Cotton Court Business Centre

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3ManFactory Shortlisted for BIBAs New Business of the Year

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What a start to the year for 3ManFactory! After being shortlisted as Creative Business of the Year in the  Red Rose Awards and New Business of the Year in the E3 Business Awards, 3ManFactory have now been shortlisted for New Business of the Year in the BIBAs 2013.

The BIBAs are touted as being Lancashire’s leading and biggest awards ceremony, recognising and honouring the breadth of business achievement in Lancashire in all its variety. To be shortlisted for another award makes us a very proud bunch indeed: we’ve worked hard to and strived to be one of Lancashire’s go-to organisations for businesses that want to take their digital strategies to the next level.

We wish them the best of luck! We will see them at the premier awards ceremony.

For more information about The BIBAs 2013.

Struggling To Leverage Social Media For Your Business?

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Struggling To Leverage Social Media For Your Business? Social Media can be a powerful tool for growing your business, but it can be a bit overwhelming. What platforms should you have a presence on? What must you say to engage and convert prospects? How often do you have to post updates? Should you outsource management of your social media accounts? These are all questions that business owners grapple with as they try to use Social Media to their advantage. Below are some considerations that you may find useful to help you decide where to establish a social media presence for your business and 3 tips on how to manage that presence without getting overwhelmed.

What Social Networking Platform(s) Should I Use? | Using Social Media for Your Business

Unfortunately, there is no “silver-bullet” answer to this question. There are many social networking platforms that are used for various purposes and attract different types of users. For example, Twitter is a great micro-blogging platform for short encounters that can be useful in sharing brief updates, announcing service outages/restorations to customers, or referring customers/partners to detailed information on a given topic. Facebook on the other hand is great for extended interaction with stakeholders as it supports longer posts, conversational interactions, and a more immersive experience. Thus, the answer to this question will depend on several factors:

  • The type of business you have
  • The stakeholders you’re trying to reach/engage (e.g. prospects, customers, partners, employees, etc.)
  • The social networking platforms those stakeholders use
  • The activities you want those stakeholders to perform (e.g. read your content, share your content w/ their friends, endorse your business, participate in a contest/promotion, make a purchase, be a brand advocate, etc.)



Your answers to the above will influence the makeup of the social media strategy and campaign you’ll need to achieve your business goal. Your business goal may require you to establish a presence on a single social networking platform or it could require you to establish a presence on multiple social networking platforms and to coordinate activities across those platforms and your business website.

I Don’t Have Time To Post Updates On Multiple Social Networking Platforms | Using Social Media for Your Business

Business owners struggle to find enough time in a day to help customers, interact with business partners, manage employees, and run their business – let alone finding extra time to engage on social media. Add to that challenge the fact that it’s quite easy to lose track of time when engaging in social media and have minutes turn into hours.

1. Get Organized | Using Social Media for Your Business
Once you have a handle on the business goal you’d like to achieve using social media for your business and have a strategy for pursuing that business goal, a good first step is to get organized. Whether you’ll be sharing this responsibility with a team or doing it yourself, it’s important to outline who will be handling which activities and how those activities will be performed. This can be somewhat informal in smaller organizations, but in larger companies RACI charts and a documented social media policy are a good idea



2. Set A Schedule | Using Social Media for Your Business
As with all of your responsibilities, you must set aside time to engage with your stakeholders on social networking platforms. It’s OK to time-box this activity as that will encourage you to be more efficient, focused, and productive. It’s also important to note the importance of sticking to whatever schedule you define as your stakeholders will expect to hear from you at those designated times, and if your schedule becomes erratic or has long lapses of “radio-silence”, you can quickly lose the following and level of engagement that you worked hard to establish. Think of your social networking time as “store hours”. Once customers learn your store hours, they’ll come to your store during those hours and expect you to be open for business. Now, imagine the impact if you set your store hours, then didn’t show up to open your store for several days or weeks. What would happen to your customers? The outcome would be similar in social media if you set a schedule and did not honor it. That being said, the schedule you define (e.g. daily, weekly, bi-weekly updates, etc.) is up to you – the important thing is to be consistent.

Another important factor to consider is that all of your social networking interactions do not have to be real-time. As you’ll see in the next section, there are several social networking tools available that will let you schedule your updates to social networking sites. For example, if you normally post updates to Facebook on Wednesday afternoons, but are planning a two-week vacation, you can schedule those updates ahead of time to post on the two Wednesdays that you’ll be away – ensuring continuity for your stakeholders.


3. Set Smart Alerts | Using Social Media for Your Business
As you start to amass a large following in social media, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the volume of people and posts you must respond to. There are a few key things you should keep in mind for dealing with this.

Your Community Can And Will Help You: As you build an engaged community in social media, they’ll often step in to help each other when you and your team are tied up. For example, if you post a solution to a product issue on Twitter and are delayed with another matter before you can share that same information on Facebook, a member of you community may jump in to field customer questions on Facebook and refer customers to the information you shared on Twitter. This behavior can be quite helpful in managing the volume of interactions in social media and should be encouraged and rewarded. That said, you’ll also want to monitor these interactions where possible, so you can jump in with additional information and/or corrections as appropriate.

Prioritize Your Notifications: Social networking platforms and the above integrated tools will let you set alerts for important occurrences, but you have to prioritize those notifications – especially as your following grows. For example, on Twitter you can set notifications for various activities including: when your tweets are favorited, when you’re followed by someone new, when you’re sent a direct message, when you’re mentioned in a tweet, etc. If you set all of these, you’ll get swamped with notifications and will quickly get overwhelmed. With each social networking platform you’ll have certain behaviors that you’ll try to encourage and will want to acknowledge and possibly reward. Set your notifications with those behaviors in mind, so you won’t miss those key interactions.

Tweets from our world: Cotton Court Twitter

Follow pictures from our Instagram world here: Cotton Court Instagram

If you missed the article you can follow the link to Our Guide to Instagram for Business


What is the Lancashire Cycle Challenge?

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The Lancashire Cycle Challenge is a fun, free competition to encourage your colleagues to remember the joys and benefits of riding a bike. There are lots of fantastic prizes on offer to tempt your team; from cinema tickets and local restaurant vouchers, to bike gear to support your cycle journey.

How it works

It’s all about participation – which workplaces can get the most people to ride a bike for just 10 minutes or more?

Lancashire businesses will compete against each other to see who can get the most staff to ride a bike between Monday 17 June to Sunday 7 July.

It’s not about who can cycle the most miles, but who can encourage the most people to give cycling a go.

Recruit workmates to ride a bike to climb up the leaderboard and win the Challenge. People only need to cycle for 10 minutes or more! It’s easy and fun!


To sign up! Follow the link: Love to Ride Lancashire

More information: Challenge for Change Website

Getting involved in National Bike Week 2013

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This year Cotton Court Business Centre are getting involved in Bike Week is the UK’s biggest mass participation cycling event, with almost half a million people participating at events across the country.


Bike Week is an annual opportunity to promote cycling, and show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life by making ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. Demonstrating the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling, the week aims to get people to give cycling a go all over the UK, whether this be for fun, as a means of getting around to the local shops, school, the library or just to visit friends.

Follow as our staff get involved Cotton Court Twitter #CottonCourt #JonRides #BikeWeek

For more information: British Cycling Website | Bike Week Website

Happy 7th Birthday Twitter!!

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As active users of Twitter we thought it’s only right we write a quick blog about how it came to be.

Twitter is celebrating its 7th birthday with a video showing a short history of the service, from its humble beginnings and co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, to the present day, when it boasts 200 million users.

Did you know? The most tweeted message was about US President Barrack Obama when he won the presidential election 2012 “Four More Years!”

Launched on March 21, 2006, Twitter has grown from a promising little service with a lot of server issues to one of the world’s largest social networks, with “well over” 200 million active users which send 400 million tweets each day.


Follow tweets from our world: Conferencing- Virtual Office – Hot Desks & Office Space. Tweets about our world. ^AB Events Coordinator ^JN Building Manager

Follow us: Cotton Court Twitter

Social Media: Getting It Right Seminar Photos

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Quick Snapshot from the Downtown in Business Social Media: Getting it right seminar.

A huge thank you to Tracey & Roger – Downtown in Business, The cheeky chaps Nathaniel Cassidy & Tom Stables from 3ManFactory, Hiran Panchal – Cotton Studios, Robert Binns – Cotton Court Business Centre for his referee skills & everyone who attended.

Follow us on twitter #DTsocial – fast paced social networking…..

Here’s a few tweets from the seminar

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4 5 6

A couple of pictures from todays event

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Getting ready to kick of the Social Media: Getting it right seminar hosted at Cotton Court Business Centre with Downtown in Business

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Tom Stables & Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory discussing customer service interaction with social media. Nathaniel telling us about watches? Christopher Ward Watches – Great example of good customer service – They made 100 limited edition watches after a customer tweeted them.

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Creating a check list for you social media to target your key objectives month by month! Helps target and encage your customers and followers.

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Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory showing twitter search tools during the seminar. Who is Frank McKenna??? – Downtown in Business Chief Executive.

Follow: 3manFactory

Follow: Frank McKenna – Downtown in Business

Follow: Cotton Court Business Centre

National Apprenticeship Week

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This week marks the UK’s National Apprenticeships Week. This week intends to raise awareness of apprenticeships and the positive impact they can have on businesses and the UK economy. Forecasts indicate that apprenticeships could add a further 3.4bn a year in economic gains to the UK.

Apprenticeship schemes will give young people the chance to learn a trade and build their careers. The Government are looking at ways they can expand apprenticeship opportunities so that they can become more widely available to young people. Barclays have also announced an expansion of its national ‘Bridges to Work’ programme, which is designed to help companies find and employ apprentices.

Apprenticeships ensure that your workforce has the practical skills and qualifications your organisation needs now and in the future. The mixture of on and off job learning ensures they learn the skills that work best for your business.

Over 130,000 workplaces offer apprentice places because they understand the benefits that apprentices bring to their business – increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a committed and competent work-force.

Improve your bottom line – Apprenticeships deliver real returns to your bottom line, with Apprenticeships helping them to improve productivity and to be more competitive. Training apprentices can also be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs.

Fill your skills gaps – Apprenticeships deliver skills designed around your business needs providing the skilled workers you need for the future. They also help you develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector.

Motivate your workforce – Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that invested in them. Remember, an apprentice is with you because they want to be – they have made an active choice to learn on the job and a commitment to a specific career.

One Connect Limited will host an Apprenticeships and Placements event on 20th March 2013 at Cotton Court.  The event will commence at 5.30pm until 7.30pm. Refreshments will be provided along with free parking onsite.

5.30pm Refreshments and networking

6.00pm Welcome: One Connect Limited – Sarah Walmsley

County Councillor Michael Green

One Connect Limited – An insight into our services

Charlotte Iddon and Rachel Briggs will highlight the benefits of working with One Connect

Limited and how your business can be supported in a risk free and cost effective way.

With offerings of accessing free training, saving costs on recruitment and sourcing free staff.


Looking to grow your business?

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Looking to grow your business? Want a new way to recruit young talent?

This event is for any business owners in Lancashire who are looking to grow their businesses.  With offerings of saving on recruitment costs, providing you with independant advice and guidance on recruiting and training, information on grants and funding available.

One Connect Limited is hosting an Apprenticeship and Placements event on March 20th at 5.30pm-7.30pm in Cotton Court Business Centre, Preston Lancashire.

Refreshments and networking from 5.30pm speakers from 6pm

You will leave knowing more about grants of up to £15,000 for your business to support young people, One Connect Limited’s programmes which offer Lancashire businesses young adults for up to 8 weeks at no cost to the business.  This hugely successful programme offers businesses young adults on a trail basis, to enable skill matching.

Presentations from

Sarah Walmsley of One Connect Limited and Councillor Michael Green

Dawood Fard and Louis Rollenson of Centurus Ltd

Charlotte Iddon and Rachel Briggs of One Connect Limited

Paula Gibson of National Apprenticeship Service

Your business can’t afford to miss out on this great opportunity, book your place to find out more.