Cotton Court Business Centre

Author: Jack Barron

Cotton Court Team Support Progression Day in Rochdale

By Comments Off on Cotton Court Team Support Progression Day in Rochdale

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

By Comments Off on Cotton Court Apprentice Turns Dragon

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

By Comments Off on Think What You Want…But Think Different

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.

 

Double Nomination for Cotton Court Resident

By Comments Off on Double Nomination for Cotton Court Resident

They’re at it again! We’re proud to announce that Cotton Court Business Centre residents UK Media & Events have been shortlisted for 2018’s BIBA awards not once, but twice!

Shortlisted for awards in the ‘Leisure Business of the Year’ & ‘Micro Business of the Year’ categories, they’ll be battling it out with the best that Lancashire has to offer.

The BIBAs are a prestigious long-running award programme run by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Held on the 14th September at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, attendees can expect a sumptuous four-course meal and live entertainment, as well as the awards ceremony itself.

It is certainly one of the biggest dates in the Lancashire business calendar and a nomination is a huge achievement. We’ve all got our fingers crossed for a double-win!

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court says:

“We’re incredibly proud of the businesses that we work with here at Cotton Court, none more so than the guys at UKMAE. The last year in particular has seen some big client wins and new additions to the team to support their growth. It’s good to see their hard work paying off and I can’t think of another business more deserving of these nominations”.

Danny Bee, Managing Director at UK Media & Events adds:

“I’m so proud of the team and what we have achieved in the past 12 months. To be nominated again is great recognition for both our and our suppliers continuous hard work and the companies increased growth. I am very pleased we have this opportunity to showcase our services and what we do for our clients”.

If you want to see more about what UK Media & Events do, visit their website here:

https://ukmae.com/

To find out more about the BIBAs then visit the official site here:

https://www.thebibas.co.uk/

Living for the weekend?

By Comments Off on Living for the weekend?

6 Ways to Motivate Your Team on a Monday Morning

 

Getting going after a weekend of relaxing or hedonistic pursuits can be a struggle for the best of us. Whether it’s a 2 day hangover or just plain old Monday blues slowing you down at the start of the week, you (and your business!) don’t have to suffer from lost productivity & poor output.

 

We’re taking a quick look at how you can best motivate yourself and your team on Monday morning, to ensure you get back into the groove as quickly as possible.

 

  1. Look Forward

 

Plan in advance on the previous Friday and make a to-do list of the things you NEED to achieve, and the things you WANT to achieve in the following week. Break them down, and while taking into account time critical tasks, set some small and easy tasks for Monday morning to get you going…

 

  1. Ease into it

 

In most cases, so long as there isn’t any time critical tasks that need to be achieved on Monday, you don’t need to start on the biggest things first. Starting with unenjoyable or large tasks can be daunting and demotivating. Psychology tells us that when we experience even small amounts of success, our brains produce dopamine; giving us feelings of pleasure & motivation. It’s these ‘little victories’ that spur us on to finish the monster tasks! Read more here…

 

  1. Flexible working

 

As long as your specific business circumstances allow, you should stagger your employee work times or allow for flexible working whenever possible. Some people just aren’t morning people and this is only going to be exasperated by two days of breaking routine and a rush hour commute. Allowing an employee an extra hour in bed could pay in dividends for your business; meaning you all hit the ground running and give it your all.

 

  1. Get Together

 

Make the time to meet with your team first thing or as soon after you start back after the weekend. Keep it short & sweet, take the time to ask about their weekend and find out any issues they may be having (either personal or work) Monday morning is the perfect time for you as a leader to set the frame for the week ahead, identify and deal with any issues, as well as engaging your team as a leader should. You don’t want to blur the work/personal boundaries too much, but you should have a genuine interest in what your team have been up to, and what’s on their mind. They’ll appreciate you caring, but know if it’s insincere.

 

  1. Remind them of the bigger picture, but don’t forget the milestones

 

It’s easy for people to work in a silo or forget the overall goal they’re working towards. Your Monday meeting is an excellent opportunity to get them fired up for that end of year bonus or awards ceremony, but equally as important of an opportunity to make clear the little goals that will get them there. Set or remind of the small weekly milestones that they can achieve to meet the bigger ones long term.

 

  1. Lead by example

 

Your team look to you for inspiration and example. Even if you’re not feeling the love at 8am on a Monday, get yourself in the right headspace and come in with bags of enthusiasm. Make sure you’re there on time, with the right attitude and practice what you preach. How can you expect your team to do their best work if you’re not making the effort yourself?

Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni Pt.3

By Comments Off on Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni Pt.3

For our final special Spotlight On Success series focusing on successful UCLan alumni, we take a look at our commander-in-chief, the Managing Director of Cotton Court, Robert Binns.

 

Robert Binns – The Cotton Court Group

Current Title: Managing Director

Course Studied: Mechanical & Production Engineering

Robert is the Managing Director of The Cotton Court Group, operating a portfolio ranging from a business centre, through to leisure, property and tech. After leaving school he went on to have a successful career at BAe Systems, before starting a number of his own businesses and acting as a consultant for many others.

He’s a well-known character around Lancashire and beyond, and has a solid reputation for nurturing entrepreneurs and businesses.

What did you like most about UClan?

When asked what he liked most about UCLan Robert said:

“I studied at UCLan just as it was becoming a university, and whilst working full-time at BAe systems. Studying at UCLan was a good opportunity for me to get a new experience outside of the workplace and provided me with new opportunities within BAe and my career as a whole. Many people think of studying at university in the traditional sense; attending 5 days a week for three years. There’s so much more out there and different ways people can study. Doing it whilst in full-time employment was still quite a new and novel approach at the time, but I’m glad I did it.”

He also adds…

“I think my favourite part of studying though, was the applied mathematics class I had until 9pm after a full day of work and studying…it was certainly an education!”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“The course was critical to my progression in the aerospace industry at the time. Aside from my success on the course being directly tied to my employment, it provided me with opportunities to progress within BAe that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I went on to work alongside some of the highest level people across the organisation, worked with nearly every department and gained a lot of new opportunities as a result.”

He continues…

“The methodical and systematic approach I apply to managing the businesses and projects I work on today, is without a doubt the direct result of the solid foundation laid during my time at UCLan.”

Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni PT.2

By Comments Off on Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni PT.2

 

Daniel Fisher – Tienda Digital

Current Title: Managing Director

Course Studied: Marketing

Years Studied: 2007 – 2011

 

 

 

 

Daniel is the Managing Director of Tienda Digital, and is responsible for the management of the team as well as relationships with clients. After leaving UCLan he had a number of senior positions within companies before starting his own successful business, which has won a number of awards and work with clients around the UK. He’s also the president of the local BNI chapter, and a well respected member of the local business community.

Working from the fifth floor of Cotton Court with his team, he’s a well-liked character and ‘go to’ source of information on web and app development.

What did you like most about UCLan?

When asked what he liked most about UCLan Daniel said:

“University was obviously a lot of fun, and a great time in my life. UCLan has a really friendly atmosphere and a community feel to it. There’s plenty of opportunity to socialise as well as work hard. I felt like i learned a lot of social and life skills that have really helped me in the business world too.”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“Again I’d say the social element. Without sounding too much like a party animal…I did study hard as well! But developing my social and communication skills have had a direct impact upon how I engage with clients and colleagues now. I met a lot of people on my course who have gone into similar lines of work who I’m still in touch with now. We often pass business referrals to each other so aside from just making friends at uni, I made lifelong business connections too.”

He also adds:

“I also learnt a lot on my placement. I took time out of studying to work in the business setting and the skills developed in this time are still used today. I’d recommend anyone going to uni to do a placement if the opportunity arises.”

 

Jack Barron – The Cotton Court Group

Current Title: Group Marketing Director

Course Studied: Events Management

Years Studied: 2011 – 2014

 

 

 

 

Jack is responsible for the development of marketing strategy within The Cotton Court Group of companies, as well as overseeing its implementation. Before attending university he had already spent a number of years within the events marketing industry. He left UCLan to work within an agency in Manchester, whilst studying part-time for his MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University.

What did you like most about UCLan?

Discussing what he likes most about UCLan, Jack says:

“The biggest thing for me with starting university after being in industry and as a mature student, was that the people teaching me had actual real world experience. I greatly respect academia, but there needs to be the balance between theory and experience actually applying it. I got that from my teaching staff. The ability to directly link the theory with anecdotes from their career and explain how it would be implemented in industry, was exactly what I was looking for.”

He also continues:

“I decided to study my masters degree at a different university. Mainly because I was working in Manchester, but also because I thought there was some value in having another degree from a different institution on my CV. Whilst I got good value from studying for my masters, the uni was missing something compared to when I studied in Preston. UCLan had a great feel to it, I got great support from my teaching staff and it felt homely. I just didn’t get all that when I went elsewhere. I suppose you could say UCLan had the ‘X Factor’.”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“In my third year I decided not to do a conventional dissertation and instead opted for the consultancy project. This was still a hefty piece of work, but was more appealing as I got to spend time with people in industry and solve a real business problem for a well known client. This piece of work got me noticed by an agency in Manchester, who then approached me to work for them as their digital marketing manager. I later became a director in that company and then went on to other roles as a result. That piece of work was the catalyst for most of my success in the last few years.”

 

If you’re considering investing in your career development, and would like more information on how UCLan can help you do that; contact their course enquiries team on: +44 (0)1772 892400

If you’d like to find out more about the UCLan 190th birthday celebrations, visit the site at: https://190.uclan.ac.uk/

Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni pt.1

By Comments Off on Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni pt.1

During the month of February, we’re helping to celebrate the 190th birthday of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), by looking at some of the successful past students that we work with on a day-to-day basis.

If we were to simplify what UCLan’s end product is, it would be: the keys to a successful career.

While the university has numerous famous and high profile alumni across the world, we’re going to look at the success stories of those that operate within the local area and help make Central Lancashire a great place to do business.

Amy Blundell

Current Title: Centre Manager
Course Studied: Events Management
Years Studied: 2006 – 2009

Amy is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Cotton Court Business Centre, and holds several other responsibilities across the group of companies. Managing a team, she has ultimate responsibility for ensuring things run smoothly for the centre and the clients it hosts within it.

She works closely with the Managing Director, and assists in the strategic development of the highly successful centre and group of companies.

What did you like most about UCLan?

When asked what she liked most about UCLan, Amy said:

“I think one of the main things I liked about UCLan was the city centre campus. I looked at some universities and they were that far removed from the local community it just didn’t appeal to me. The UCLan campus still provided that protected environment, but on the doorstep of the city and everything you could need “

She also added:

“I also liked the fact that the majority of the lecturing staff on my course had industry experience, and weren’t just academics. They could back up theory with real world anecdotal experiences that really put it all into context”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“There was always a strong emphasis on employability, especially in the second and third year. It can be easy to forget that university is actually all about setting you up for your future career. Just from talking to people who went elsewhere, I think some uni’s can forget that too. There was lots of opportunities to engage with industry, involvement from local businesses and plenty of workshops focused on employability skills.”

She continues…

“Many people think that event management is about wedding planning or arranging parties. In reality it’s a management heavy degree, with some event focused modules. There were a number of modules specifically around leadership, strategy, management and professional skills. I think it’s these modules that really helped me develop, and prepared me for life in the business world. I apply some of the knowledge learnt to everyday situations here at the business centre and within the group”

Eleisha Cartlidge – Tienda Digital

Eleisha Cartlidge from Digital Agency Tienda Digital, Preston

Eleisha (left) at the Women in Business Awards

Current Title: Marketing Executive
Course Studied: Marketing/Marketing Management
Years Studied: 2013 – 2017

Eleisha works as a marketing executive for Cotton Court fifth floor residents Tienda Digital. Working as part of an award winning team, she implements strategies and campaigns across the full spectrum of digital marketing for national level clients and local SME’s alike.

 

Eleisha has recently won the ‘Employee of the Year’ award at the Lancashire Women in Business Awards, owed to her ability, strong work ethic and endearing character. She’s a well-liked personality at Cotton Court Business Centre, with a sharp wit and outgoing personality.

What did you most like about UCLan?

When asked what she most liked about UCLan, Eleisha said:

“One of the main reasons I decided to study at UCLan was the clear focus on employability and the success that previous students of the course had enjoyed in their career.

It was important to me when selecting a university, that they had a good track record of students finding successful employment in a career related to their course of study.”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“After my second year at UCLan, I went on a year-long placement in industry, learning whilst on the job. This not only allowed me to gain the theoretical knowledge behind successful marketing, but gave me the practical skills to work in an agency.

This sandwich approach to learning was one of the key ways in which UCLan contributed to my future success. After my year placement and upon returning for my final year, I continued to work part-time in the agency and was taken on full time after I graduated. I’m still at Tienda now and we’re going from strength-to-strength.”

 

If you’re considering investing in your career development, and would like more information on how UCLan can help you do that; contact their course enquiries team on: +44 (0)1772 892400

If you’d like to find out more about the UCLan 190th birthday celebrations, visit the site at: https://190.uclan.ac.uk/

Spotlight On Success: UCLan

By Comments Off on Spotlight On Success: UCLan

Our ‘Spotlight On Success’ series takes a look at the accomplishments of the people we work with, and the factors that make them successful.

 

As the saying goes… “You are the average of the company you keep”, and we’re big believers that one of the keys to your own success, is by surrounding yourself with successful & positive people.

 

This week we have the privilege of covering one of the biggest local success stories and an organisation we’ve had the privilege of working with over the years, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

View of St.Peters Church & the University Library from the Adelphi roundabout

Alongside working with UCLan over the years, we’re also host to many of its alumni at Cotton Court Business Centre. Many of the business owners, their employees and our own staff are past students. Starting their journey to success on their Preston city centre campus, or one of the many off campus facilities around the northwest.

 

2018 see’s UCLan’s 190th birthday, with a series of events and celebrations being run by the university and the local community to mark the occasion. In honour of our relationship with UCLan, and the impact it’s had upon our own organisation and those we work with, we’re running a special Spotlight On Success series throughout the month of February.

 

Each week we’re going to look at the successful UCLan alumni we work with, and find out how their time there influenced and shaped their future success.

 

Who are they?

 

The University of Central Lancashire are a higher education establishment based in Preston city centre, but with a presence in towns such as Burnley, Moor Row and even a campus in Cyprus.

 

They can trace their history back to 1828, 23 years before Cotton Court opened its doors, when Prestonian businessman Joseph Livesey inspired a group of locals to form the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge. Over the years as it expanded, the name of the organisation changed, before finally being granted university status in 1992, becoming the University of Central Lancashire.

 

The university has a community of over 38,000 students and staff, and is an important part of the economy in the areas that it operates.

On Campus

What do they do?

 

UCLan is a public university, providing a range of higher education courses & research, and playing an important role in supporting local enterprise. It is ranked as the leading UK university for incubated start-up businesses still active after three years of trading, is ranked second in the UK for the number of graduate start-ups still active overall, and ranked third in the UK for estimate turnover for active firms.

 

It’s clear to see from those facts that the university has a strong focus on the application of its courses to the world of business, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

 

Who do they work with?

 

UCLan accepts students from across the UK, and has a strong contingent of international students. They offer a range of courses including foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study. They’re also actively engaged in research in a variety of topics, with the standard being considered world class.

 

In addition to working with students, the university actively engages and supports local business, public sector and non-profit organisations, playing an important part in the local community and economy.

 

They’ve also recently supported The American University of the Caribbean (AUC), taking on over 700 medical students after being displaced from their Caribbean island campus as a result of Hurricane Irma.

The university library

What makes them successful?

 

UCLan’s diverse course offering, its solid reputation and ability to move with the times has proven popular amongst students from around the world. Preston’s good transport links and central location within Lancashire, mean that it is within easy reach of many major cities for students travelling home for the weekend, or those that live within the northwest and commute to study.

 

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court and UCLan alumni says:

 

“For me, UCLan’s ability to move with the times and adapt to societal and market changes has been one of its main strengths and key to success. They offer a wide range of courses that appeal to many different audiences, but they don’t suffer from over-extending; they grow organically and ensure they do everything well. Their teaching staff and lecturers are world class, the campus is a good mix of historical and modern, and the location is ideal.

 

The universities involvement with local businesses and the connections they’ve made has been equally important and mutually beneficial. Many students go on to work within local SME’s and larger organisations, and there is a strong effort to support entrepreneurialism. Student placements within local businesses are common, and provide benefits to both the business and the student, and solidify the symbiotic relationship the university has with local stakeholders.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLan, and it positively impacted upon my future career. They’re valued partners and clients of Cotton Court, and we wish them a happy 190th birthday!”

 

Sana Iqbal, President of UCLan Students’ Union says:

“UCLan students succeed because they are given many opportunities to make the most of their student experience and develop skills to improve their employability.

At the Students’ Union, we provide a range of volunteering opportunities for students in a number of areas including: Sports, Societies, Democracy, Student Media, Inspiring projects and Academic representation. These roles allow students to explore interests, express their passions and enjoy their time at UCLan to the best of their ability – all which leads to a happy and successful future!”

 

 

How can you find them?

 

You can get in touch with UCLan course enquiries by email at: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

 

Visit their website at: http://www.uclan.ac.uk

Or call general enquiries on: 01772 201 201

 

If you’d like to find out more about the UCLan 190th birthday celebrations, visit the site at: https://190.uclan.ac.uk/

Entrepreneurs: Making Your Small Business Look Bigger

By Comments Off on Entrepreneurs: Making Your Small Business Look Bigger

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you may have at times looked into ways to make your business appear larger and more established than it is. There’s numerous benefits of doing so, and dependent on your industry may even be essential to winning clients.

This phenomenon isn’t unique to the business world, humans and animals alike have always used the perception of size and stature as a way to ward off dangerous predators or lure in potential mates. Whether it’s puffing your chest out or fanning a tail feather, nature has got it covered.

But why?

Why would you want to mislead people about the size of your business? Well I’m sorry to say, regardless of what you may have been told, size does matter. There are of course occasions where this isn’t the case, but for many, a well established business that is turning over large amounts of revenue and has its own staff, is a successful business.

In the minds of your customers, success often means that a business must be doing something right. That they’re obviously providing a good level of service and that they know what they’re doing. Of course we can all think of examples where this isn’t the case.

Making your business look established and larger than it is can have numerous benefits. They include and are not limited to:

  • Added credibility
  • Able to win larger contracts
  • Can compete with larger competitors
  • Customers feel more secure
  • Suppliers feel more secure

It’s not lying

Unless you outright make claims about the size of your business or how long it’s been running, you aren’t lying. You are changing the perception of your business in the eyes of your customers. That’s what we call ‘positioning’ in the marketing world.

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, the difference between success and failure can at times hinge on the revenue from a small number of clients. Every single client win has a big impact, and every single loss has an even bigger one.

Ethically positioning your business to appear larger and more established isn’t a dark art or deceptive. It’s a smart business move that can improve the confidence of your potential and existing customers. Helping you win crucial new clients and maintain the confidence of existing ones.

We’ve created a short ebook to help entrepreneurs and small business owners make their businesses look more successful. Download it HERE.