Cotton Court Business Centre

Author: Grace Bennett

Spotlight On Success: National Apprenticeship Week 2018

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We’re celebrating national apprenticeship week this week by getting to know what our apprentice enjoy most about working. Here is what they had to say

Name: Harry Stezaker Employer: Diecut Global
Job Title: Commercial Team
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Business Admin level 2
Start Date: 5th June 2017

What is your job role?
I am a sales representative/prospector, this involves me being the first point of call for all
customers, therefore I deal with there enquiries and I generate business; this means that the
majority of my day is spent on the telephone.
What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I prefer being in an apprenticeship more than full-time education as I both learn and earn
money whilst doing so.

What are your favourite things about your job?
My favourite things about my Job would be the colleagues I work with, they’re kind and
helpful whilst also being quite wise and instructive. As well as this I like my job role as a
salesman because there is no better feeling than making a sale.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would recommend an apprenticeship for the following reasons:
Earning money whilst learning
Gain good life experiences due to being in the workplace
Gain a good head start in life economically
You mature a lot quicker.

What is your career goal?

My goal whilst working with Diecut Global is to become the leading salesman in my
company, this would give me both the experience and the correct thought process to get
further in life with my future aspirations.

 
Name Grace Bennett
Employer: Cotton Court Business Centre
Job Title: Business Administration Apprentice
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Business Administration Level 2
Start Date: 4th September 2017

What is my job role?
My role is varied and a typical workday involves me answering calls for either
customers within the building when they’re otherwise engaged; answering calls for
virtual offices which I then email to inform them so they can get back in touch. It also
involves setting up and organizing conferences which are held within the building on
a daily basis; whether that be groups of 4 or 104. On a daily basis I also handle all
the mail for our virtual office customers, office and desk clients. As well as, making
sure all conference are presentable and clean throughout the day.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I like the fact that my NVQ work ties in with my day to day on the job work make it easy to
complete both whilst learning new things on the job

What are your favourite things about your job?
There are many favourite areas in my job role but one that sticks out the most is the
ongoing day to day interaction I have with other clients and visitors. Also, I like the
variety I get with my job and that I’m always learning new things.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I have chosen to become an apprentice because then I can advise young people to
consider an apprenticeship after school instead of college. Also, that apprenticeships
are for anyone no matter what your starting point is. I also choose to become an
apprentice to expand my skills in the workplace whilst still learning and staying in
education. I believe this network will allow me to meet a wide range of people,
whether that be fellow ambassadors or people when out and about visiting schools
and career fairs. Also, benefit me on how other businesses work and what each
individual business entails.

What is your career goal?
In the future I would like to be in a job which i enjoy also one which will broaden my
horizon for the forthcoming years. I would also like to say that I now manage all
virtual office customers and enquiries and that I would like to build my way up to a
managerial role.

 

Name: John Alty
Employer: Compeller Ltd
Job Title: Digital Marketing Assistant
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Level 2 IT.
Start Date: 23rd July 2016

What is your job role?
My Job Role at Compeller is ever changing as my skill sets improve and I get a wider
understanding of the industry. But primarily my Job is based on building and managing PPC
campaigns on Adwords for our clients. My time is also spent creating various reports and
website audits every month.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
It was a good option after college to start an apprenticeship and get into the working world
early, instead of committing to 3 years of university. I’ve always worked so I thought why not
carry on.

What are your favourite things about your job?
Learning new things and gaining experience in the industry is a very rewarding experience
and I couldn’t have found a better place to do so. Working office hours is enjoyable and fits
in well with day to day life. Being able to have weekends and evenings free is something that
you can’t get with a lot of jobs.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
It’s a great way to get into the world of work and learn new things while being paid to do so.
What is your career goal?
Improve my knowledge and confidence to the point where I can independently make
decisions within the company.

 

Name: Lydia Bury
Employer: Compeller
Job Title: Digital Marketing Apprentice
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: IT user skills level 2
Start Date: 3rd January 2018

What is your job role?
Managing and building PPC accounts and various SEO techniques, writing google ads,
copywriting and putting together content for websites.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I like the fact that the coursework links in with the work I’m doing with Compeller and that it
is relevant to my job role. It’s also great to be learning and gaining experience as well as
being paid.

What are your favourite things about your job?
I like the variety I get with my job and that I’m always learning new things. I’ve also been
really lucky to find a fantastic company to work for.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would recommend an apprenticeship as you are getting experience on the job, gaining a
qualification as well as getting paid. I would recommend an apprenticeship over going to
university as you’re gaining insight into how the industry works, getting paid as well as
coming out with a qualification.

What is your career goal?
Gaining experience and knowledge to work my way up to a managerial role within the
marketing industry.

Strategic Transport Plan Consultation Event

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On Wednesday 24th January we’re looking forward to hosting Transport for the North as they start the public consultation on the Strategic Transport Plan.

This is your chance to find out more about the recommendations and what it means for you and your area and give your feedback which will help shape the Plan in its development.

These consultation events are open to everyone and are your chance to hear from Transport for the North representatives and ask any questions you might have.

First stop is in Preston, at Cotton Court!

They’d like to invite you to a special pre-briefing at 3pm, where you can hear from their Strategy Director and discuss their proposals.

 

The outline for the session is as follows:

4pm – 5pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

5pm – 6pm: Drop-in Q+A

6pm – 7pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

7pm: Event close

If you are able to attend, please register your interest here

 

 

2017 Our Year in Review

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As 2017 has to come to an end we look back on all the amazing things our clients have done. Some of the memories and achievements have been so amazing we had to share with you what they have been up to…

Alys Stuart – Together we balance ~~ “The best part of my 2017 was in making the decision to take on staff. Having Tracy an then Bea join me in Together We Balance was the beginning of a major stage of growth for the company. Made easier by working at Cotton Court as all the facilities are in place and renting an extra desk was very simple to do.”

Daniel Fisher – Tienda Digital ~~ “Another Christmas comes, another Christmas party, another secret Santa and another year of delivery amazing projects for clients. When we look back and reflect on this year, a few things do stand out.

Relocation
This year we relocated back into the heart (city centre) of Preston to where it all began. Tienda Digital is proud to be in the heat of Lancashire and will continue to grow the digital sector here for years to come.

Awards
This year we came close to winning ‘Small Business of the Year’ (twice) but missed out to ome amazing winners. We are proud to be finalists in any award as it shows what we do is not only recognised but appreciated. Our very talented Eleisha Cartlidge only went and won ‘Employee of the Year’ at the Women In Business Awards. This is testimony to her hard work and dedication over the last few years.

TOOLi App
Our client TOOLi was voted the number 1 in the “Top 6 Apps For Tradesmen That Are Revolutionising The Industry” during 2017 which again is great news for not only ourselves for developing the app but for the guys at TOOLi.

Drop App
Tienda Digital worked with our client Drop to develop a new social connect app which has now launched and will be promoted to universities throughout the UK in 2018. The app has the potential to be huge and we will be supporting the guys at Drop to make sure this happens.

retailTRUST
It’s always nice to end the year on a high and this one is no different, Tienda Digital has been appointed to develop a mobile app for retailTRUST, a national trade charity that supports everyone involved in retail and the related service industries.

We would like to thank our clients, friends, family, business associates and even everyone who has liked tweeted or shared our social profiles this year. We wish you all the luck for 2018 and beyond.”

Roger Singleton – Riscon Solutions ~~ “My yearly highlight was the training of 10 staff at CARE International, an NGO based on the remote island of Tanna in the country of Vanuatu in March 2017. The training content was in Drinking Water and Sanitation system assessment in rural communities. Since that date, the team has undertaken over 50 system assessments and upgrades on the island.”

Danny Bee – UK Media And Events ~~ “We have delivered some fantastic events across the country for some of our clients, and being asked to produce Grace Davis’s performance in Cathedral Square, Blackburn for the x-factor semi-finals week (in less then 48 hours) was an amazing experience, achievement and honour. To top the event of the outcome and support shown towards Grace was phenomenal!”

Mark Drage – Ambledene ~~ “Ambledene was all about change this year whether that be the new logo or the fact we have added a new gin related monthly newsletter which allows people to see the best tried and tested gins of each month. Our new logo consists of two A’s combined to subtly create an ‘M’ this allowing us to showcase the Ambledene Accountancy Director Mark at the forefront of the business. To top the year off Ambledene Accountancy has helped their clients Vibe Tickets secure immense investments. Vibe tickets allows fans to exchange and negotiate on the price of tickets for live events. It has built a following of more than 70,000 users across eight countries since 2013. The investment will help them potentially become the number one destination for live events for fans across the globe.”

Craig Davis – Wise ability ~~ “My personal highlight was earlier in the year 3 of my candidates began work on the same day. This was particularly pleasing as the candidates had worked very hard to develop their skills and overcome their disabilities in order to find full-time employment. All 3 remain in work and have moved to unsupported employment, highlighting their individual capabilities and motivation to succeed.”

Jilly Jackson – Digital Touch ~~ “The highlights of the year for Digital Touch have been plentiful, including offering Photoshop training alongside our main Retouching work. This seemed to happen overnight and by chance and though it is not a lucrative part of the business, time is made, because a huge amount of pleasure is gained when sharing knowledge with people who are equally as enthusiastic when exploring the amazing world of Digital Art.
This year we have also taken on another retoucher Luke, who specialises in complex fantasy style artwork. He is incredibly patient with an exceptional eye for detail when taking on any task, making him a huge asset to Digital Touch.
The driving Force for what we do is the positive feedback we receive every single day from our many clients. However, due to the privacy required it is difficult to translate these to valuable online reviews, but nevertheless we still sit proudly in the top 5 of our all-important TrustPilot.
Towards the end of the year, we joined up with the guys at Manchester’s Digital Garage, who are assisting with improving our Adwords account and Analytics. Blogging on Social Media and Networking on Business groups have been incredibly beneficial and again Digital Garage will be working with us to maximise the use of LinkedIn as we look forward to generating additional B2B work in the New Year.
This year has been wonderfully empowering and 2018 has been tasked with the challenge of surpassing expectations.”

Andy Neale – Global Amigos ~~ “2017 was an amazing year for Global Amigos we: offered work experience, helped with CV’s and gave a reference which

allowed one of our first supporters to achieve employment after just one month of full-time volunteering!; our Podio magazine was shortlisted for the ‘Start-Up Social Enterprise Of The Year Award’ – for the annual SELNet Awards (Social Enterprise Lancashire Network) The ceremony alone was a highlight itself; Our founder Andy volunteered in India during the summer, supporting international communities. When he returned to England he had a clearer long-term vision for Global Amigos as a result; later on in the year, we won the project management contract for Preston At Night, enabling us to further share our passion for all things Preston. To top the year off it was an honour to have Podio PR1’s name and Christmas message shining brightly on the big screen at Preston’s Christmas Light Switch on, for the second year running.”

How can you ensure customers pay on time? And what to do when they don’t!

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When you go above and beyond for clients, you expect to get paid just as fast. The biggest disappointment for a small business owner is when those expectations are not shared by the client when the invoice is due for payment.

Staying silent and hoping they will pay on time out of courtesy is not the way forward. You need to find a better way and fast, so here are our top tips on how to get your clients to pay on time…

  • Make it Convenient:

Arrange a set date each financial period when it is convenient for your client to pay, ensuring they are expecting and prepared for the invoice can also ensure they pay it on time! This tip also shows your clients that you are flexible with when they pay and that you want to make the transaction as easy and stress-free as possible for both of you.

  • Using technology:

Stop using paper to send your invoices as it is a prone way for your clients to make excuses as to why they haven’t paid I.E It got lost in the post. Instead, offer them an online invoicing process with the ability to pay there and then. There are plenty of online cloud-based accountancy and invoice websites. Some of these include Xero; The Sage Group; Go Daddy also Chaser a credit control software. Chaser and Xero are seamlessly integrated meaning that you won’t have to input and data as it uploads automatically from Xero.

Go Cardless is also a renowned website which chases your payments for you o ensuring you spend no more time following up late payments.; late payments or bad debt. Like chaser, you can also import all of your information from other websites, whether that be Xero or Sage 50.

We have many clients within our business centre that are always willing to help small business. If you would like any information then just email us on info@cottoncourt.co.uk and we will pass on your information.

  • Switch to a recurring billing:

If you’re the type of entrepreneur who has different billing dates each month, then you may need to rethink your strategy. However, if you choose to partner with a recurring invoicing system, you may find that your client remembers to pay on time EVERY time.

  • Nurture your client’s relationship:

If you have a good relationship with your clients then you should have respect when it comes to getting paid on time. If you both get to know how each other work then it will make it easier if you need to pick up the phone and ask about your payment.

  • Speed up your invoicing delivery:

If you improve your payment delivering terms to every two weeks rather than monthly or even weekly. Then this may help the client by training them to become timely with payments. Meanwhile, you get paid more often so timing becomes less of an issue because your cash flow will also improve.

  • Reward early payers:

Instead of an “overdue fee” implement a system that takes a set percentage of your client’s bill if they pay within three days or less of receiving the invoice. This may seem like your losing money but will strengthen yours and your client’s relationship as then will pay early because who doesn’t like a cheaper bill!

  • Get expert advice:

Every small business owner has the same approach when running their business “Hands-On”. But if the cash flow is a growing concern, then take a cue from bigger Companies and contact a financial advisor. They can provide the skills, information and discipline you need to get your finances back on track.

  • Collecting overdue accounts:

Despite your best efforts, there will likely come a time when a client will miss a payment deadline. How you react and respond to the situation can make a big difference.

The number one step is to get in touch immediately! You may feel like you should wait and hope they pay. However, with each passing week, you’re less likely to get paid.

After 30 days, start charging interest. You should have a payment policy which will specify your terms of overdue payments. Be sure to include your late payment fee on any subsequent invoices you send.

Continue getting in touch with your clients as they will need significant “nagging” to make their payment. Every time you get in touch with your client make sure to indicate your payment terms and the amount of interest that has occurred…

UK Media and Events have got the X-Factor!!

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UK Media & Events produced Grace Davies (X Factor finalist) homecoming show at Cathedral Square, Blackburn last Wednesday (29th November). This is what they had to say about the event:

“We were contacted by ITV 48 hours prior to the event happening and in that time organised every production element, arranged all infrastructure and delivered a seamless and successful event.

In the 48 hours, we coordinated and implemented all arrangements for the staging, sound, lighting, LED screen, full crew, live cameras and operators, security barriers and fencing, medical and full ground

protection (covering all grassed areas).

Thousands of people attended (4-5k) and the support for Grace was outstanding.

We pride ourselves on our adaptability and flexibility, and this successful event is the proof in the pudding!”

Great achievement by our clients…..keep up the good work!

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 info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Grace joins the Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassador network!

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Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassador network is a country-wide drive to increase training and employment opportunities for young people and improve their skills. It was also established to allow businesses and employees a chance to see how beneficial it can be for a company to have an apprentice in the workplace. Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassadors are all either current or former apprentice who was to talk about the highlights and benefits of taking part in the apprenticeship programme and help them find out more information. The ambassadors visit schools and careers fairs to speak to teachers, parents and children to encourage them to either take on or become apprentices.

I have chosen to become a Lancashire Apprentice Ambassador because then I can advise young people to consider an apprenticeship after school instead of college. Also, that apprenticeship’s are for anyone. I believe this network will allow me to meet a wide range of people, whether that be fellow ambassadors or people when out and about visiting schools and career fairs. Also, benefit me on how other businesses work and what each individual business entails

I decided to do an
apprenticeship so I can expand my skills in the workplace whilst still learn and stay in education. My role is varied and a typical workday involves me answering calls for either customer’s within the building when they’re otherwise engaged; answering calls for virtual offices which I then email to inform them so they can get back in touch. It also involves setting up and organising conferences which are held within the building on a daily basis; whether that be groups of 4 or 104.

On a daily basis, I also handle all the mail for our virtual office customers, office and desk clients. As well as, making sure all conference rooms are presentable and clean throughout the day and making sure our clients’ needs are met.

In the future, I would like to be in a job which I enjoy also one which will broaden my horizon for the forthcoming years. I would also like to say that I manage all virtual office customers and enquiries and that I would like to build my way up to a managerial role.

September News

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This is what some of our customers are up to during the past month…

Firstly, Tienda Digital have rebranded their website. Here is an overview of why they thought a change would be good…  “As experts in digital solutions we need a brand that would not only look digital but up to date with current trends and this is exactly what the new logo does. Our old one was more focused on the software side and was professional and corporate but we wanted something more creative.” Also, Well done to Tienda Digital for becoming a finalist in the Sub 36 awards!

Get Staffed

Secondly, Tom Craig and Tom Havlin from Get Staffed UK organised an event at Baluga to celebrate all there staffs hard work and to thank them for being on hand to help out at an array of events. A huge well done is in order for Tom Craig being nominated as employee of the year, and also Tom Havlin for entrepreneur of the year. Both are in the finals of the Sub 36 award! These awards allow small companies to be acknowledged by the public and boost their overall audience.

UK Media & Events

UK Media and Events helped organise the Lancashire Encounters Brief Encounter experience last weekend in Preston town center. This ‘brief encounter’ involved a giant walked through the streets, illuminated with other parts of the procession, starting at Winckley Square, Heading up Cannon Street, Fishergate and down Cheapside into the Flag Market. Danny from UK Media and Events LTD added: “ We’re extremely happy with the way Brief Encounter 2017 ran. So proud of all the exhibitors, suppliers and volunteers and really pleased so many attendees got to enjoy the wide variety of cultural entertainment all in one evening! Lancashire Encounter 2018 will be truly amazing as the full weekend festival returns next year!! We can’t wait!”

Vibe Tickets

We would like to say congrats to Luke Massie from Vibe Tickets for being nominated for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the year’ at the 2017 Nat-West awards. This year the Young Entrepreneurs category contains people who are aged 30 or under, their stories should be “rich in anecdotes of seized opportunity and dynamic response to the many pitfalls that lie in wait for those who are passionate for progress.” The winning entrepreneur will be a beacon of inspiration to business people irrespective of age and industry.

Downtown In Business

Finally, we are sad to see Roger Jonas leaving Downtown. Roger joined downtown in 2008 to support the development of our ambitious events programmed throughout the North. He is passionate about working for a business that makes a difference and is recognized for that. After 9 years working with Downtown he has met many people all of which will miss him dearly.

Pink Link

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We had the pleasure of welcoming Pink Link in to the building last week, and Coral will be holding an event here monthly going forward.

Pink Link is a company that promotes female enterprise through their website, social media, networks, events and awards. I was asked to be this month’s guest speaker and informed the ladies about what we do here and the services that we offer. There was a varied amount of businesses there and it was great to meet and connect with them all.

A lovely group of ladies and all very welcoming to new members like myself. I even walked away with a goodie bag! Looking forward to the next one and meeting more lovely like minded business women.

For more information on Pink Link, please visit http://www.pinklinkladies.co.uk/

Rochelle Jeffrey.

Stress in the Workplace

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Stress is an unfortunate natural part of life. We all deal with it in different ways and have different thresholds. It’s easy to let pressures from home and work build up to unbearable levels, or impact upon your daily routine. One thing is for sure, it’s unpleasant and is a productivity killer for owners and managers of small to medium sized businesses.

We’ve spoken with some of our highly successful clients that operate from Cotton Court, and asked how they deal with and minimise day-to-day stress.

They’ve provided us with some top tips for you to follow:

Firstly, take a break: go for a walk; talk to someone who isn’t connected to your job or just phone a family member. By you doing this you are allowing yourself to have a break away from work which will leave you rejuvenated when you go back to the designated task.

Secondly, if stress within the workplace is a common everyday occurrence then invest in either a stress ball or fidget cube something to camley relieve the stress without involving colleagues.

Furthermore, go and have a drink because when you’re thirsty or have had a lack of liquid throughout the day you will naturally under-perform due to your body not having enough energy to allow you to work. So whether that be a brew or just a glass of water always have a drink by your side to minimize stress.

The best way to avoid or overcome stress within the workplace is to be organised, whether that be: writing a to do list; creating a daily list of jobs or implementing a time management system.

These are the stress avoiding tips we came up with, within our workplace…

  • Take a Break.
  • Prepare for the day.
  • Drink Water.
  • Stress ball / fidget cube.
  • Move onto the next task – and come back to it later on.
  • To do list – Most important to least important.
  • Personal items to allow you to relax – photo of family member or loved ones.
  • Have a brew.
  • Time management

 

Thank you to…

Tom Craig & Tom Havlin from Get staffed.

Daniel Fisher from Tienda Digital.

Danny Bee from Uk Media And Events.

For their contribution with this post.