Why businesses should have a spring in their step

Why businesses should have a spring in their step

Spring is officially here, and at both of the BusinessLodge sites, you can really feel it in the air. People are genuinely excited about better times to come and the prospect of a long, hot summer just around the corner.

After an indisputably tough year for us all, we’ve put together our top reasons that business should be approaching the next few months with a spring in their step.

New beginnings

We’re not just talking the birth of new life – bunnies, chicks and lambs. Spring brings with it a real feeling of starting afresh. This could come in the form of a new car, a house move – or for many businesses in Stoke and Bury, a new office move. Our enquiries have ramped up significantly in recent weeks, as the better weather and the roadmap out of lockdown means businesses are making big decisions.

There are many reasons that businesses are telling us why they want a new premises right now. Some are downsizing as people work from home – but many are also upscaling, after doing fantastically well during lockdown despite all the odds.

There are other variables, too. Some businesses want to reduce travel time for staff and eliminate the use of public transport – while others want better parking facilities. Whatever the reason, we’re always delighted to show businesses around.

If your business needs a change of scenery, there’s never been a better time.

Spring cleaning

For most businesses who have been homeworking, it’s possibly been months since anyone has stepped foot in the office. As restrictions begin to ease, it’s probably time to consider what kind of state your business premises are currently in – and how you can get them ready for your return.

This is the ideal opportunity to think about having a serious declutter in the workplace. Not only does this make your office far more easy on the eye, studies have shown that an organised office space is linked to enhanced productivity, which is another worthwhile reason to tackle any mess that has accumulated.

The world has changed considerably in the past 12 months and you may well no longer need lots of the “stuff” that you once did. From paperwork to redundant pcs, and packaging to broken kettles and toasters, nothing quite beats the feeling of having a purge to help you reset the batteries.

Getting outside

It’s been a long, dark winter  – but after all the rain, snow and miserable weather we’re all desperate for a little Vitamin D. From lazy BBQs to picnics in the park, one of life’s simplest pleasures is eating al fresco – and our Bury centre is set up perfectly to do this, with clients already enjoying eating their lunch in our landscaped courtyard.

If you don’t have the luxury of outside space at your workplace, try to make sure you get out to stretch your legs each lunchtime. It’s really important for both mental and physical wellbeing.

Warmer weather means warmer offices!

The Spring usually gives way to warmer weather and if last year is anything to go by, it could be another scorcher!

The better weather gives us all a massive boost – everything always looks so much better in the sunshine.

If you are working in an office though, it can sometimes be pretty unpleasant. A hot, stuffy environment with lots of different bodies can quickly make temperatures rise –  to unbearable levels.

Modern offices are often fitted with air conditioning which can provide a welcome relief. All BusinessLodge offices at both Bury and Stoke are fitted with individual air-con units, so you can control the temperature to just how you and the team like it.

Getting back together …..

…… as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Many businesses have worked remotely for the past 12 months. While zoom sessions and team calls have been an essential lifeline for many, there comes a point where most people really crave some human contact.

What’s more, while homeworking has it’s place in terms of productivity, studies show that face to face collaboration is key for maximum productivity.

As soon as restrictions safely allow, we can’t wait to welcome our fantastic clients back to both of our centres, and from the messages we’ve received, we know they feel the same.

For smaller organisations or contractors, our fantastic co-working space in Stoke is ideal to sit together, talk, and get those ideas flowing.

 

#LoveWhereYouWork

BusinessLodge celebrates 20 years of boosting Bury’s economy

BusinessLodge celebrates 20 years of boosting Bury’s economy

Bury’s leading flex-space office provider BusinessLodge is celebrating 20 years of building local businesses.

BusinessLodge, based on Barcroft Street in Bury, opened it’s doors in February 2001 with the aim to offer something new and exciting to local businesses and to put Bury on the map as a centre of commerce.

The centre has an enviable reputation for providing top-end office facilities combined with exceptional customer service and a true community feel. It’s four unique buildings offer a development of high spec, contemporary serviced offices with a free gym, catering facilities and ample on-site car parking, minutes from Bury town centre and the M66/M60 motorways, BusinessLodge Bury is easily accessible for commuters.

BusinessLodge is part of the family-owned Haircloth Weaving & Finishing Company limited, which was formed in 1951 and, initially, was a typical Lancashire weaving company using horse hair to produce fabric used for the interlining in men’s jackets and coats.

The business was approached by Bury Council in the late 1990s and asked to assist in a project to develop the Borough through the building of a flexible workspace. The Council had received an allocation of European Grant aid towards such a development and needed to find a partner in just 10 weeks – and failure to do so meant the funding would be lost and Bury would be considered less favourably for future European funding. Haircloth agreed and set about putting a project together with help from the Council. The result was that the proposal was accepted by Europe for grant aid and Haircloth built Europa House and BusinessLodge was born.

Kate Holt, Managing Director said:

“It’s hard to believe that BusinessLodge has played centre stage in the Bury Business community for two decades. It’s been an honour to be part of so many organisations success stories and we love nothing more than seeing our clients thrive.

“It’s always been our key objective to provide a fantastic place to work for both our own staff and our client staff, and we are proud of the community feel we’ve built, as well as our work in the wider Bury area through charity support.”

From the outset, the company committed to offering only the highest standard of facilities, an ethos that continues to this day. BusinessLodge has always been at the forefront of innovation and even 20 years ago heavily invested in installing the internet in every office, something that was largely unheard of back then, indeed many customers didn’t even use it as they were unsure what to use it for. Two decades on, the internet is an key part of the provision, offering resilience of a main line with an automatic failover onto the back up line, essential as the internet is critical to all BusinessLodge clients.

Last year, the centre upgraded it’s cutting edge telephony system designed to enhance the security, reliability and scalability of internal and external communications. The investment came as part of BusinessLodge’s drive to be at the forefront of innovation, fulfilling the requirements of the modern office environment while future proofing it’s services, as more clients demand a digitally transformative way of doing business. The system has been invaluable in the current climate, supporting the changing way people are now working with a mix of home and office bases.

BusinessLodge is home to some of the area’s leading businesses including Easy Crypto Hunter, GB Car Loans, F Parkinson, FM Outsource, Weaveability, Will Writing Partnership and TheBestOfBury, as well as charities including SuperJosh, BABCP and Bury People First. It’s longest standing client is NDTI who have been located at Europa House since 2004. During the pandemic, BusinessLodge has provided training space for NHS Heroes the North West Ambulance service. In total, nearly 90 business are based at the Bury centre, 50 in Stoke and over 60 virtual office clients.

In 2019 the business fulfilled ambitious expansion plans with the opening of new premises in Staffordshire to offer innovative office solutions to Stoke’s growing business community. The new building, Trent House, has been finished to an extremely high spec and offers modern serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and conference facilities, along with catering and relaxation options.

20 years of BusinessLodge

20 years of BusinessLodge

It’s hard to believe it but BusinessLodge is 20 years old this month! You may not realise that BusinessLodge was built as part of a European funding initiative with Bury Council, designed to boost the Borough’s economy – and it’s certainly done that! Have a read of our blog to discover more about how BusinessLodge started.

BusinessLodge is a family business and our parent company is Haircloth Weaving & Finishing Company limited, formed in 1951 as typical Lancastrian weaving business using horsehair to produce fabric used for the interlining in men’s jackets and coats.

The company developed and extended to different types of fabric, including non-woven materials and the use extended to other garments and a variety of other products such as baby buggies – and even to improve the harvesting of bananas in Latin American plantations!


Co-founders Gordon Asquith and Antony Meier

So, how did we get from bananas to business?!

Bury Council had a long-established relationship with Haircloth Ltd and asked for their support in launching several ventures which they wanted to develop within the Borough of Bury.  One was the development of flexible workspace and the Council had received an allocation of European Grant aid towards such a development. Europe had only given them 10 weeks to locate an organisation prepared to build such facilities and to prepare a detailed business case for it – and if they couldn’t do that, the funding would be lost and Bury would be considered less favourably for future European funding.

Initially Haircloth declined to become involved, having no knowledge of the requirements for flexible workspace and felt there was insufficient time to put a detailed project together.  However, the Council urged them to reconsider and, because of the ongoing good relationship, Haircloth agreed and set about putting a project together with help from the Council. The result was that the proposal was accepted by Europe for grant aid and Haircloth built Europa House, its first venture into the business centre world – and BusinessLodge was born.

During the construction period, Haircloth researched the needs of the business centre market by visiting a number of centres in the UK and US along with advice from the recently formed trade body – The Business Centre Association – in the UK.

From the beginning, the decision was taken to offer the highest quality of facilities in the belief that good quality facilities and service would attract great businesses to the building.  This included some pretty revolutionary installations:

  • Installing the Internet for every office. After six months we regretted doing this as virtually none of our clients made any use of it and after 12 months we even started discussing whether we should remove the facility.  How things change and today we couldn’t operate without it – today Bury has a superfast main line with back up line which fails over seamlessly with additional resilience of being in different exchanges, buildings and suppliers.
  • We set up a training room with 12 computers which we believed would help train and familiarise in-house and external clients with the use of IT – something unheard of in the industry at that time.
  • When we opened our car parking space was limited and, as part of ensuring we offered the best facilities to clients, we gradually acquired adjoining land and today we have more than ample car parking for all clients and visitors.

The next phase

With Europa House off to a flying start, we quickly wanted to expand. Imperial house was originally built by Haircloth in the 1970s as a production unit but had subsequently been sold and used by Kodak for printing photographs from photographic film in the pre-digital camera age. At the time Europa House became fully occupied, Imperial House, which had just been comprehensively refurbished became available and so BusinessLodge expanded its serviced office offering into there

With the success of many of our clients who had joined us taking a very small office, the requirement from them for expansion space continued and one of the companies Haircloth had incubated also expanded from Minerva House and Barcroft House to new premises elsewhere in Bury.  This enabled us to expand our serviced office facilities into those two additional buildings.

BusinessLodge today

Today, BusinessLodge is the jewel in Bury’s business centre crown. We’re a thriving community of successful organisations, and there is no denying the warm and welcoming feel to everyone who comes through our doors.

Over the years we’ve added to our facilities to meet the modern business needs, with a professionally equipped gym, eateries and a state-or-the-art phone system.

In 2019, we fulfilled ambitious expansion plans with the opening of new premises in Staffordshire to offer innovative office solutions to Stoke’s growing business community. The new building, Trent House, has been finished to an extremely high spec and offers modern serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and conference facilities, along with catering and relaxation options. We’ve developed a great camaraderie between our two centres and the Stoke team have fitted right in!

We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built and we feel we’ve achieved our objective of creating a great place where people really want to come to work – and businesses thrive.

Here’s to the next 20 years!

#lovewhereyouwork

 

Three surprising ways to make the right first impression to prospect customers.

Three surprising ways to make the right first impression to prospect customers.

We all know that first impressions count – and in business, even more so. The economy is going through tough times and more than ever before, it’s essential that new prospects get the right perception of your business – immediately.

There are three key areas where businesses often fall down when it comes to projecting themselves as a professional outfit – and with our Virtual Office Services, we can help.

The business address: One of the first things a prospect customer is likely to do is check out your website. Not only will this give a valuable insight in to your services, it will mean your prospect can look at where you are based. This is where many businesses fall down – let’s face it, if the address is 4 Wood Street and the google image brings up a 3-bed semi on maps, it’s pretty obvious you are home-based. While this isn’t an issue in itself, first impressions really do count and some businesses may have concerns about it. A business address, on the other hand,  will enhance your professional image online as well as your correspondence and marketing materials. Through the BusinessLodge virtual office service, we will not only provide you with an address, we’ll sort and forward on your mail to you.

The telephone number: Usually, after checking out your website your prospect customer will give you a call. If the only number listed is a mobile, that immediately gives the impression of a smaller, “one man band” type of business. At this point, larger prospects may mentally check out -yet with a geographical landline to call, you are already filling them with confidence that your business is here to stay. All of our virtual office customers are allocated their own number with a local dialing code.

The phone call: The first in person contact is crucial. If your prospect can’t get through, it left on hold or if you pick up when you are clearly in the supermarket – let’s face it, it’s not going to make the best first impression. Our fully trained receptionists can take care of your calls and add a touch of professionalism, answering with your company name and transferring them directly to you.

The telephone service can also include a call forwarding option and we’re able to  offer an additional app to enable the client to make or receive calls using their landline number provided by BusinessLodge – which is proving particularly popular at the moment.

For more info please call 0330 024 9299

Virtual Office client’s testimonial

Virtual Office client’s testimonial

Virtual offices have been growing in popularity over the past few years and are a perfect stepping stone for businesses who want to portray a professional image but are not quite ready to take the leap to a physical office.

Peter at Smile Carpet Cleaning has now been using the BusinessLodge virtual office service for five years.

He says:

“I came to see Kate, the Managing Director at BusinessLodge Bury for a meeting and I could barely get a word in – not because of Kate, I hasten to add – but because my phone wouldn’t stop ringing!

As small business owners know, customer calls need to be answered immediately and the result was a very disrupted meeting.

Kate suggested that we could benefit from a Virtual Office with a call answering service and it was like a light bulb moment. We handed call management to BusinessLodge and we’ve never looked back.

Instead of our answering our customers on the go, when we never had our diaries to hand, the new service was professional, efficient and meant customers never had to leave a message on a voicemail.

This gave them a better customer experience and freed us up to concentrate on our day to day job.

Now we’ve grown our business we have our own office and admin staff, yet we still use BusinessLodge to ensure that every call is answered.

We’re extremely happy with the service we receive.

Thanks, BusinessLodge!”