Cotton Court Business Centre

Business

Preston wins back talent from Manchester to support growth 

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Preston based group of companies hires new Interim Marketing Director to support local growth  

 

The Preston based group that operates Cotton Court Business Centre and operates a number of leisure, tech and property businesses, has appointed an Interim Marketing Director on a 6-month agreement to support a period of growth & development.  

Jack Barron, who is originally from Preston, joins the group after a number of years living and working in Manchester. The 30-year-old initially moved to Manchester to pursue a career within a city centre media agency, working his way to becoming a director in the company, and achieving his Masters from Manchester Metropolitan University.  He broke away last year to set up his own consultancy business, specialising in helping small to medium sized businesses, a business he still operates across Lancashire & Greater Manchester. 

“I couldn’t be happier taking on this role with the Cotton Court Group. There are a wide variety of businesses within the portfolio for me to get stuck into and do good work for, but I’m especially looking forward to working on the Cotton Court Business Centre side of things. My passion is helping SME’s, which aligns perfectly with what Cotton Court have been doing for many years.” The former UCLan student said. 

 

“There’s loads going on at Cotton Court in the very near future with the pods being built, expansion of our service offering, the free events and resources we’re running for small businesses and a number of things that haven’t been announced yet. It’s not just a period of growth for Cotton Court, it’s a period of growth for Preston. You only have to look at the recent investment in the City Centre and Queens retail park. I’m glad to be back and to be a part of it.” He continued. 

 

 

The Cotton Pods are a new development at the Church Street site, announced in September of this year. Utilising specially adapted shipping containers to increase the overall capacity of the site, they’re expected to be in operation early in the new year.  

Managing Director Robert Binns comments “Since the conversion of Cotton Court into a business centre, we’ve been the catalyst for a significant number of start-up businesses. We don’t intend to stop doing that any time soon, but in order for us to help more businesses we need more capacity. That’s what these pods will offer. As well as being responsible for helping us with our growth, one of Jack’s responsibilities will be to help steer the growth of our customers and other local businesses. Having worked with him before over the years, I’m confident we’ve got the right man for that job.” 

 

Big Plans: How the Cotton Pods will look at the Church Street site

Cotton Pods: Another angle

Big media hubs such as Manchester and London have historically been responsible for taking much of the young talent out of the smaller towns and cities such as Preston. The recent development and investment into Preston could prove to be a turning point for retaining & attracting that talent. The Cotton Court Group aims to build on that more by funneling new Manchester based talent through its new Media City office on Salford Quays, and back towards its other businesses in Preston. 

“It’s very positive news to learn about Cotton Court’s expansion plans.  As a city we’ve already seen the business centre grow and develop to support many fledgling businesses and the wider city community.  The organisation has actively embraced city life and are exemplary in their corporate social responsibility strategy.  2018 will be an exciting year for the city and it’s great that businesses like Cotton Court are pushing from the front to add value to Preston’s city centre” said Mark Whittle, Manager at Preston Business Improvement District. 

Already in post, Jack has started work on a number of important projects. “I’ve really hit the ground running thanks to the support of Robert and the team. I think it’s especially nice and certainly reflective of the group ethos, that my first project was working on the Barnardo’s Christmas Toy Appeal and the next one was involvement in a free event for local entrepreneurs and business owners. I’m looking forward to working across the group portfolio but especially working with local small businesses to help them develop & grow alongside the rest of the City”. 

 

 

19th Century Mill: Still home to hard working Lancastrian’s

 

Cotton Court is an old 19th Century Mill, providing incubation for start-ups and services for small to medium sized businesses. It provides physical office space, hot desks and conference space, as well as virtual & administrative services. It acts as the flagship business and headquarters for the Cotton Court Services group, which boasts a portfolio of leisure, property, tech and social enterprise operations.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The BIBAs 2017

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Around 1,000 business people including our clients, UK Media and Events who were nominated for Lesuire Business of the Year, packed the Blackpool Tower Ballroom for the Be Inspired Business Awards.

Nigel Havers hosted the evening, which saw Fylde-based businessman and Preston Guild Hall owner Simon Rigby given a lifetime achievement award, and Preston-based Sunshine Events take two trophies.

BIBAs organisers The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce handed out a crop of awards after a rigorous judging process.


All the winners will now enter the BIBAs Academy, a package of workshops, masterclasses, and networking run by the awards and the University of Central Lancashire, aimed at further boosting the growth of some of the county’s leading lights.


The other winners on the night include Chelsey-Marie Baldwin, the Blackpool-based former gymnast who was forced to retire from the sport aged just 17, and has gone on to set up her own academy teaching young people in South Shore.


She was supported in getting her business underway by a grant from the BIBAs Foundation, a charity set up by the awards which provides grants in support of enterprising initiatives by young people in the county.


Ashley Hackett, CEO of the Blackpool FC Community Trust, was the other individual winner picking up the Business Person of the Year award.


Chorley-based Scorpion Automotive was named Exporter of the Year, Lancaster’s Hotfoot Design picked up the Creative Business of the Year prize and Chorley lightning firm Fourth Wall Solutions was the winner of the New Business of the Year category.


Winners


Most Inspiring Young Person of the Year: Chelsey Marie Baldwin
Creative Business of the Year: Hotfoot Design
Employer of the Year: Sunshine Events
Best Use of IT: Connect Childcare
Business Person of the Year: Ashley Hackett, Blackpool FC Community Trust
Exporter of the Year: Scorpion Automotive
Family Business of the Year: The Wayfarer
Professional Service Business of the Year: Thomas Consulting
Manufacturer of the Year: CoolKit
Excellence in CSR: Sunshine Events
Construction Business of the Year: Fox Brothers
Leisure Business of the Year: Winter Gardens Blackpool
Third Sector Business of the Year: CB Partners
Service Business of the Year: Fairbanks Environmental
New Business of the Year: Fourth Wall Solutions
Micro Business of the Year: 8th Sign
Small Business of the Year: Bespoke Healthcare
Medium Business of the Year: Hippo Motor Group
Business of the Year: CoolKit
Lancastrian of the Year: Simon Rigby

Introducing The Cotton Pods…

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Shipping containers could be installed in the car park of a Preston city centre business centre.

The innovative way of expanding Cotton Court in Church Street has been lodged with planners.

Branded as The Cotton Pods the containers would be kitted out to be home to start-up businesses.

Owner of the business centre Robert Binns said: “Since Cotton Court’s conversion to a business centre, we have been the catalyst for a significant number of start-up businesses and more than 50 new jobs have been created as a direct spin off from Cotton Court.

“One particular success story involves a business which began renting a single desk at £25 per week and is now worth more than £6 million with offices nationwide.

“Our aim is to continue to act as an incubator for hungry, bright young entrepreneurs and give them the space and support to realise their ambitions in business.

 

“Cotton Court is a Preston success story and growing demand means we need to expand to supply the space demanded by the city’s emerging creative talent.

“If we can keep them here and help them grow their business they will employ more people, live locally and spend money in the city.”

The proposals would see 16 of the containers set up, each being 20ft long and stacked over two levels in two locations on the site.

Partner and architect at Frank Whittle Partnership Neil Ainsworth said: “The concept of using industrial containers as office space is an appropriate one and has become a model of success around the world.

“The Cotton Pods look good and are easily adaptable to each occupier’s requirements. We are keeping the industrial theme of the site and these shipping containers will look great alongside the original, restored 1851 mill building.”

Special thanks for Neil from Thornton Media for his great write up!

 

Email us at info@cottoncourt.co.uk to register your interest today!

 

How To Beat Procrastination In The Workplace!

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Orginal Blog from Cotton Court Clients DigiEnable

 

Most people have a natural inclination to push aside tasks which they could be completing now, for later. It makes complete sense to do this if they are currently heavily involved in an equally important task, or just physically can’t complete two task at the same time. However, most of the time, people procrastinate because they just don’t feel like completing a certain task right now.

 

It’s so easy to fall into the push-and-pull trap of “Should I do this now or can I just do it later?” — particularly in the workplace. You see workers spending so much time in the communal kitchen drinking coffee and gossiping, or outside smoking, but that’s not a problem as they still get their tasks done. They hustle during the last hour of the working day and finish off the job – no problem.


The problem is, that’s really all they’re doing – managing. They’re not working with intent or to their highest standards. Therefore, the output is often mediocre at best.
Procrastination appears to be the plague of this generation, and unfortunately, people have begun taking pride in it because they do not fully grasp the consequences of this habit. A study of 10,000 employees polled in the United States revealed that the average worker admitted to wasting 2.09 hours each day on non-job-related activities.


What an unfortunate reality.


It’s not just time that’s lost when people procrastinate – they could be missing out on the opportunities that present themselves when the to-do list has been completed for the day. Likewise, procrastination leads to frustration or discouragement due to unmet goals, diminished confidence, ruined reputation, and unnecessary stress. The self-employed, and business owners will often find themselves working last minute, late at night to meet a deadline because they procrastinated throughout the day – not a healthy approach to achieving the desired work-life balance.


Beating procrastination is a must, especially in the workplace, because the success of a company could depend on it. Workers doing what they should, when they should do them, ensures productivity that will allow deadlines and other requirements to be met more easily. So, what can be done to beat procrastination? We asked this question to some of Lancashire’s leading business people, to find out how they ensure they stay productive.


Neil Welsh PM&M AccountantsI can procrastinate and drift without meaningful achievement. The secret to avoiding this is focus and routine.
As a financial adviser I need to service existing clients, attract new ones and preserve my reputation and that of the business. For this reason I follow a pattern when I get into the office.
I view the BBC financial pages to see if there anything useful I can share or blog about. Then head to LinkedIn to respond to any new connection requests. Thereafter, check if there is anything in the timeline that is worthy of like/comment/share. I aim to limit this to 15 minutes maximum. Then to Twitter for 10 minutes at most for anything worthy of share/like/comment from both my individual and the firm’s accounts. After this I progress to email, deleting anything I don’t need to read. Thereafter the day is mine and although not especially disciplined I am able to hop between tasks with a flexible to-do list. I find that there are too many variables in the day to set fixed blocks in the diary, but will aim to achieve everything I need to in the day or move it forward.


Amy Blundell Cotton CourtCotton Court is a busy environment so sometimes it can be easy to get distracted from completing bigger tasks that require a higher level of concentration and commitment. As a team, we set monthly, weekly and daily goals with deadlines. Writing down the task helps you get focussed!
The larger projects we breakdown into bitesize pieces and have a weekly meeting where we discuss progress and set targets based on this progress. Discussing our individual progress at these meetings is a great way to keep us accountable for our plans.
We also work to the motto of never putting off what you can do today!


“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.”
― Susan Del Gatto
This is very true in the world of software development. We work on projects of work, and it is a mistaken belief that you are controlling something by saying you will deal with it later. When later arrives, the issue will often start to control you. Especially if not dealt with immediately. It finds the path of least resistance and becomes a louder and louder force in your world, to the point that it ends up distracting you from all else in the day. It’s like that ringing telephone that just won’t stop.
To avoid this, we use a triage approach. When an issue lands in our world, we ask someone to assess the issue immediately. This provides a high-level view on what is required and whether it is possible deal with it now or delegate it on. Triage is an approach used in many sectors for filtering issues as they land, so that they are dealt with in an efficient and effective way.


Be Honest! Ask yourself Why you are Procrastinating? Often we start to put things off, as it may seem the task in hand is too big or involve too much time or resource… imagine what it would feel like if you managed it.  What would be like? Oh yeah – now we talking!
START with the Easy – Simple! Starting may seem hard, commit to starting by making the intention to start, this will engage your brain for starters. Start with the easiest task first, no matter how small, it will give you momentum and quick results.
Relax! – Go Easy, pressuring yourself into tight deadlines and unrealistic expectations will cause you to stress and avoid what you want to do.  Instead, take your time and give yourself a little reward for each bit you will get done.  Chocolate is optional!
The Power of WHY? Give yourself a Mega reason on why doing something you have previously been putting off will actually do for you?  Think of all the benefits and positive outcomes, after that Why would you want to leave it any longer – Let’s Go!
The Perfectionist – Just be YOU! – Thinking something has to be perfect has led many to take no action and this can also be linked to fear of failure.  Don’t be too harsh on yourself, and stop comparing yourself to others.  Instead, start to recognise your own talents, creativity and uniqueness.


The best piece of advice I have been given is be ruthless with time and gracious with people.
It is easy to believe that we use our time in the best possible way, and blame external factors for any problems we may have.  This just isn’t true, we are not powerless and we can exert control over circumstances.  To do so, we must recognise that we need to change and that we are able to influence the situations that we find ourselves in.
Results come from doing the right thing at the right time – not just by doing things in the right way.  So whilst it is important to have a plan to ensure focus, we need to be flexible and be comfortable with changing priorities instead of getting stressed, especially if our job depends on being reactive as well as pro-active.
On my white board I have a question (taken from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)..
‘Is what I’m doing right now, the best use of my time?’ (in other words, will it take my business forward, or am I just doing the colouring in.)
To review my time management periodically, I ask myself:
• What do I need to do more of?
• What do I need to do less of?
• What do I need to start doing?
• What do I need to stop doing?
As you can see, I talk to myself a lot!
To summarise, if I could offer advice to the younger Karen, it would be:
• Know your goal
• Work towards it (in easy to manage chunks)
• Distractions are quite often a great source of knowledge and learning – accept them they are part of the process
• Be flexible with changing priorities
• Celebrate your successes


So, what’s important?


Speaking to other business professionals about how they deal with common business issues is a great way to ensure you don’t feel alone. Learning from their experiences allows you to take the best advice from multiple individuals and find a solution that works for you. To summarise, here are the top 5 ways to beat procrastination.
1. Motivation.
Providing words of encouragement helps, but if you really want to drive those around you to take care of their tasks and do so really well, incentives and rewards programmes will do wonders. There’s nothing like a nice “treat” to inspire workers to yield their best work. The same can be applied to yourself, treat yourself to an end of week shopping trip or visit to the spa.
2. Create a schedule.
This will keep everybody on track with what needs to be done. It will also allow you to organise your time efficiently in order to finish all of the tasks on your list.
3. Make the consequences of procrastination known.
It’s imperative that all the members of the organisation understand that there are negative effects to the habit and that these can impact life beyond the workplace.
4. Break difficult assignments down into short tasks.
Most people tend to let the feeling of being overwhelmed prevent them from moving forward, and big assignments truly can be overwhelming. However, breaking them down into bite-sized pieces can make it less intimidating. Also, when one’s able to complete, one small task, it provides a feeling of accomplishment and confidence to move on to the next task.
5. Implement strategies for efficiency.
There’s an abundance of strategies to beat procrastination such as ridding a workplace of distractions so everyone can work effectively and efficiently, setting up rules to prevent people from doing unnecessary things longer than they should, using technology to track workers’ progress with tasks, and many others.
Procrastination does not only derail progress; it completely prevents success. So, create your own working style wherein there’s very little room to deviate from the smart order of things, but a little wiggle room if needed. This is the best solution against the frustrating habit of putting things off for later in the workplace.
What would your anti-procrastination tips be?

Clients Tienda Digital Top The App Chart!

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Cotton Court Clients Tienda Digital have topped the charts for the best apps for tradesman with newly built app Tooli! See what Tradesman Saver had to say about the app below.

A relevant newcomer to the tradesman app world, TOOLi is fast becoming a rousing success with tradesmen all around the UK. It allows tradesmen to search for jobs, connect with other tradesmen and receive special discounts and offers from companies and suppliers in the industry – which is just ideal if you’ve got your eye on a new power tool. Simply download the app, create a profile, update your portfolio with images of some of your amazing work and show your availability for accepting new work. You have the benefit of both being contacted for new work you might be suitable for, as well as being able to search for it yourself, which takes the worry out of being out of work for too long. It can even be used for those looking for subcontractors to help finish a particular project they have underway – simply post an ad for the job and let the available subcontractors come to you. And since everyone has to upload a full profile, complete with a portfolio, to use the app, it means you’ll be able to carefully curate your team of subcontractors through looking at samples of their previous work. An all-round winner for tradesmen looking to find their next big adventure, TOOLi has definitely risen to the top of our list as one of the best new apps in 2017 for tradesmen. Best of all, it’s free too!

You can download the TOOLi app for free on the Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS).

Read more

Customer News Roundup – July

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There’s been lots going on this month at Cotton Court! Have a look at our monthly round up below!


Digital Touch

Cotton Court Client Jilly of Digital Touch is setting out on her new venture of teaching her passion; digital art!

Here’s what Jilly had to say about it!

Digital Touch is delighted to have started taking our first bookings and will be teaching bespoke Digital Art on a one to one basis.

This service is available week days, (alternate weeks) : 5pm – 7pm or 6pm – 8pm

For more information please contact us at info@digitaltouch.co.uk


Soccer Smart Manager Elliot Makes the Move to Spain!

Cotton Court Client Elliot of Soccer Smart has made the leap over to Alicante in Spain to manage the Soccer Smart Academy! He’s currently managing the Spanish Academy and helping English players get month long coaching sessions from ex-professional football players!

 


 UK Media and Events

Cotton Court Based Clients UK Media and Events have been extremely busy these past few weeks organising many events including The Lancashire School Games and Presfest! Presfest turned out to be one of the best events in Preston in a long time! Don’t believe us? Look at the image below!

 


Roger Singleton

Long time desk space client Roger has just returned from a 4 month assignment in Fiji and Vanuatu with Unicef. Whilst there he trained people on Water Saftey Planning and drinking water quality analysis! It’s great to have you back Rog!

Clients i2i are Bringing Out New Digital Products!

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Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming i2i into the building for two day’s of intensive filming!

i2i work alongside companies and people to develop a culture of high performance thinking in individuals, teams and entire organisations. They help companies and individuals learn and understand the psychological strategies that help develop, change and inspire success.

And now they’re bringing their 10 strategies programme to the screen!

Good luck with the editing guys! We can’t wait to see the finished project!

New Digital Art Classes from Digital Touch!

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Cotton Court Client Jilly of Digital Touch is setting out on her new venture of teaching her passion; digital art!

Here’s what Jilly had to say about it!

Digital Touch is delighted to have started taking our first bookings and will be teaching bespoke Digital Art on a one to one basis.

This service is available week days, (alternate weeks) : 5pm – 7pm or 6pm – 8pm

For more information please contact us at info@digitaltouch.co.uk

Clients Holker IT Recruit Two New Members of Staff!

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Our client Holker IT, that are also based in Colne, has enrolled new recruits Nina Akrigg and Timon Holden onto a new Government initiative.

The duo will attend a Level 4 Apprenticeship for Cyber Security Technology and Risk Analysis to be run by Training 2000 in Blackburn.

“We have earned a reputation as a regional specialist in cyber security and these appointments will help to re-inforce that position,” said Matthew Metcalfe, managing director Holker IT, a Cyber Essentials Plus accredited company.

“The threat posed by hacking cannot be over-stated and every business is vulnerable to attack. It is absolutely imperative that all firms – small, medium or large – take the necessary steps to ensure their computer systems are protected from theft and damage to both hardware and software.

“At Holker IT, we have created a dedicated cyber security department to tackle the issues and this new course is a chance for Nina and Tim to increase their knowledge.”

Padiham-born Nina, who lives in Brierfield, is a former student at Mansfield High School and Burnley College, where she gained a national diploma in performing arts.

“My working life has included administration and sales positions, but I have a strong background in IT and I am relishing the opportunity to develop a career in cyber security,” said the 33-year-old mother-of-two.

Timon, 22, lives in Blackburn and formerly attended St Mary’s College and Edge Hill University where he achieved a degree in film and media studies.

“Cyber security is so important these days and it is very clear that Holker IT is determined to be at the forefront. I want to be a part of that.”