Cotton Court Business Centre

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Lancashire Markets set to return!

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Preston City Centre’s about to look bloomin’ marvellous as the ever-popular Lancashire Market returns to Friargate & Orchard Street on Saturday 17th August 2013.

The Market, funded and organised by the city centre’s Business Improvement District (BID) is the biggest Easter event to date, with more than 100 quality local producers offering the very best of Lancashire food, drink, gift & crafts.

With ever-increasing numbers of people both trading and visiting the Lancashire Market, Preston city centre has something unique to offer this Easter Weekend. Mark Whittle, BID’s event manager said: “Several towns regionally host markets, but no one does what we do, on this scale, which is why it’s proved to be ever so popular. We take the best that Lancashire has to offer and promote that as far and wide as possible.”

He added: “More than 340,000 people have visited the Lancashire Market since they began in 2010, travelling from all over the North West; proving there’s a healthy appetite for family friendly events that offer quality local produce”.

Patrons will have the opportunity to sample & purchase everything from artisan breads, locally produced cheeses, fresh meat, handmade chocolates, locally grown fruit & vegetables, honey produced up the road and much much more. The event is free to attend and all Lancashire Market visitors will be offered a discount voucher booklet with money saving coupons for businesses across Preston city centre


Cotton Court partners with Preston College to deliver social media success

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We are pleased to announce that we have recently partnered with Preston College to deliver social media courses for their students. The first series of courses aim to teach students that are looking for an apprenticeship about online employability and social media success.

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Social media is becoming a central part of recruitment and employers are becoming switched on to using social media channels to source candidates. Social media allows job seekers to job search, and build recommendations and connections into an online CV.  Over 86% of job seekers have a social media profile and around 50% of people in Britain are now using social media in their job search. The students from Preston College are learning how to do this effectively and gain a competitive advantage.

Key Findings from a study into a social media recruiting survey by

  • The average British adult is connected to 300 relevant, open job vacancies through their first and second degree connections on social networks.
  • Over 90% of large UK employers are now using social media to find staff. Big companies such as Google, Amazon & eBay have been leveraging social media to find staff for some time now, but the last 12 months has seen an explosion in the number of “non-tech” companies using social media to find staff. Companies such as AstraZeneca, Saatchi and Saatchi and hotel chain Hilton have all launched Facebook groups to increase the rate of job referrals for potential candidates. Marriott International even created a Facebook game to help fill vacancies in 2011.
  • While Linkedin is generally seen as “the” place to go for professional networking, job seekers in the UK would rather leverage their Facebook (43%) than Linkedin (22%) networks to find their dream job.


Recruiters and employers think LinkedIn is a great way of finding candidates. LinkedIn is a huge database and by using relevant key words they can quickly find the people they need so job seekers must consider what their profile says about them. Becoming established on LinkedIn can be tricky for job seekers with little or no experience or industry contacts, but this is an area in which students will look at on the course.

If you have not considered the use of social media in your job search then you may be disadvantaging yourself, as recruiters are using social media to reach out to ‘passive talent’ – people that may otherwise not apply.

The way in which people look for work has changed dramatically and this course aims improve job seeker’s presence to help you get their dream job.  Attendees learn how to make their online profiles more attractive to employers, ensuring that employees find out everything they  want them to but nothing they don’t and how to use social media to get that interview and get that job.

Breathe Nominated for the National Diversity Awards 2013

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Well done to our Clients, Breathe, who have been nominated for the national Diversity Awards 2013.  This guest blog by Breathe’s Samera tells us more about the awards and Breathe’s achievements:

We are so thrilled to hear that we have been nominated for this year’s National Diversity award!!

The award is a national recognised prestigious black tie event that celebrates and recognises the hard work and dedication of organisations that tackle the issues in today’s society, on a daily basis.

It is a real privilege to see that we have been nominated this year for Diversity in the workplace as it was only last year Shelley Perry the clinical director of Breathe Eating Disorder Service/S.E.E.D was in the top three nominees for Entrepreneurs of Excellence in the category for gender.

As we are in the early stages of the award process our next step is to answer a series of questions which will be scored and ranked. The nominees with the highest ranking will be short-listed for the top three; this is then decided upon the number of votes we receive before the winner is announced.

So for now, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope we can prove and show what a passionate hard-working team we are! Share your support with us and wish us lots of luck. Watch this space, and stay updated with our award journey.

Breathe for the National Diversity Awards 2013

Just to give you an update of the National Diversity Awards, gather everyone you know and follow the links below as you can potentially be helping us to be shortlisted for the award!!

Please vote for us to be shortlisted for a National Diversity Award

Go to  > Nominate Here > Diverse Companies #DiverseCompanyAward

Spread the word and show us your support. Lets get cracking and see how far we can get..Thank you !!

 national diversity


CV – Get it right 1st time!

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Guest Blog Article by one of our clients,

Anand Lanka of  The Recruitment Provider

 It doesn’t matter whether you are an executive with years of corporate experience or a graduate with very little work history, this is your first opportunity to introduce yourself and knock on the door of any potential employer.

So where do candidates go wrong?

  • First rule is tailor the CV to the job, I know some of you will be saying that this is time consuming, but if you can highlight the requirements of the job and match your skills/ experience on your CV then you have a greater chance of being taken seriously. Remember your potential employer or recruiter is not a mind reader, they don’t know you. The employment market is very competitive and you need to tackle each job application with military precision.
  •   Personal profiles. These need to be quantified, candidates often put on their CV’s that they are “confident”, “bubbly” “excellent communicator”? If you are going to make personal statements of this nature you need to provide evidence else your CV will not get filtered to the interview pile.
  •   CV format. Make sure this is done properly. What does this mean? If you have a list of competencies/skills etc. don’t put them in one paragraph, use bullet points to make your CV concise and easy to read without putting war and peace on. Make sure everything lines up and your text is justified. Use the same font throughout.


  •    Gaps in employment. We see this all the time. With this, most people have genuine reasons for gaps in employment, you may have had children or spent time travelling which is understandable, so please put down the reasons. If you don’t explain the gaps then the recruiter is left thinking why? So get your dates right and make sure they coincide with each other.
  • Last thing Proof read your CV.Spelling errors and incorrect grammar will ring alarm bells to any potential employer. Most of all make sure that your contact details are up to date and correct, if you don’t no one will be contacting you for an interview!

Remember “you only get one chance to make a first impression”.


                        recruitment provider


BBC host successful North West screening at Cotton Court

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Sunday 16th June  saw the premiere of BBC 1’s medieval drama ‘The White Queen’.  Everyone at Cotton Court had been eager to watch the White Queen since Thursday 16th May, when we hosted the North West screening of the show!

White queen

We were delighted to have been selected from a huge list by the BBC as their chosen venue it was really exciting to be part of the process. The event was a great success and we received fantastic feedback about the screening, venue and catering. The event was an invite only with many local leaders, mayors and dignitaries from around the area in attendance.

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The BBC team were great to work with and we would like to say thank you in particular to Hannah Hargrave, External Affairs Coordinator, who organised the event.

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The premiere on Sunday 16th June brought in an average audience of 5.3 million, winning the U.K. ratings in the Sunday 9 p.m. time slot.   The White Queen is based on Philippa Gregory’s bestselling historical novel series The Cousins’ War, and is set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses. The series is the story of the women caught up in the conflict for the throne of England. Sunday’s episode was the first in a 10 part drama series, the next episode can be seen this Sunday at 9pm. We are looking forward to it!

Watch via BBC iPlayer The White Queen


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The StartUp Britain bus tour is coming to Preston!

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The StartUp Britain bus tour will be on Preston Flag Market on Tuesday 30th July providing information and support to new businesses in the area. It will give local start-up businesses the chance to network with local business advisors and entrepreneurs, and get expert advice from the StartUp Britain sponsors.

People in the Preston area that are wanting to start or grow their own business have the chance to get free expert advice and support on Tuesday 30th July , when StartUp Britain’s StartUp bus tour visits Preston as part of its third annual national tour. The bus, filled with start-up experts and business champions, will be on Preston Flag Market from 9am until 4pm.

People are invited to come along on the day, but can also register their interest in advance at to get the latest news and information about the tour.

The StartUp bus tour is visiting over 30 locations in July and August to help boost the number of businesses started in the UK in 2013 to a record 500,000.

On the StartUp Britain bus you will be able to:

  • Meet local business advisers and entrepreneurs.
  • Get expert business advice about access to finance, selling online, accounting solutions and tips on how to get started from StartUp Britain’s sponsors (PayPal, BT Business, Intuit and Iris).
  • Read entrepreneurial books in the innovation station.
  • Discover how to pitch to large retailers.
  • Sign up for StartUp events.
  • Receive goodie bags, including useful information from the day.
  • Help Preston win the title for StartUp Britain’s Top Town!
  • Apply for a Start-Up Loan and learn about funding for small businesses and other helpful government initiatives.

 StartUp Britian Tour, Preston

Key stats and evidence on business start-ups in the UK:

  • 2012 saw a record high for start-ups: 484,211
  • In the UK there are 4.8m private sector companies employing an estimated 23.9m people with a turnover of £3,100bn.
  • SMEs account for almost half the net growth in jobs.

60% of new business started at home

Congratulations Mayor Veronica Afrin

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





















Why not try Foursquare for your Business

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When we think of social media and business, the first few things to come to mind are Facebook and Twitter. Yet, there is one mobile app that tends to get overlooked by businesses: Foursquare. True, it doesn’t have the same numbers that the likes of Facebook and Twitter can boast, but what it does have is a dedicated audience which has made over three billion check-ins.

Regardless of whether you’re a retailer or not, any business can use Foursquare and getting yourself set up is easy. The only thing it needs is you to get involved.

Why Foursquare?

While it has a web presence, Foursquare has been growing quite steadily over the last few years, and offers some unique opportunities for businesses and brands. With over 25 million users globally and 31% of mobile users active on social networks using Foursquare, it has an engaged community and a passionate user base.

Foursquare’s main strength comes from its users, the power of personal recommendation and sharing on different social media sites. By seeing where their friends are going and the places they regularly frequent, they would be more likely to visit if the recommendation is positive. Foursquare doesn’t get the same attention as Facebook or Twitter, but this presents you with a better opportunity to develop customer loyalty through deals. While Facebook has released its new ‘nearby’ function for its app, Foursquare is still the king of check-in and location.

Why not the next time your at Cotton Court Business Centre check in on Foursquare. We are running a series of special promotions for first time visitors and check in’s through to mayorship.

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Above you’ll find our offer for Permanent Desk Space for a limited time of £25 per week. For more information please visit Cotton Court Business Centre.

To download the Foursquare App or through the iTunes Store

SEO | 6 Surprisingly Simple Factors That Will Take The Lead

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

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

SEO | Quality of Content

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

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


SEO | Mobile/Responsive Design

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

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

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

SEO | Content Marketing

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

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


SEO | Social Signals

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

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

SEO | Rel=Author Tag

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

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

SEO | Media

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

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


Redefined perception of the ice cold spaceman

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A slightly different blog from us this week, but one we thought lent to the power of social media! & how CMD Chris Hadfield changing the public perception of the ice cold spaceman by Canada’s first spaceman.

Chris Hadfield: astronaut, troubadour, tweeter – and a true Space Oddity – quote from Guardian Newspaper

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield to return to Earth on Early Tuesday morning from a five-month stint on board the International Space Station.

Chris Hadfield tells the BBC about his photos of Earth – during an interview from space

Since docking with the ISS in a Soyuz craft in December, the 53-year-old station commander has kept hundreds of thousands of followers back on Earth informed and entertained from orbit.

He has tweeted from the space station at least 1,500 times, capturing remarkable images of many corners of the world. His first photograph came in his first tweet from the ISS: “Space Station! Floating free, buoyed up even more by my smile. His first days were marked by a series of photos detailing life inside the space station. But he soon branched out into striking orbital landscapes of the planet below.

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We have collected just a few of Cmdr Hadfield’s tweeted shots and captions here – more are available by browsing his Twitter feed @Cmdr_Hadfield.

A former fighter pilot, Chris Hadfield became a trainee astronaut in 1992 after winning selection from a field of 5,330 applicants, according to Nasa. He flew on board the space shuttle, docking with the Russian space station Mir and as part of an assembly flight to the ISS in 2001. He eventually won his own slot on board the ISS in 2010, training for his current mission until lift-off in December 2012. After gathering hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers during his months on board, he made one final hit as the time came for his departure from the ISS.

He posted a striking video to YouTube of him performing a version of David Bowie’s renowned 1969 hit song Space Oddity. The video quickly went viral, and even prompted a response from Bowie’s own official account: “Hallo Spaceboy…”


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Below is a selection of our favourite images taken by @Cmdr_Hadfield

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