Cotton Court Business Centre

Latest News

Home……and Away

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Over the last few months the way everyone is working has changed. As people are starting to take steps back towards normality, we want to help people and businesses look at new ways in which they can keep both their team safe and productivity high.We’ve been looking into some of the challenges and also the benefits that the lockdown has presented to people in business, right across the spectrum from freelancers to large organisations of many descriptions.

People have gone from being in the office full time, or nearly full time, to spending an entire working week at home and have adapted quickly. However, for some people it isn’t without new struggles; whether it is a lack of focus at home due to other distractions, concerns about client confidentiality and privacy on phone calls, maintaining team cohesion and direction on collaborative projects, or simply just desperate for a change of scene and want to separate home and work life a bit more. Not to mention the aches and pains that come with sitting on a kitchen chair for 8 hours a day, hunched over a laptop.

Businesses day to day operations have had to shift, the plans for the future may look considerably different, and they are looking at new ways in which they can maintain collaboration, productivity and focus, whilst prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of the employees and their families.

One of the priorities for businesses of all sizes now is increased flexibility, and we want to support customers and the business community to be able to work whichever way best suits their needs.

So maybe you’re an entrepreneur who only needs to use professional services such as meeting rooms, admin services or printing for a week at a time. Maybe you’re working for a large company and your office is operating at reduced capacity so you want somewhere else to work from. Or maybe you have a small team who are happy working from home but sometimes want a change of scene or need to work collaboratively. We have introduced some new service options to help customers take flexibility to the next level.

Our new services include
Remote Working Bespoke Package – We understand that every remote working team has different needs and challenges, so our new offering enables you to build a custom, remote working package for your business and your team. You can choose as few or as many of the services you need, whether its occasional office use, printing services or a business phone number.

Socially Distanced Workspace – We are also offering offices on flexible terms, even if you just need to work from somewhere for a day, maybe you have children at home and you could benefit from a few days of quiet focus each week in our new socially distanced workspaces. We have large offices set up too, so it’s ideal if you need to get your team together.

Pay As You Go Desk Space – On demand access to a professional working environment. No contracts, so it’s ideal if people want a change of scene now and again.

Digital Training Centre – Coming Soon! Training professionals and speakers that are switching to online or blended training can come into our new digital training space, fully equipped with filming equipment and access to video communications software to deliver their courses.

Fully Funded Training Available for Lancashire Businesses – Skills Support for the Workforce

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Cotton Court residents Growth Company are delivering the Skills Support for the Workforce programme across Lancashire. It 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. A range of remote delivery options have also been added to the programmes.

If you are looking to gain qualifications to enhance your skillset or you are looking to re-train for a specific role, Growth Company have a range of remote learning programmes available for you to start now. The programmes are designed to help increase your job prospects, enhance skills and improve your performance.

What types of programmes are available?

Administration
Cleaning
Customer service
Education and training
Health and social care
Hospitality
IT and Digital
Team leading
Warehousing

For more information click here. 

 

UK Media and Events Launch Sanitise Events!

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Cotton Court Client, UK Media and Events, have launched Sanitise Events to assist with getting you back to work safely!

The nature of their business, like so many, is radically changing. Over the years, they have provided Event POS along with the production of many amazing events, extremely efficiently and cost effectively for our corporate and public sector clients. They are now in the process of repositioning what they do to be more accessible to clients who aren’t simply ‘Event’ customers.

As the UK unites in the fight against Coronavirus and protecting the NHS, UKMAE have used their capabilities to produce products specifically designed to help keep your staff and customers safe; whether you are a continuing business or looking to re-open your business following the lockdown.

They are following closely all Government guidelines and advice, and on this basis, intend adding products daily that will assist businesses to get back up and running safely and efficiently, helping to instil confidence in staff and customers alike. With their products, you can both protect and inform about the safety measures you are taking on your premises.

You can visit their online shop here.

The shop holds ‘stock’ designed items that can be dispatched for next day delivery, and also produce custom branded products quickly on request.

Here are just some of the products coming to the website soon but available on request now, and all can be custom branded

Posters (Standard and Weatherproof)

Strutt Cards (desk/reception stand up information/warning cards)

Welcome Mats

Correx Bollard wraps/covers

Queuing systems

Various signage solutions produced on Dibond (aluminium composite sheet), Foamex, Correx.

Branding walls

Pavement signs

Various sanitiser dispensers (indoor and outdoor)

And much more…

 

For larger organisations they can provide discounts on quantity, a free survey and a fitting service if required.

 

 

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.

Cotton Court Hosts Combined Authorities and Devolution Event

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On Wednesday 26th February, we hosted the Downtown in Business Leader’s Lunch with Geoff Driver CBE, Leader of Lancashire County Council and welcomed some prominent business figures from across Lancashire.

Cllr Driver and Frank McKenna discussed a variety of issues, and centred around Combined Authorities and devolution and the need for councils within Lancashire to work together to overcome challenges that the devolution agenda may bring.

The County Council has a £1.5 billion expenditure each year, Cllr Driver also discussed a key challenge for the region is developing the economy and it is down to the local business leaders to help to drive that agenda forward. Since the current leaders came into power 4 years ago, the £200 million deficit has reduced.

As well as the Combined Authority, Cllr Driver also discussed Lancashire’s role in the Northern Powerhouse. He also shared candidly his thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics during a Q&A session with the audience.

Downtown CEO, Frank McKenna said; “It was great to hear Geoff Driver today talking about an issue that has dominated the discussion for a number of years in Lancashire. It finally appears that progress is being made.

“I would like to thank Geoff for taking the time to be with us today and for today’s audience for making today’s event an incredibly interesting and thoughtful discussion. There were some fantastic comments and contributions from some of the leading business personalities in the region.”

 

 

 

 

Cotton Court Supports Preston Partnership

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We are proud to be a member of Preston Partnership, an independent partnership of businesses and organisations that are passionate about and committed to the city.

Preston Partnership is made up of organisations of all sizes, and across many industries with a common goal to champion the city of Preston and surrounding areas.

The partnership was created to bring together all these organisations, to bring commitment, energy and dialogue from all sides.

What is Preston Partnership?

– Members from the public, private and third sector connected to Preston joining together to establish a dialogue.

– An opportunity for businesses to actively engage in supporting the growth and development of Preston.
– A powerful network that is kept up to date about what is happening in Preston.
– A group who collaborate on projects to influence the development of Preston through ideas, involvement and resource.

Visit their website for more information or to sign up.

 

Tamsin has finished her apprenticeship!

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I’ve recently finished a 12 month Business Administration Level 3 course at Cotton Court that I did through Runshaw College. The apprenticeship and coursework covered areas such as customer service, rights and responsibilities, providing administration services and understanding business environment.

I’m so pleased that I was able to complete this at Cotton Court. It’s a great place to work and everyone is like family. Having a close relationship with my colleagues and the customers makes all the difference.

Now I’ve completed my apprenticeship, I’m keen to get in to focus on the customer services, business development and marketing of the business as I love dealing with customers and I get great satisfaction when I see a customer happy with the service!

I would definitely recommend apprenticeships to other school leavers and  young people. If you lack confidence and feel like you need an extra boost to help you along your path then apprenticeships are definitely for you. I learnt so much through doing mine and am fortunate enough to be able continue to develop my career at Cotton Court!

Robert is Judging at the BIBA’s!

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Our Director, Rob Binns is very honoured to have been asked to judge the nominees for this year’s BIBA Awards!

The Be Inspired Business Awards is Lancashire’s largest and longest running business awards programme. Their purpose is to drive growth, cultivate excellence and fuel innovation throughout Lancashire economy, while nurturing the next generation of business leaders. That’s what makes the BIBA’s different and is the reason why everyone wants to win!

All shortlisted applicants will meet the judging panel for face to face interviews where they will get the opportunity to demonstrate what sets their business apart from the competition. This first round will begin on May 11th and run until May 22nd. The judges will then be sent ‘on tour’ from the 8th June to the 3rd July where they will meet the finalists and their workforce in their facilities.

The Awards Ceremony will take place at Blackpool Tower Ballroom where guests are treated to drama, entertainment and fun as well as a four-course meal prepared by one of the county’s top chefs with the awards ceremony kicking off at 9.45.

Good luck to all of this year’s applicants and we’re sure Robert is looking forward to meeting you all!

CompTIA Opens free IT-Ready Boot Camp At Cotton Court

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We are looking forward to hosting CompTIA and it’s tech workforce charity, Creating IT Futures eight-week information technology (IT) boot camp which is the first of its kind in the UK.  Funded in partnership with the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership as part of the DCMS Digital Skills Innovation fund, IT-Ready will offer free technical support training to help adults launch their careers in IT.

“With more than 140,000 IT jobs open in the UK and the average IT salary being 56 percent higher than the national wage, employers need more tech workers and more workers need more opportunities,” said Charles Eaton, CEO, Creating IT Futures and vice president, social innovation, CompTIA. “With IT-Ready, we help more adults get the training they need to fill tech jobs, gain an upwardly mobile career, and earn family-sustaining wages.”

 “We are delighted to be working in partnership with DCMS to support the roll-out of the IT-Ready programme in Lancashire,” said Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills Hub, Lancashire LEP.  

“The initiative, which is fully aligned with needs of local business, offers Lancashire residents a fantastic opportunity to develop their digital skills and improve their employment prospects,” Lawty-Jones added. “It’s also another great example of how the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, which is part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, is raising the skills of our digital workforce to boost productivity while also driving inclusive growth across the county.”

Interested adults can visit www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire by 23rd January to enrol in the full-time, classroom-based IT-Ready boot camp classes that begin on 10th February 2020. IT – ready primarily serves:

  • Lower-income adults due to unemployment or underemployment
  • Displaced workers whose skill sets are no longer in high demand
  • Groups under-represented in the ranks of IT workers, such as women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a UK citizen or permanent resident and have 4 GCSEs (including Maths and English) or equivalent. No prior experience in tech is necessary, but a love of technology, a strong level of commitment and a drive to succeed are extremely important. 

IT-Ready students receive free tuition, learning materials, tech and soft skills training, and certification vouchers. They learn technical skills to help them successfully pass both parts of the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Plus, students receive professional development training to refine highly sought-after business skills including communication techniques, conflict management, teamworking, critical thinking and problem-solving. Graduates are prepared to apply both technical and professional skills starting day one of their first tech job. 

Creating IT Futures developed IT-Ready in 2012, and CompTIA UK Ltd staff will work with local employers to hire IT-Ready graduates in Lancashire. Within four months of graduating, 85 percent of IT-Ready students typically are working in a paid IT role with local area companies, earning £16,000 – £18,000 annually. Graduates move into help desk tech roles, building and maintaining a business’s IT environment and assisting its internal and external customers.  

Applicants should apply by 23rd January at www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire

About Creating IT Futures
Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.creatingITfutures.org.  

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the more than 50 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.

 

Yolo wellbeing

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As our visit from Cheryle at YOLO Wellbeing was such a huge hit last year, we have decided to do it again!

Cheryle is the founder and owner of YOLO Wellbeing. She created a sensory experience that combines massage and meditation in a specially designed mobile environment that means she is able to travel to you and offer this service from your workplace. The YOLO Wellbeing experience is designed to help improve physical and mental health and is a great way to reward and boost employees morale.

We have teamed up with Cheryle in order to be able to offer this unique experience again to our clients and staff for Stress Awareness Day on the 6th April, Massage at Work Week on the 3rd June and Stress Awareness Week on the 3rd November.

The feedback that we received from staff and clients last time round was really positive with everyone commenting on how relaxed they felt and how it had set them up to continue their day with a positive mindset. With the awareness days coming up, it seemed like the perfect idea to get Cheryle back and treat our clients and staff once again!