Portal Business Centres
Office Solutions for Growing Businesses

Director Steve shaping up for the Chester Marathon!

This year, we are delighted to be working with Claire House as our official charity. The partnership came about when we opened our third centre in Ellesmere Port earlier this year. We wanted to work with a local charity to help fund raise, and Claire House was the amazing charity we decided to go with. Offering  respite and end of life care to children and their families, Claire House provides outstanding care and services to families when they need it most. Along with fundraising whenever we hold events within the centre, we were also looking for a special team member who would go the extra mile for us …. step up Steve! Steve Maskrey is a director here at Portal, and selflessly (or madly!) offered to run the Chester Marathon on 8th October. He is currently training hard, running in this awful weather, and putting one foot in front of the other to help raise money for this amazing cause. Claire House doesn’t receive Government funding so every single penny really does help. Please, please give what you can – in this charity’s case, every single pound raised goes to help making a very ill child and their families lives that little bit more bearable. Thank you.

Join us for Fruit Cake Friday in Ellesmere Port

Our successful networking event, Fruit Cake Friday, is taking place at our Bridgewater House, Ellesmere Port centre on Friday 15th September. The event starts at 12 noon with some open networking over a light lunch, followed by a guest speaker, and then there is additional  opportunity for more networking before the event closes at 2pm. It is free to attend however places are limited so please click here to book your place today.

How Serviced Offices Can Save You Up To 40%

One question we often get asking in the serviced office industry is this – how can it save me money? It can. Not only can you save, you can save a massive 40% of your office related costs simply by using a serviced office.

 

In today’s changing marketplace, time, money and effort are the three key components to driving a successful business. Serviced offices are a flexible, cost effective and convenient alternative to conventional space representing a way to optimise these three elements simultaneously and gain considerable cost savings.

 

Remove the set up fees of stamp duty and solicitor’s fees inherent in traditional leases, include investment savings on furnishings, meeting rooms and communal space, and you are off to a head start. A professional team managing the general facilities, cleaning, security, greeting your visitors, answering your calls, negotiating the best utility rates (including those dreaded business rates) give further reductions and also save on valuable management time, recruitment and retention issues.

 
Factor in the flexible managed broadband delivery allowing you to upgrade as your needs arise, add the variety of VoIP telephony options including home or distant working along with premium support and you are romping ahead with the savings.

 
As a quick comparison you might like to know that a two person office, including phone and broadband, would cost a third of employing one receptionist.

 
Hopefully this has highlighted some of the genuine benefits of using a serviced office. You are not obliged to hold or invest in substantial assets, you can change your size according to your growth rate and most importantly free your precious time to running and developing your own business eliminating the hassles of facilities management. At Portal, this is what we do. To find out more, simply contact the team today using the Contact Us tab above.

Fruit Cake Friday is back!

Portal Business Centres’ popular networking event, Fruit Cake Friday, is returning to Dallam Court, Warrington on Friday 8th September. This event brings together a strong mix of local businesses and an opportunity to network with like minded companies. The event is free to attend and a light lunch is provided. Spaces are limited however, so please click here to book your free place via Eventbrite.

 

Our guest speaker in September is Tracey Carter from Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service. The event starts at 12noon and closes at 2pm. If you have any questions regarding this, or any of our Fruit Cake Friday events, please get in touch via the Contact Us page. We look forward to seeing you on the 8th!

Portal Celebrates 25 Years in Business

In the early 90’s, the concept of serviced office space was relatively unknown. In fact, it was a concept that Sallie Maskrey, Director, Portal Business Centres, had never even heard of, let alone thought about getting involved in. Sallie, and her husband Steve, owned a small property in Priestley Street, Warrington, which was lying empty after the sale and relocation of another business. Following a trip to Edinburgh where Steve visited a business centre that had just opened, he believed that this was a business idea that Sallie could make work – and Portal Business Centres was born right there in Priestley Street.

 
Today, if someone wants to find serviced office space they head for straight for Google, and online brokers will lead them to what they are looking for. 25 years ago there were no online agents and no Google, so Portal had to rely on growing the business through more traditional methods of advertising, forging relationships with local commercial agents and word of mouth.

 
“It was an exciting time and it was a challenging time,” commented Sallie Maskrey, Director, Portal Business Centres. “The idea of renting a small office and having use of communal facilities was new at the time, so you have the double challenge of finding potential clients, and also getting them on board with the idea of taking space with you.”
However, the business continued to grow, and soon outgrew the Priestley Street premises. Bob McLaughlin from RAM Properties, whom Sallie had worked with in the past, had recently acquired Tannery Court, and Portal moved in there. A mere 18 months later, and the business outgrew its new premises, so moved into its current home at Dallam Court in 1996.

 
Portal Business Centres now has over 40 clients at its Dallam Court centre. In 2011 the company opened a second centre in Bromborough on the Wirral, and in March of this year added a third centre, Bridgewater House in Ellesmere Port.

 
“The business has changed dramatically since we started out all those years ago,” said Sallie. “ There is so much more competition, that you have to look beyond the bricks and mortar to determine what your clients want from your centre. We offer more complementary facilities such as a variety of meeting rooms and concierge services. All clients are treated as the individual businesses that they are and we tailor a bespoke package for each client. We have tried to produce a “menu” of amenities allowing clients to be selective with what they need, and to reassess their requirements as the business grows and develops within the centre. We continually review what we offer to ensure clients are receiving the most up to date services available, all at affordable prices.

 

 

There are other elements that set your business aside from others, and one of those key elements is staff. I am incredibly lucky that one of our receptionists, Maz Steele, has been with the business since day one. Other members of staff have been here for ten years plus, and I am very grateful and proud to have such a loyal staff – they are the face of Portal Business Centres,” continued Sallie. “Supporting your own local business community is paramount, and we are committed to and passionate about working with local companies and suppliers. We even run our own free monthly networking event, Fruit Cake Friday, to try and encourage other local businesses within the area to interact with each other.”

 
From coming into the business knowing nothing about it, Sallie has evolved into one of the most renowned independent operators in the country. She has been a member of the Business Centre Association for over 20 years and has not only served on the board twice, but has also served as Ambassador for the Regions, and sits on a focus group for Independents and Small Groups.

 
So having come this far in 25 years, what are Portal Business Centres’ plans for the future? “To grow the business and the brand,” states Sallie. “ I’ve learned an incredible amount over the last 25 years, and I know that if we carry on listening to what our clients want and offer the best possible quality customer service for them, then this is achievable,” continued Sallie.

 
“The market is changing and we have to change with it. The internet has altered the way that people do business, and many more people are working from home than ever before. We offer a range of virtual services to support these small businesses, from mailing addresses and telephone answering services to holiday cover. Flexible working also means that companies are listening more to the needs of their employees, and we’ve seen a rise in the demand for shared office space, hot desking and co-working facilities. You can’t stand still – you must embrace change, and always be aware that no matter how good you think you are, you can always improve on what you do,” finished Sallie.

Behind the Scenes – Meet our Team

Yvonne Crolla is our Marketing Manager, and is responsible for the marketing activity across all three of our centres – Dallam Court in Warrington, Bridgewater House in Ellesmere Port and Thursby House in Bromborough.

“I joined Portal back in 2012. Prior to joining my background was mainly in the automotive industry so this was something of a diverse change! My job is ensuring that the company is marketing itself effectively and that we are adhering to our own brand guidelines, portraying the company in the best possible way and keeping the centres full! The industry and the routes to market are constantly changing – the rise of the internet and social media means that traditional marketing mediums are almost redundant, so we need to ensure that we stay ahead of the game and keep up to date with the latest trends.

In my spare time, I am a true family girl, and love spending time with my husband and children, and my family up in Scotland. We love to travel in our motorhome, especially through France and Spain. I am a keen runner and recently completed my first Tough Mudder which was quite a challenge! I love to cook and enjoy a good bottle of wine.

I absolutely love singing but am beyond terrible. My husband bought me a karaoke machine a few years ago and I have spent many a wine-fuelled night with friends, belting out some classics, until my children intervene and beg me to stop! My husband also got me into Spandau Ballet, and a few years ago Tony Hadley was singing at a charity event we attended. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I ended up on stage singing Gold with him! I think he turned the mic off ….”

Thanks Yvonne! Let’s make sure our next team night out does not involve a karaoke bar!

 

Behind the Scenes – Meet our Team!

Karen Portbury is our Assistant Centre Manager at Bridgewater House in Ellesmere Port. Responsible for the day to day running of the centre, Karen is the “face” of Bridgewater House and the first point of contact for tenants in the centre.

“I originally joined Portal back in 2012, when I worked as a receptionist at the Thursby House centre. I left the company in 2016 to take up a full time role in residential lettings, however I was delighted when the opportunity arose to return to the company in this new exciting role. Both my experience of being a receptionist at Thursby House, and my time in residential lettings has allowed me to take to this position and make it a success, and I’m excited to see how the role will grow and develop as the centre grows.

Out of work I am a true family girl, and I love spending time with my 20-something son (I know, I don’t look nearly old enough!). I also help support my sister in looking after my mum, and we like to spend time together having some great family weekends caravanning, eating good food and sharing a bottle of wine. I also love to shop and party with my friends, and I am a massive Take That fan – if there is a Take That concert happening, I’m there! I’m also known to be a little mischievous. When I was nine, I decided to drive a milk float down my road, crashing it into a wall!”

 

Behind the Scenes – Meet our Team!

 

Lisa is the newest addition to the Portal team, having recently joined us as Sales Manager, overseeing sales at Dallam Court in Warrington and Bridgewater House in Ellesmere Port.

“As Sales Manager I am responsible for sales of all of our products and services across my two centres, and also working with my colleagues at all of our centres to support the business in any way that I can. My background is in lettings, both commercial and residential, and I have previously managed a number of business centres. I’m not a traditional “hard” salesperson, I believe that you should only sell someone something that is right for them. That way, you are far more likely to retain them long term as a client, plus I believe that trust in a selling relationship is paramount, and you will only earn that trust by listening to their needs and selling them only what is absolutely right for them.

When I’m not in work, I love walking my little Westie in Delamere Forest and I also love mountain biking through the forest trails of the UK. Camping with the kids is also a favourite pastime, and I believe in pushing myself out of my comfort zone – in the near future I plan to learn to ride a motorbike, and I also want to overcome my fear of being underwater and learn to dive.

Many years ago, I tried climbed on the stage with Doctor and the Medics when they were singing Spirit in the Sky at a ball in London – they weren’t very impressed!”

Thanks Lisa! Check back in soon to hear from the next member of our great Portal team!

Join us at our Business Networking Expo – Celebrating 25 Years in Business!

Portal Business Centres is delighted to be celebrating 25 years in business this year. To mark this milestone, we are holding a networking business expo event at our new centre, Bridgewater House in Ellesmere Port on Friday 21st July from 10am-1pm. The event is open to any local business and will feature a range of companies showcasing what they do, along with ample opportunity to network with other like minded people! Lexus Chester will also be offering test drives on the day, if you wish to take the opportunity to do so, please remember to bring your driving licence! The event is free to attend, all we are asking for is a small donation to Claire House which is our nominated charity for this year. So please join us on Friday and help us celebrate whilst networking, enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of birthday cake!

Please book onto the event using the Eventbrite link below, and if you believe this would be of interest to any of your contacts, please feel free to circulate the link.

Hope to see you there!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/portal-business-centres-25th-birthday-business-expo-tickets-35782731112

Behind the Scenes …. Meet our Team!

Jo Wiggins  is the Centre Manager at our Thursby House centre in Bromborough on the Wirral, and has been with the company for over six years.

“As the Centre Manager, it is my responsibility to oversee the day to day operations of the centre, ensuring that we stay safe and profitable. I also manage the sales side of the business and manage the other teams within the centre, including reception and cleaning. I was drawn to this role as I have a genuine interest in the clients that we have here in the centre, and their businesses. It is an integral part of the role to immerse yourself in the clients needs and ensuring that we meet them – which can be quite a challenge when you have multiple business all operating in completely different fields within the centre!

When I’m not in Portal, I enjoy karaoke, and I once sang Buffalo Soldier with a reggae band in Mexico. I can also get star struck, and announced to everyone in a restaurant once that Liza Minnelli was across the road outside Harrods (it wasn’t her). I also enjoy walking my gorgeous Wheaten Terrier Poppy,  taking my 14 year old daughter shopping,  and dancing around the living room with my husband after a few glasses of bubbly, finding old tunes on You Tube!”

Hmmm …. sometimes we shoudn’t ask these questions! Thanks Jo!

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t: 01925 445656
   Warrington
t: 0151 346 2266
   Ellesmere Port
t: 0151 346 2000
   Bromborough
e: info@portal businesscentres.co.uk