Cotton Court Business Centre

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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!

The Five Common Types of Procrastinator

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The Procrastination Problem

We’ve all been there. You’ve got an important assignment, project or task to complete, and you’re sat doing everything else except the one thing you really should be. Checking Facebook, having a natter, doing the ironing…that my friends is procrastination. The sworn enemy of the small business owner and entrepreneur. 

 

It isn’t just SME’s that are affected by procrastination. Top executives of blue chip companies invest large sums of time and money into defeating their procrastination problem. Silicon Valley tech giant executives are well known for their forward-thinking approach to improving their productivity. They’ve been reported to experiment with everything from meditation and yoga, to trying cognition enhancing (apparently!) drugs. They have tried all sorts of weird and wonderful ways to beat procrastination, improve productivity and increase their creativity. It’s a problem we all face at some time, regardless of how successful we are or stage our business is at.  

 

I myself have suffered bouts of chronic procrastination. I remember the worst being when I was writing my masters dissertation. At 12,000 words in, I was getting in touch with old friends, swiping right on dating apps until my fingers were sore and researching completely unrelated topics on Wikipedia. Everything except finishing the next 10,000 words that were due in less than two weeks. It was frustrating, annoying and extremely stressful. I couldn’t work out why I was self-sabotaging so much, and the more stressed I got about it, the more I did it. It was a vicious cycle, and in the business world, one that can cost a lot of money. Luckily, I finished and printed my dissertation with 20 minutes to spare before the final deadline, and swore I’d never put myself in that position again. 

 

Cotton Court has a history of nurturing small businesses and a track record of helping them grow. One of the main factors that we’ve found stifles growth in SME’s, is a dip or lack of productivity from their main driving force, their owners and managers. That got us thinking how we could help more small business owners, so we’ve created a series of blogs and free downloadable resources to help SME owners improve their productivity. 

 

I’ve eventually found ways to defeat my procrastination when it does rear its ugly head (which it did when writing this blog article!) You can see how in this free e-book that myself and the team at Cotton Court have created, download it HERE now. But in order to treat the symptoms, you first have to diagnose the problem.  

 

The Types of Procrastinator 

 

A recent article by INC, the well-known American online publication for start-ups and SME’s, explains the five common types of procrastinator. Do you fit into any or a number of these categories? Let me know which one you are, drop me an email and I’ll be happy to talk about which type of procrastinator I am and how I overcame it with ease! 

 

  1. The Perfectionist 

 

The perfectionist is always trying to avoid being embarrassed by mistakes and uses the quality of work as an excuse for not finishing it. This procrastinator is very common, hiding behind high standards to negate any negative perceptions of work not being completed. These procrastinators may spend too much time on one component of the overall project, or leave it all to the last minute.  

 

  1. The Imposter

 

The imposter is the procrastinator who is afraid of being revealed as unqualified, inferior or out of their depth. Putting off work helps them avoid the risk of being ‘found out’. If you’re suffering from this type of procrastination, it may well be that you’re surrounded by people who are hard to please or that you perceive to be better at/know more about your job than you. 

 

  1. The Dread-Filled

 

I’m a big believer that you produce your best work when you enjoy it and find it interesting. It’s the ultimate motivator, and getting started (and keeping at it!) is mostly easy. However, sometimes we all have those tasks and jobs to do that we just don’t want to do, so we put them off. These are the dread-filled procrastinators.  Most people will fall into this category at some point or another. 

 

  1. The Overwhelmed 

 

When you’re faced with a lot of work, it’s quite often hard to figure out where to start. This means sometimes we just don’t start at all! Or at least not for a while. It may be that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, your boss is piling on the work or that you’ve just not managed your time effectively. 

 

  1. The Lucky

 

The Lucky are the procrastinators who do it without fear. They think they do their best work with short deadlines and under pressure. Personally, I think this type of procrastinator is a cop out. More often than not, they’re likely to be one of the other 4 types of procrastinator, hiding behind another excuse for not getting the work done and effectively managing their time. It might be that they’ve had a history of working this way without any negative consequences and therefore in their mind it works for them, but they’re likely to get caught out one day.  

 

 The Solution

So now you’ve seen the main five types of procrastinator, which one do you feel you’re most like? Are you a strong mix of a few of them, or maybe you’ve got a recommendation for more types of procrastinator? Let us know! 

 

Now you’ve identified your type of procrastination and the reason you do it, you can work towards defeating it when it arises. Like an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, you’re always going to bump into it when you least want to. It’s not something that can be cured. It’s how you handle it when it arises that matters the most. Luckily, along with the rest of the team at Cotton Court, I’ve created a free e-book… 

 

Brain Hacking: The 5 Steps for Beating Procrastination

 

It’s the first in a series of free e-books we’ve created to help SME owners and entrepreneurs increase their productivity. It gives our 5-step process for defeating procrastination and increasing productivity.  

 

Procrastination and dips in your productivity can cost you and your business time and money. Luckily there’s a few simple things you can do to ensure that you’re on the ball, and focus on those essential profit winning activities.  

 

I hope this blog has been insightful and in some way, helps you to overcoming your procrastination and productivity issues. Best of luck! 

 

 

 

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.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

‘Cracking on with it’ in business

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Over the years we’ve been in business, we’ve developed a reputation as being the ‘go to’ guys for advice, or just to run ideas by. Our team is powered by a wide variety of disciplines, so we’re usually in a good position to help. The only thing that really holds us back is time.

Like most people in business, time can sometimes feel like it’s working against us. The hours in the working day fly by, and sometimes it feels as though you haven’t completed half of what you needed to get done. It can be frustrating, stressful and bad for business.

When people come and ask us for our advice or just to pick our brains, we always have the good intention of helping, but sometimes our complicated relationship with time gets in the way and we just aren’t able to.

We don’t like disappointing our friends and colleagues, so we’ve been thinking of ways that we can help as many people as we can, whilst not affecting all our essential tasks. We’ve decided to team up with Kennedy Ross Consulting to tackle that problem, and bring you a series of FREE events hosted at Cotton Court Business Centre. 

The events are aimed at helping business owners, managers or even just people thinking about starting a business overcome the main issues they face, and the main barriers to just ‘cracking on with it’ in business practice.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently on our Christmas Card list, an existing Cotton Court Customer or we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting. The ‘Cracking on with it’ events are free and open to anyone looking to be more productive, improve their business and develop their skills. 

The first event is just around the corner, with limited spaces filling up fast. If you want to further your skills and develop your business, sign up free of charge now. The first event is focused on a truly universally applicable skill, getting along with people. 

Relationships are just as important in business as they are in your personal life, and getting off on the right foot can make a marked difference in your businesses success. The event titled “Getting along with everyone within the first seven seconds” promises to be an insightful, fun and useful session, that is already generating lots of interest.

Click HERE to register your interest (opens in a new window)

 

or call us on 01772 507 767

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

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.

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