Cotton Court Business Centre

Entrepreneur

Banking Heavyweight Leaves Corporate World to Launch VibePay

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Cotton Court client, Luke Massie of Vibe Tickets has joined forces with former City trader and mobile payments veteran, Gary Prince. Prince has left a 20-year career in mobile payments working for the world’s biggest blue chips to launch VibePay with the young entrepreneur.
In an bold move, the payments expert (whose experience includes projects with the likes of Barclays, O2, Vodafone, BT, VocaLink and Costa Express) is rejecting opportunities with some of banking’s biggest names to go into business with Vibe!
As Managing Director of VibePay, Prince is heading up the firm’s mission to make payments simple while offering a guarantee of no fees to its customers.
A payment platform offering direct-to-bank payments to people and businesses, VibePay was founded in early 2018 when changes to open banking legislation allowed regulated businesses to access UK banks’ payments infrastructure.
Prince says: “I’ve never settled for the status quo. In 2005 when a big employer told me there was no future in mobile, I knew it was time for me to move on. I have to be moving forward and making progress and I’ve never done that at such a pace as I have at VibePay.
“I live and breathe all things payment and my focus is always on the customer’s perspective. The big players are just not geared up to give consumers what they want. Making a payment is secondary – nobody wakes up thinking they want to make payments but they do want to pay for their travel or their fuel and buy a coffee in the simplest and safest way possible.
“That’s what VibePay is about. We don’t shroud things in complicated tech speak or banking jargon – traditional banks do that to try to justify their snail’s pace and to disguise their lack of innovation. We just listen to customers, feedback into our engineering team and we make things happen quickly.”
Luke says: “We’ve grown Vibe Tickets into a main contender for fans to buy and sell tickets and we listened to our customers when we integrated a third-party payments provider to complete the transactions. It was a hassle and it cost them money. It went against everything the Vibe Group stands for. We had no choice but to create our own alternative.
“The changes to open banking legislation, my initial meetings with Gary and the immediate interest from some of the country’s best payments industry techies in what we were doing showed we’d hit on something at the right time. The payments market is ripe for disruption. It’s stuck in the dark ages when customers couldn’t choose, they made do with what they were offered. VibePay is revolutionary in that respect.”
According to the UK Card Payments 2017 end-of-year report, almost 14.5 billion debit card transactions were performed in the UK last year, 37 per cent of which were carried out online. By 2020, Accenture’s Open Banking market report suggests 33 per cent of online debit transactions will be direct from customer bank accounts, representing 1.75 billon transactions with a value of £64.7bn
VibePay aims to remove debit card payments, fee-charging card schemes from the process and allowing consumers to pay merchants in real time, direct from their bank account, reducing online fraud and resulting in better cash flow for merchants who will receive value on funds sooner than via debit cards.
Open Banking, which is being adopted widely across the globe, gives customers the choice of who to make payments with for the first time. VibePay’s Open Banking platform will either be launched under the VibePay brand or under licence with an in-country partner.

Manchester Marketers Relocate to Cotton Court

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Manchester marketing consultancy Invoke Media has relocated its operation to Cotton Court Business Centre to support SMEs in the Lancashire area.

Invoke have been utilising Cotton Court for a number of years, making use of the second and fifth floor desk space, as well as meeting rooms to service their Central Lancashire based clients.

Jack Barron, Director, Invoke Media

Invoke director Jack Barron took on a role as Interim Marketing Director at Cotton Court in 2017, before becoming a permanent fixture in Spring of this year. This has has a direct influence on his decision to move the business to Cotton Court on a full-time basis.

“Obviously working in Cotton Court a number of days a week has had a massive impact on my decision to move the business to Preston. Whilst Manchester is only a short drive away, it has become apparent that moving between the two cities is not only inefficient, but unnecessary. Cotton Court has absolutely everything we need to run our business and provide a high level of service to our clients” says Jack. 

 

Invoke intend to make use of Cotton Court’s tech suite and virtual office services to support their move and overall operation, including the launch of a set of new services tailored specifically at Lancashire SMEs.

Invoke’s latest offerings include marketing support packages designed to make high quality marketing accessible to micro businesses, and their unique virtual marketing services aimed at SMEs who are looking to improve profitability through strategic marketing; with the flagship virtual marketing director service taking the lead.

He continues…

“We’re committed to helping micro, small and medium sized businesses achieve success. I’ll be looking to continue the work I do through Cotton Court into my own business by making marketing more accessible for Lancashire SMEs. Marketing is one of the premier components of business management & revenue generation, yet accessing it is out of reach for many. We’re hoping to change that with the new range of services we’re providing with the support of Cotton Court Business Centre”.

Invoke currently occupy space on the second and fifth floor of Cotton Court Business Centre, and make use of call handling, registered address, desk space and office services.

Find out more about Invoke Media helping Lancashire SMEs HERE.

Think What You Want…But Think Different

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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.

 

Living for the weekend?

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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?

Working 9 ’til 5: Is it Time for a Change in Working Hours?

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With flexible working now becoming increasingly popular we take a look at what UK workers think about the standard 9-5 day

More than half (58.6 per cent) of UK workers believe that the traditional 9-5 is an outdated concept, with three quarters (77.2 per cent) admitting that they work better at certain times of day. This is according to a recent study from CV-Library.

The survey of 1,200 professionals explored how the nation’s workers feel about 9-5 working hours, and whether these are still fit for purpose. The data revealed that two thirds (67.6 per cent) would prefer to work hours that suited their natural pattern and when they work best. When asked what time of day they are most productive, respondents cited the following:

In the morning – 64.2%

In the afternoon – 20.9%

In the evening – 9.3%

Late at night – 5.6%

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments, ‘There are ongoing debates surrounding the traditional 9-5 and whether this ‘one size fits all’ approach is still beneficial. It’s clear from the data that UK professionals know their own work patterns and would prefer to tailor their working hours around when they’re at their most productive. Allowing for more flexible hours could be hugely beneficial, not only to employees but also their employers. Something as simple as letting staff start an hour earlier or later depending on their needs could be all it takes.‘That said, flexible working does tend to bring with it issues of work-life balance. Doing away with the structured 9-5 could further blur the lines between work and private life”

By taking this approach, it’s vital that you monitor your employees contracted hours and not putting in too much overtime. According to the study, a whopping 86% of working professionals believe that all companies should offer flexible working and of these 86% only one quarter have the opportunity to work from home when they would like too.

Biggins concludes, ‘Flexible working is becoming increasingly popular, and is, in fact, something many professionals take into consideration when applying for jobs. Businesses need to consider carefully whether they should be offering this style of working, as this could be the key to securing and retaining talented members of staff. Not only this, but with such a huge percentage saying they work better, or just as well, at home, employers can feel safe in the knowledge that they’re getting the most from their workforce, even when they aren’t operating under the traditional 9-5.

Flexible working is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the debate of working hours, with more and more people choosing to work remotely is it time that your company embraces the future?

Entrepreneurs: Making Your Small Business Look Bigger

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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.