Cotton Court Business Centre

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The benefits of coworking space over a home Office

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Shared office space has a wide range of benefits which can make your working life easier. Whether you are out in the field most of the time and just need a desk or meeting room occasionally, or you want somewhere quiet to work from for your start-up business, a hot desk environment is the perfect solution.

Professional Image
Renting space in a shared office gives your business a more professional image. You get a business address to use, where mail can be received even when you are not on the premises, and your workplace looks like an office, not a portion of your home. Meeting clients at a home office can also feel like an invasion of your family’s privacy. Serviced offices are cleaned regularly, and maintenance is taken care of too. Better still, you don’t have to worry about hiding away rogue LEGO bricks before a client meeting!

Boundaries
Working from home may sound idyllic but it can be challenging, particularly if you have family members or flatmates around during your preferred working hours. Whether it’s the doorbell ringing in the middle of an important phone call or finding your toddler has rearranged your paperwork – distractions are inevitable when you work from home. Using a shared office space means you can avoid the interruptions of home life and focus all your attention on your work. It can also help you to keep your working hours under control and separate your work life from your home life. When you use a home office it is much easier for the lines to blur and you can find work encroaching on your family time.

Economical
With a hot desk, you get to use professional office space far more economically than a full office lease. You can select the hours and days to rent a hot desk so you only pay for what you need. Choose office space close to your home and you can save on the commute too.

Additional Facilities
A shared office space usually has additional facilities which you don’t have at home, such as conference rooms. These can be used for meetings, training sessions or just for making conference calls.

Networking Opportunities
Using a home office can sometimes leave you feeling isolated. A hot desk in a coworking space gives you the opportunity to meet other professionals who are also using the office. You may discover potential clients, partners or suppliers when you use a hot desk service. Or you may simply find it helpful to bounce ideas off other people and get their advice on aspects of your business.

 

Cotton Court has 2 floors dedicated to coworking, that form an integral part of our business community.

Why don’t you contact our reception team to book to come and see what all the fuss is about?

Give us a call on 01772 507 767 or read more here: http://cottoncourt.co.uk/desk-space/

Update: Christmas Toy Appeal 2018

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At this time of year the Cotton Court team turns its thoughts towards a very special cause close to our hearts. For 8 years we’ve run our annual Christmas Toy Appeal in aid of Barnardo’s.

The appeal gives the local business community an opportunity to help one of the 400 vulnerable young people that Barnardo’s supports across Lancashire, by providing a gift for them to open on Christmas Day.

Last year was the first year that Cotton Court teamed up with media partner Blog Preston, and the response was amazing, being our best year to date. We’re looking to build on that success this year by continuing that partnership and teaming up with other local businesses to spread the word and enable this great campaign.

Gifts can be donated at Cotton Court Business Centre reception, just off Church Street in Preston City Centre between 9am and 5pm, and are best left unwrapped.

We can also announce that we’ve teamed up with The Hospital Inn on Brindle Road in Bamber Bridge to provide an additional out of hours drop-off point for those wanting to donate.

However we need more partners to help us spread the word or act as drop-off points for gifts. Can you help? If so, please email us and let us know.

We’re launching the campaign with our Christmas Party on 7th November at Glovers Bar in Preston, with free tickets available HERE.


In order to get the gifts to Barnardo’s in time for Christmas Day we have to close our appeal on Monday 10th December at 5pm.


If like us, the thought of a child or young person being without a gift on Christmas Day morning is heart wrenching, then please consider helping us this year.


If you’ve got any questions, want to find out more or are able to help with the appeal, please email us at info@cottoncourt.co.uk or call us on 01772 507 767.


The Cotton Court Team

Drop-Off Locations:

Cotton Court Business Centre

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

The Hospital Inn

Brindle Road

Bamber Bridge

PR5 6YP

https://www.thehospitalinn.com/

Barnardo’s Xmas Toy Appeal 2018

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Cotton Court Business Centre are inviting members of the Lancashire business community to join them for their 8th annual Christmas party on the 9th November.

The party will signify the launch of the Christmas toy appeal in aid of Barnardo’s. The Cotton Court coordinated campaign collects and distributes gifts to young people in need across the county.

Members of the local business community are invited to join Cotton Court, Blog Preston and an array of local businesses & organisations from across Lancashire for the event at Glovers Bar in Preston, at 7pm on Friday 9th November until late.

There will be a complimentary bar, food and live music; with the opportunity to network and most importantly, support a great cause ahead of the festive season.

The event is free, with guests being asked to bring a gift suitable for a young person between the ages of 0 – 25. It is requested that presents remain unwrapped, and there is a particular need for gifts for teenagers.

 

 

 

Cotton Court Marketing Director Jack Barron says:

“This is the sixth year we’ve held this appeal and the response we receive from the local business community is outstanding. Our goal this year is to provide at least one present to each of the 400 young people that Barnardo’s support across the county.”

He continues…

“Traditionally we’ve struggled to provide for the older end of the age spectrum, the teenagers and above, so this year we’re giving that an extra push.

This party is a great opportunity for members of the local business community to get together, but most importantly to support a great cause at a time of year that can be quite distressing for some of these young people being supported by Barnardo’s.”

Tickets are free with no restrictions on how many each business can claim, but capacity at the venue is limited so you are advised to claim them at the earliest opportunity from Eventbrite: https://cotton-court-2018-xmas-toy-appeal.eventbrite.co.uk

 

Banking Heavyweight Leaves Corporate World to Launch VibePay

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

Press Release: Cotton Court Business Centre join Northern Powerhouse

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Lancashire Business Partners With Government Initiative

Cotton Court Business Centre join Northern Powerhouse to boost local economy

Preston based Cotton Court Business Centre have been announced as partners in the Northern Powerhouse programme, with the aim of improving Lancashire’s economy.

Building a Northern Powerhouse is about boosting the Northern economy by investing in skills, innovation, transport and culture, as well as devolving significant powers and budgets to directly elected mayors. This can’t be done without a cadre of passionate businesses and organisations, who all believe strongly in the economic potential of the North.

The Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme is a government initiative run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to build a network of partners who all believe strongly in the economic potential of the North.

Cotton Court’s involvement in the programme is a significant boost for the area, giving Central Lancashire a louder voice and representation in an exciting initiative to develop our region. With other local institutions such as the University of Central Lancashire, Marketing Lancashire and the North and Western Chamber of Commerce representing the area alongside Cotton Court, it can only be a good thing for the economy and businesses of Lancashire.

It is the role of partners to promote the strengths of the North and exciting developments in four key areas:

  • Connectivity and transport
  • Skills, science and innovation
  • Quality of life and culture
  • Devolution

Robert Binns with Jake Berry MP

Cotton Court’s Managing Director Robert Binns says:

“We’re delighted to partner with the Northern Powerhouse. We’ve been actively involved in the development of the economy of Central Lancashire for many years and feel this is the next natural step in our progression. The initiative is a great way to address the imbalance that has historically existed between the North and South. We look forward to working alongside other partners across the North of England and Wales to further develop our respective regions”.

 

Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry MP, said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to welcome Cotton Court Business Centre to the Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme. As a Preston based company who actively work to improve Lancashire’s economy through engagement, they are well placed to help us shape the future of our region.”

The news comes as Cotton Court prepare to announce a partnership with a number of business hubs across Lancashire and Greater Manchester. The partnership will allow the business centre users to access events and resources across all sites, as well as enable collaboration on projects and share information.  

 

About Us

Cotton Court Business Centre is a hub for enterprise and business in Central Lancashire. Located in the heart of Preston City Centre, the renovated 19th century mill provides services to over 150 businesses and organisations. From local start-ups to government agencies, Cotton Court provides a plethora of professional services including conference and meeting space, serviced offices, call handling, registered business addresses and much more.

 

In addition to the business centre namesake, The Cotton Court group of companies also includes leisure, property, tech and community interest offerings to its portfolio; with an emphasis on providing positive impact to local economy and communities.

5 Things to Consider When Planning a Conference

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Planning and organising a conference requires a great amount of forethought and consideration. It can become very easy to become focused on the minute details, whilst missing important overall factors essential to the smooth running of your event.

Whilst I started my marketing journey in the world of music events, I’ve had to cut my teeth in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions world (or MICE as it’s known in the industry!) most notably when conducting my undergraduate bachelor’s degree.

It’s a high pressure industry, and one which is thriving in the UK. In fact, Venuefinder reports that a recent meeting industry association report notes a 14.4% increase in domestic bookings since the result of the Brexit referendum was announced.

Danny Bee, Managing Director of UK Media & Events, based at Cotton Court adds:

“The meetings and conference industry is booming at the moment. We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of enquiries we’ve received over the last 12 months. They can be difficult to plan and manage, but incredibly rewarding. The key is to not overthink your plan, stick to what you know works and think of creative ways to engage with your delegates ”.

To help you plan your next conference and pick the most suitable venue, we’ve put together a few key considerations that you’ll want to factor in.

Location

If your delegates are coming from across the country, you’ll want to pick an easy to reach and known location. Ensuring good motorway, train and bus links are in reach of your venue are a must; and you might want to avoid major cities where there is likely to be congestion.

If your guests are mostly local based and you’re holding your event closer to home, you’ll still want to consider road and public transport links when deciding on your venue. An easily identifiable location is important to ensure your guests can find it, or at the very least make sure it’s findable on a sat nav!

If you can find a venue with free on-site parking then you’re onto a winner, or at the very least a low cost car park that has sufficient capacity and is in short range of the venue.

Cost

Let’s not beat around the bush. Cost is a consideration for most businesses and organisations. You’ll want to ensure that the venue you choose is value for money and most importantly within budget.

Most conference space providers will operate on a pricing scale, adjusting the cost based on factors such as number of delegates, room size, date, length of hire and any specific requirements you may have.

Technology

One of the most overlooked factors when planning business events are technology requirements. Check to see what facilities are available at your venue, and whether you will need to hire in any additional equipment.

There are a lot of venues out there that have diversified to add additional revenue streams to their business. From church halls to schools and community centres. Whilst these often provide a cost effective solution, they may not have the technology in-house that you require and the cost of your event can soon mount when you start hiring equipment.

Factor in whether you need a full tech suite with equipment such as conference call facilities, touch screen tv’s, projectors, audio equipment etc. Don’t forget the free wifi!

 

A conference utilising the first floor tech suite at Cotton Court

Size & Capacity

It goes without saying that you’ll need to find a venue that can hold all of your delegates, but people often get this wrong. It might be that you underestimate the number of attendees or your event is more of a success than you could have imagined. Play it on the safe side and find a venue that can not only scale up their capacity offering, accommodating for more guests, but can also provide smaller space if the event doesn’t attract as much attendance as hoped.

Food & Refreshments

Most venues geared towards conferences and business events will offer food and refreshments as an additional service on top of your hire fee. They’ll either be able to make it onsite or will use a third party caterer. Make sure you identify any specific dietary requirements of your delegates, and communicate them at the earliest stage to your venue.

It’s also worthwhile thinking about local alternatives. Some people will want to get away from the business environment for their dinner break, whilst others may want to eat something different than is on offer. Ideally if possible, pick a venue that has nearby shops, restaurants and food vendors to give your delegates the most choice and convenience possible.

A final word…

Whilst the specific requirements of your event and industry will dictate how you plan your conference and the factors you need to consider, the five 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 event. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need some friendly advice or you have burning issues around planning your event!

Call us on 01772 507 767 or email conferences@cottoncourt.co.uk

Jack Barron

Marketing Director

Cotton Court Business Centre

Manchester Marketers Relocate to Cotton Court

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

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

Jack Barron, Director, Invoke Media

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

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

 

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

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

He continues…

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

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

Find out more about Invoke Media helping Lancashire SMEs HERE.

Cotton Court Team Support Progression Day in Rochdale

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Last week a delegation from Cotton Court Business Centre attended Rochdale Sixth Form College to support a progression and employability day for Year 12 students.

Managing Director Robert Binns and Marketing Director Jack Barron travelled to the Rochdale town centre campus, to help deliver a series of events alongside employers from across the Northwest.

Jack conducted mock interviews with 20 students, grading them on criteria ranging from appearance & turnout, to confidence and preparation.

He said of his experience…

“It was a really enjoyable experience and I was happy to support it. The mock interviews were great and I got to meet a diverse group of young adults, each one of them impressing me in some way. I recall one particular student who I had an extremely lengthy conversation with and was amazed by the level of knowledge and maturity they showed. I would have hired them in an instant if in a real interview. All of them were credits to their college and I wish them luck on their path to employment”.

Meanwhile Managing Director Robert formed part of an expert panel, giving students the opportunity to hear his journey though the world of work and business, with the opportunity for a questions and answers session at the end.

Robert said of the day…

“We’re really passionate about supporting events such as this one, wherever they may be. The people that we’ve spoken to today are the future of business and enterprise, and I like to think that we’re helping them on their journey into the world of work by sharing our experiences and giving them the opportunity to ask any burning questions. It was an enjoyable experience for me and by all accounts for them also”.

The event was largely organised by employability and career placement coordinator for Rochdale Sixth Form College, Sarah Pollard. She comments:

“The students were  a real credit to the college and tackled the interviews fantastically well.  The two days are so beneficial for the students as for some it will have been the first interview they’ve ever had. The mock interview process helps the students have more confidence in themselves and their abilities. We can’t thank the businesses enough for their ongoing support, many of whom have been giving up their time on an annual basis to help make the day such a success”.

 

Cotton Court has a history of supporting young adults and those looking to progress their journey through the world of work and enterprise. In recent weeks we’ve supported several events such as the progression day at Rochdale Sixth Form, including a series of workshops for the National Careers Service and the creation of a new company, Cotton Court Futures. With more information being revealed on that project in the near future. If you have any questions or want to enquire how Cotton Court Business Centre could support you and young adults then please email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Cotton Court Apprentice Turns Dragon

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Last week Cotton Court Business Centre apprentice Grace attended a Dragons’ Den style competition at Ashton Community Science College in Preston.

 

At the event, Year 7 & 8 pupils were set the task of designing their own healthy alternative to fizzy drinks, before then presenting their ideas back to the panel of dragons. The panel consisted of previous Ashton Community Science College students currently on apprenticeships in the local area.

 

Grace Bennett, Business Administration Apprentice at Cotton Court says:

 

“It was a pleasure to watch the students present back their ideas and see how confident they were. It was an enjoyable day and helped towards my own personal development. It was a good opportunity for me to showcase apprenticeships and talk about the positive experience I have had from learning whilst in the workplace”.

 

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court added:

 

“We’re really proud of what Grace has achieved in the time she has been with us and continue to support the apprenticeship scheme. She’s a credit to the company and we think it’s important for her to go out and fly the flag for those considering an apprenticeship in the future. By all accounts it was an excellent day and both her and the students took a lot from it”.

 

Cotton Court Business Centre has a solid history of supporting the apprenticeship programme, and in addition to providing apprentice placements within the centre, it proactively engages with providers, employers and students.

Think What You Want…But Think Different

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Last week our Managing Director Robert Binns flew out to Ibiza, but probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

Whilst still managing a little bit of downtime to enjoy the hedonistic delights the island has to offer, Robert was there to attend a lecture by the world renowned chef Ferran Adrià on creative thinking, run in conjunction with Estrella Damn.

Considered by many as the world’s best chef, Ferran is no stranger to thinking outside the box. Best known for his outlandish creations and deconstruction of dishes, he’s turned his attention to helping others understand his creative methodology.

Known as ‘Sapiens’, the methodology and accompanying lectures aim to give a more complete and comprehensive view of the creative processes he has applied to gastronomy. The aim is to understand that something might seem simple at first sight, but can be improved if we use our creative capacity to the maximum. Whilst food may be his example, the process can be applied to whatever your passion or profession may be.

The invite only event featured an international audience, all looking to expand their capacity for creative thinking. We’re all looking forward to hearing the key takeaways (pun intended) that Robert got from the lecture in our next team meeting.