and we’re all the best at what we do.” 

How can you find them?

You can get in touch with WaterBabies Lancashire by email at:

Visit their website at:

Follow them on Facebook: Water Babies (Lancashire)

Or call them on: 01772 921523

Importance of Having a Business Address

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Starting a new business can be complicated. One of the major problems that you are most likely to face, if you are new to the business world, is that of not having an official address for all your business dealings. 

For instance, suppose you start a business selling t-shirts. Now, if a buyer wants to send you back the bought shirts or wants to exchange the size or colour of one, then having them send it back to your own home address would not only be unbefitting but would also put your own security and privacy at risk.

It is of no question that creating a professional image from the get-go is necessary, and it can be particularly challenging for home-based businesspersons. This is why now the facility of having a professional business address is available to all such working people and businesses.

Kinds Of Business Addresses 

There are three kinds of business addresses; the registered office address where official mail from the government bodies is received, the director services address which appears on the public records and the third is the virtual office address which appears to the outside world that your business operates from that address.

Importance Of Having A Business Address

 The following are some of the benefits of keeping a separate address for your work:

  • Avoid Public Disclosure Of Your Residential Address

It is not the safest choice to put your own home address as your professional work address as it discloses your personal information and makes it available to all of the public.

  • Professionalism 

A prestigious address can lend your business a sense of status. To some customers and suppliers, a professional work address could increase confidence in your brand and therefore help boost your business.

  • Privacy

As an entrepreneur, you might want to avoid having your own personal mail being addressed to you as a director of a company. If you prefer to keep your private mail away from others at work, you may prefer to have it sent to an alternative address, which is your own residential address and have your official mail sent to your business address.

  • Best Choice For Females Working Alone

Having a business address separate from your home address is the best choice for a working woman, handling a business alone. Not only does it secure her privacy but it also makes her business appear more professional, reducing the risks of her facing any kind of trouble in her work.

Having a professional address separate from your home address is important for every business owner, not only to ensure safety and privacy but also to give the business a more professional image.

LearnBox Customer Spotlight

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In this weeks ‘Company Spotlight,’ we are looking at one of our clients LearnBox. Read more about what they do and how they could help you below…

Learn Box are based at Media City on the 12th Floor in Manchester.

About Us / Our Story / Our Beginning –

LearnBox is video empowered learning, revolutionising the way education and training are delivered through the creation and delivery of high quality and bespoke video content, available on any device at any time and anywhere. 

Founded in 2016 by CEO Lucy Dunleavy, due to her frustration at the stagnant state the learner sector was in and the lack of innovative and effective methods to engage learners, innovation was the foundation of the business, and the thought process was simple:

Missions/ Values –

LearnBox disrupts the notion of tradition and instead pave the way for innovation and progression. Their forward-thinking attitude and eagerness to deliver results that encourage them to break the boundaries, and they’re determined to convince those afraid of change that the future of learning and technology can be an effective relationship, one that benefits everyone.

Through video empowered learning, they are actively investing in the skills of the future, supplying learners with the support they need to love learning.

LearnBox strive to make the learner experience engaging, enjoyable and beneficial, which is reflected through their outstanding results (Their pass-rates are well above the national average but more importantly the impact reported by learners and businesses they work with is very impressive!) LearnBox content is hosted on their multi-functional and flexible Learner Management System (LMS), which has a range of advanced features and abilities including unlimited storage, to

 allow for a full and unrestrained learning experience which the learner can be in full control of.  LearnBox doesn’t just deliver learning, they drive a learning culture.

Products and services – 

We create high-quality learning films that are learner-focused, data-driven, empowering and deliver outstanding results. Our content is available on any device, at any time, in web and app format through our intuitive and responsive learning platform. We offer a complete learning solution that empowers learners and fits around the needs of the business. Our content is personalised, bespoke and meaningful.

Contact information-

0161 4136204

Competition winner launches the first mobile self storage unit of it’s kind!

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Unique Delivery Service Promises Huge Time Savings for Self-Storage Users.

ONE-OF-A-KIND, self-loading trailers are set to offer big time savings to self-storage users, as disruptive new Preston firm sets for launch. 

Craig Wilson of Blox Mobile Storage won the Cotton Court Start Up Competition back in May, a testament to the innovative concept of Blox and Craig’s passion and determination for his product. 

BLOX is launching 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 hopes to cure some long-standing headaches for storage users, who until now have had to rely on van hire or incur costly labour charges when moving belongings into storage, as well as having to unpack and re-pack their items once at the store.

BLOX is the brainchild of a former Royal Marine turned Transport Manager and will initially be operating from Higher Walton Mill near Preston and servicing the Preston, Blackburn and Chorley areas.

BLOX founder, Craig Wilson said;

“I was helping somebody move home a couple of years ago and I thought how good it would be if there was a service that delivered and collected large storage containers directly to the customer.

I did a lot of research and found that similar services held large shares of the market overseas in the likes of the U.S. and Australia, but nobody offered quite the same thing here in the U.K.  

The idea turned in

to a bit of an obsession and developed over the next two to three years until I eventually came up with my current vision of Blox. 

I think that the concept has massive potential and can save individuals and businesses a huge amount of their valuable time.”

Robert Binns of Cotton Court said ;

“Myself and the rest of the panel recognised a lot of entrepreneurial qualities in Craig which are crucial when launching a business that is offering a game changing product.  We are excited about being part of Craig’s journey as Blox Storage launches and looking forward to another Cotton Court client success story!”

Blox will be offering their convenient storage solution from the beginning of July, with delivery charges generally being cheaper than equivalent van hire from any major provider and storage prices in-line with the lower end of self-storage facilities. 

Individuals or businesses that are interested in Blox  service can get in touch via  or find out more by following their social media.



Lancashire Business Awards 2019!

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We had a great night last Thursday at Stanley House Hotel and Spa celebrating the 11th annual Lancashire Business Awards hosted by Downtown in Business! 

Robert and Rochelle had a great night, but what made it even better was the people they got to share it with!

Janette Healey – Growth Co 

Andrew Woolley – Growth Co 

Heather Waters – Natwest Bank 

Phil Griffiths – Face to Face Service Solutions

Ishmael Bahadur – Bahadvr Synergy Holdings

Steph Harding – Wallace Digital Ltd

Mark Williams – Western Union Business Solutions


Our MD Robert Binns was proud to present the award for Customer Focused Business of the Year 2019 to Everything Tech! 

Congratulations to all of the winners showing yet again that Lancashire is home to many successful businesses and entrepreneurs. 

The winners of the night included:

Male Networker of the Year 2019 //Sam Whitear, Business Lancashire

Female Networker of the Year 2019 // Victoria O’Connor, Reed

Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 // Anastasia Kenyon, Kandi Cosmetics

Employer of the Year 2019 // Fresh Perspective Resourcing

Employee of the Year 2019 // Loredana Emmerson, Coolkit Ltd

Newcomer of the Year 2019 // Sales Geek

Creative Business of the Year 2019 // Media Village

Social Media Marketer of the Year 2019 // Rebecca Jane, PH7 Group

Corporate Social Responsibility 2019 // Lantei Compliance

Legal Company of the Year 2019 // Harrison Drury Solicitors

Financial Services Firm of the Year 2019 // Champion Accountants

Business Bank of the Year 2019 // Natwest

Property Business of the Year 2019 // Eric Wright Group

Recruitment Company of the Year 2019 // Laura Hartley Recruitment Ltd

Customer Focused Business of the Year 2019 // Everything Tech

Hospitality Venue of the Year 2019 // 1842 Restaurant & Bar

Hotel of the Year 2019 // The Villa Wrea Green

Business Enabler of the Year 2019 // Neil Welsh, PM+M Accountants

Business of the year 2019 // Seafood Pub Company

Contribution to Lancashire  // Lancashire Business View

Chief Executive’s Award  // Conlon Construction

Top 4 Avoidable Marketing Website Mistakes that Small Business Owners Make

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If you’re a budding entrepreneur just taking your baby steps into the corporate business world or you are a successful business owner with multiple brands on the market. You must avoid some mistakes if you want to make your mark as a small business owner. Your website and the business address are the most important elements of your business, get the wrong service provider and your brand can lose its market share overnight! Here are the most common but avoidable marketing website mistakes that business owners make:

The Lack of a Credible Phone Answering Service

When you are looking for different ways to promote your business online, the website and the associated call, email and texts handling service are the lifeblood of your business growth. When a customer visits your website and sees your contact information, an unprofessional number will make them doubt your credibility. Hire the services of a telephone answering service provider that provides further support for your business emails and parcels.  For any new business, setting up a powerful and well-organized phone management system should be a priority.


An amenity like a cloud-based VoIP with a business phone number will give your small firm a chance to seem like a major corporation by hiring trained staff that manages all your telephone and emails. Avoid using your personal email and mobile contact number for your daily business support operations because it can get tedious to manage both personal and business communication.

Not having a Mobile Friendly Website

When your business does not have a mobile-friendly website, you are bound to lose a significant market share. Since a large number of prospects rely on their smartphones and tablets for everything online, you are likely to lose your target audience with a website that does not support smartphone screen resolution. It’s important to invest in a website design service provider to help you set up a professional website with mobile access for your startup.

No Registered Business Address

A registered address for your business is important and you should resolve this issue as soon as possible to avoid losing your market share. Having a business address located in a central location is ideal to attract the attention of your prospects. You will find a number of services that provide a key address for your business. Choose the one that fits your budget and needs. 

Not taking The Power of Social Media Seriously

Many business owners are unaware of the power of social media marketing. You don’t need a huge advertising and promotion budget when you have social media. You can start with a minimal advertising budget for PPC (pay per click) services from search engine giants like Google. Google Ads will give your new business a chance to grow through its affordable PPC services. Social media influencers can fit in your budget; try to bag in a local YouTuber or Instagrammer to promote your business by associating your business with their engaging content.

Mastering Public Speaking With Cheryl Chapman

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Calling all female business owners, consultants, freelancers and employees – do you have a message that you want to share. Are you struggling to get your voice heard above the competition?

Mastering Public Speaking is a one-day masterclass that is created specifically for women. You will discover how to impact, inform, inspire and influence your audience so that you gain the recognition, rewards and income that you are striving for.

Do you get anxious or nervous at the thought of public speaking?

Whether you’re running a business or represent one, you need to be able to speak confidently and professionally. From presentations, pitches for sales or investment or simply answering the question “What do you do?”, you need to capture the attention and engage the audience. Discover how to reduce the waffle and make an impact. This one-day workshop will teach you to master the art of effective presentation skills and techniques for public speaking, personal impact and influencing, both inside and out of the workplace. Whether your audience is thousands or just one person, you need to be able to engage them quickly and deliver your message clearly and effectively.

Cheryl will help you to understand what it is that holds so many women back when it comes to standing up and speaking out. She will share with you what not to do as a woman if you want to be taken seriously when it comes to business.

In this one day masterclass you will learn:

How to PRESENT in a confident and clear way

How to POSITION yourself as the go-to person in your industry

Understand why you should create PRODUCTS that mean you don’t have to be there

How to PITCH your products in a way that people want to do business with you

Friday 2nd August at Cotton Court, Preston

Book your tickets now!

Lancashire Entrepreneurs Invited to Meet Lord Mayor of London and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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On The 16th May, the MD of Cotton Court Business Centre Rob Binns attended a prestigious event in the City of London. The event was jointly hosted by The Rt Hon Dr Greg Clark MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Alderman Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of London, at his official residence Mansion House

The event comprised of a seminar for 150 delegates during the afternoon, focusing on the challenges of implementing the Government’s industrial strategy at a local level across the UK and the central role that Local Enterprise partnership’s (LEPs) are playing in driving economic growth.

Dinner was served in the spectacular Egyptian Hall, to a unique gathering of 300 businesses, industrial firms and professional bodies, from across The City and the UK, along with the Industrial Strategy Council and the Professional Business Services Council.

Guests listened to speeches from The Lord Mayor, The Secretary of State for Business and the Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The speakers touched on the role of London as a centre for investment, technological innovation and financial services and how our cities and LEPs can work together to grow the UK economy.

Rob Binns Said “It was a fantastic experience and I was delighted to be asked by the Lancashire LEP and Boost to represent Lancashire. It’s clear that the growth of the county’s businesses and how they benefit the UK economy is a key priority. I look forward to following up on the many conversations I had in London and it was a privilege to be able to speak proudly of our skills, assets and ambitions in Lancashire to such an influential collection of people.”

Rob was joined by:

Miranda Barker – East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

Anastasia Kenyon – Kandi Cosmetics

Mo Isap – IN4.0 Plc

Popular Event Returns to Lancashire

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As a society we place a lot of focus on other people’s successes and achievements, but not so much on learning from their mistakes. This is even more pronounced in the business world, where we look at and admire successful business people; often overlooking the countless setbacks and attempts it’s taken them to achieve their goals.

Support & mentor schemes such as Boost Lancashire’s Growth Mentoring programme are an excellent way to access and learn from the experiences of veteran business people, but they aren’t for everyone and they’re often oversubscribed; victims of their own success.

Towards the end of 2017 we launched a series of events in conjunction with Kennedy Ross Consulting to provide a complimentary offering to the businesspeople of Lancashire.

The idea was to bring successful people who have actually experienced the highs and lows of business to share their knowledge with members of the Lancashire business community.

Kennedy Ross Managing Director Alistaire Jama.

Our ‘Cracking On’ events were a great success, providing free training, seminars and workshops to business owners, managers and entrepreneurs; giving solutions to the key problems and main questions they’re likely to face.

After a short break and by popular demand, we’re re-launching this popular series of events alongside our partners Kennedy Ross in January 2019. Partnering with us this year is Cotton Court residents Invoke Media, having recently moved from their Manchester city centre base to the second floor of the business centre.

The series will be progressive with each session complimenting the next, but will also be suitable for those who want to ‘dip in and out’ or join the series at a later stage.

The focus of the workshops is to ensure that business owners and operators walk away having had fun, enthused and with a new set of skills that they can apply to their business straight away.

Session 1 will be held on the 9th of January at Cotton Court Business Centre, and will focus on one of the main issues many businesses face…..finding, targeting and winning new customers.

Invoke Media Director Jack Barron presents.

Invoke Media will lead the interactive workshop, demonstrating the process they use to understand and communicate with their customers, before attendees apply their new found knowledge to a real world business situation.

Attendees can expect to walk away from the session with a clear understanding of how to identify and target new customers, and will be provided with the presentation slides and worksheets they can use for their own business success.

Tickets are free on a first come, first served basis. To claim yours or find out more information, click HERE to visit the Eventbrite page.

Barnardo’s Christmas Toy Appeal

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We are calling all Lancashire businesses to join us in supporting children’s charity Barnardo’s by donating a gift that we can give to a young person.

We have organised a Toy Appeal for local children and young people since 2013 and with the support from local businesses we have helped hundreds of children.

We’d love it if your business or networking group would join us and collect donations on behalf of your staff or networking group.

Barnardo’s support over 400 vulnerable young people from 0-25 years old, throughout the year across the Lancashire area. Presents for teenagers are particularly valuable as young carers and homeless units are most in need of presents.

Barnardo’s have also advised that the gifts are best not wrapped, and we can also accept gift vouchers.

Donated toys can be dropped off at Cotton Court Business Centre during the hours of 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday.

Over the years, millions of children and young people have benefited from gifts donated to Barnardo’s. By giving a gift to our Christmas Present Appeal you can make a real difference in someone’s life at Christmas.

Barnardo’s is a British charity founded by Thomas John Barnardo in 1866, to care for vulnerable children and young people. As of 2013, it spends over £191 million each year on more than 800 local services, aimed at helping these same groups. It is the UK’s largest children’s charity, in terms of charitable expenditure. Today, Barnardo’s provides a comprehensive range of local support, counselling, fostering, adoption, education, residential and training services for more than 100,000 children, young people and their families. The charity works to transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people, and aims to enable them to fulfil their potential.

If you would like any further information on how to help a child in need this Christmas please contact us on 01772 507767 or email