Mindset: How growing your childcare business builds character

Mindset: How growing your childcare business builds character

We all have moments in our lives when things get frustrating. When things just aren’t happening fast enough and the good times seem a mile off. Is struggle something that builds character?

Sometimes it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees, isn’t it? And given all that’s happened in this bizarre year, I thought now would be a good time to think about why it’s important that while we grow our businesses, we also build our strength. So what can we do to develop our resilience and change our mindset?

This blog post is going to help you see how growing your childcare business builds character and tricky times are a blessing in disguise.

Patience builds character

Right now I’m in the process of trying to open a new daycare center and boy oh boy! It is taking FOREVER! Everything that could’ve been a little awkward has turned out to be a nightmare; and even all the things that should’ve been a walk in the park have given me headaches on the regular.

However, I am constantly having to remind myself that it’s all a learning curve. That it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing this for, I need to seek opportunities to grow and build on what I know. Every time I hit a stone in the road, I have to remind myself that it’s building my patience. I remember that I’m growing my resilience. And each moment adds to the evidence I have for how I thrive to succeed – even when times get tough.

So I am constantly repeating to myself “try and enjoy the journey”. And I wanted to write this to encourage you, too!

Take stock of your resilience

2020 has been quite the year, hasn’t it? Many of us have lost family members, good friends and people in our communities. The situation has brought with it not only health worries but financial uncertainty. So whatever situation you find yourself, I am sending you love from PA. But I’m also sending you a sprinkle of encouragement and a fistful of hope.

Because, while we might not know what’s waiting for us in 2021, and we’re under a veil of un-sureness as to what’s ahead…I don’t want you to feel like there’s nothing to look forward to. I want you to take stock of all the things you’ve achieved this year, despite there being a global pandemic. How safe you’ve made the children in your care feel, and how well you and your team have coped in spite of everything else going on.

resilience-builds-character

Celebrate the positives (yes, even the tiniest ones!)

We’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving here in the US (which totally signals the end of the year is close), so let’s come out and finish 2020 on a high. Let’s look over the last year and list all the positives. What are you thankful for? What has helped you learn and grow as a business owner and how has that helped you build character? Dig deep and really celebrate the positives – notice the silver linings in the mundane everyday things you’ve been doing.

As a childcare business owner, you get to work with amazing families every day, and you’re often one of their most valued experts. You’ve enabled parents to keep sane during this madness, by looking after their babies for a day or two so they can get things done. No matter how stressful it might have been, you and your team have provided a harbor from the storm for those kids you care for.

I know that my situation allowed me to help a family have the happiest day of their lives during the crisis! What positives can you write down? Scribble all the positives into a notebook, or onto post-its, and celebrate with your family and your team. Create a gratitude tree or a thankfulness tree in your home, office, or daycare center. Ask others to contribute!

celebrate the small stuff

Flip the switch

It’s all about mindset. If you continually look for the bad things that have happened and get bogged down in all the negativity, you’re not going to feel good about moving forward. Whereas if you look for the progress markers from this year, seek out the good things that happened and celebrate them, then you’re going into 2021 with a good attitude. You’re showing the universe that you’re ready for anything!

I am sure you’ve seen your business surviving, and possibly thriving (seeing as we are recognized as essential now!), and that’s great. But it’s not just your business that’s growing. Situations like a global pandemic really emphasize how it builds character too.

There are so many hidden blessings, you’ve just got to look for them.

I hope this blog post has brought a smile to your face. These times are tough for many of us, but don’t let that stop you from going out there and bringing your game-face! You’re a Childcare Ninja, after all.

Also, if you liked this, I wonder whether you’ve found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

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Supercharging your childcare staff with their training

Supercharging your childcare staff with their training

By now I’m sure you know that I’m all about nurturing my team to become the best rockstars they can be and that your childcare business deserves. It’s important to keep working with them and developing them so that your business can grow. And to do that, we must supercharge our staff with their training!

So what does training your staff look like at the moment? Are you offering as much professional development as possible to challenge and hone your team? Are you ensuring that your childcare business is ready for a spot-check inspection?

I’m going to give you some ideas for how to make training less of a burden to both you and your team.

Organize your training

In order to make sure all your staff receive the training they’re supposed to, you’ve got to have systems in place. If you don’t someone is going to get missed and that could really cause chaos. By taking some time to plan out all your training sessions and have a tracking system in place, you won’t have to have a mad rush to get someone’s training done if there’s suddenly an inspection.

childcare-ninjas-training-home-laptop

You can keep a paper tracker, or use an online system that you update or send out to staff when they’ve completed their training. Knowing who has got what in terms of staff training will really help you with planning for professional development opportunities for the following year. There’s always gaps in knowledge that need attending to! And in our industry, there are constantly new initiatives and resources to learn about.

Keep staff training simple

This one isn’t just about simplifying things so that you can keep on top of where everyone is at in terms of training…it’s just as important that you simplify things for your team members as well.

Instead of expecting your team to travel to training or stay late after their shift finishes, you can make their lives simpler by booking online options. This way, you’re both free of any obligation to book transportation or accommodation, and they can complete the training in their own home at their leisure.

Virtual training

Doing training virtually will not only simplify things, it’s going to help your budget and your stress levels! It’s much easier to keep track of who’s attended what and you can do so many different trainings online nowadays!

In the past, it used to be really difficult to find good quality, state recognized virtual training programs. But things have moved on so much! Especially in the last year.  However, even before Covid-19 took center stage, many states were offering digital versions of trainings and they made the opportunities for learning more flexible and accessible. So now you can get trained by experts without being physically present and even from the comfort of your own home.

If you do find some excellent training courses online, double check it is eligible for your state requirements. Here in PA we’re still required to do our CPR training in person but there are lots we can do virtually. Luckily, there are now a lot of other online trainings that you can get that are taken into account by inspectors, where they didn’t used to. So make the most of this new revelation and train up your team!

Budgeting for training

When you’re booking in training sessions for your team, try and look for the best value. That doesn’t always mean the least expensive! It’s about getting a balance. The price has to fit, but what are you getting for your dollars? It’s all very well having some cheap online training, but what if it isn’t recognized by your state authorities? That’d be a waste of money. So ensure that you do your research.

I’ve written about budgeting before, and how starting a childcare business doesn’t have to break the bank. Read more about that here.

You must make sure you plan staff training into your annual budget. It’s a must, and you’ve got to keep on top of the game to grow your childcare business. Nobody wants to send their kids to a daycare where the staff are haphazardly trained and where learning isn’t valued. And we’re all learners in childcare aren’t we?! It’s how we stay young and agile!

Train your staff to be childcare rockstars!

I hope this has shown you how to lead your team to become the rock stars they’ve always meant to be! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tactics to share. I’m always keen to develop my leadership skills and continue my own Childcare Ninja journey!

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Before you go, have you found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? We are an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

4 steps to making marketing easy

4 steps to making marketing easy

It’s Marketing Week here at Childcare Ninjas HQ and in my community we’re sharing our ideas and experience. As such, I wanted to take this time to encourage you to make your childcare business marketing more simple. In this blog post, I’m going to reveal some steps you can take that will reduce the stress that marketing often brings! I want to help you in making marketing easy!

I’ve heard new childcare business owners talking about how they complicated their marketing is. So I want to tell you it doesn’t have to be! Read on to find out how…

1. Keep your marketing simple

As childcare business owners, it’s very tempting to try to be in all the places, all the time. But I need you to hear me on this one: you cannot be everywhere AND do a good job at marketing. Not without spending a fortune and hiring someone (which you can eventually, just maybe not right now?).

Spreading yourself too thin is a common mistake that new childcare bosses make, and I want you to know that actually it’s much more effective to focus your energy and time on one or two platforms, rather than trying to juggle four or five of them! If you know that your families hang out on Facebook, then that is where you should be targeting. Whereas if you’ve got a younger client base, perhaps TikTok is where you could focus your energies.

And it’s not just about social media, printing posters and putting them up in local facilities can get you lots of leads too. Read this blog to give you more ideas. But, try to keep it simple: Don’t try to be everywhere!  Do a couple of things really well!!

2. Budget for your marketing

This one is a bit of a no brainer, but if you’re new to childcare ownership is can also feel totally alien. When it comes to marketing, you need to figure out a budget that works for you and your business. It’s vital that you know your budget and can find ways to market your business in a cost effective manner.

After you’ve paid your staff, yourself, and all the bills for your business, what have you got left in your budget? Think about what can you specifically allocate to marketing and still allow a buffer for emergencies. When you’ve worked out your monthly budget, you can work out how you’re going to spend it. Will you be putting money into publishing a local magazine advertisement, paying for social media ads or going old school?

It’s also key that you can look at something you’ve marketed and work out what the return on investment (ROI) was. For example, if you put $50 into some 500 flyers for the local area, how many new clients got in touch – 5? That’s $10 per lead. How can you improve that?childcare-business-making-marketing-easy

3. Plan your marketing

Putting a plan in place means that any marketing you do will be more likely to have an impact. It will give you a clear map of how you want to market your childcare business and also act as a compass for the purpose and direction of your marketing. Without a plan, you’re just shouting ineffectively into the wind and it’s a waste of your time and energy!

So make a plan. What are you marketing? To whom? Why? Where will you market it? How? When? Don’t be afraid to break it down into bitesize chunks so it feels more manageable. You got this, Ninja!

4. Schedule and implement your plan

Once you’ve laid out your plans, you’re going to have to block out the time you need to take action. Set yourself some deadlines, and start to put together a timeline. Where are you going to start? What is your sales funnel leading them towards?

planning opening your first home childcare

If you can automate and schedule your marketing content, I’d highly recommend doing so! Since I began using systems and scheduling software for my marketing, I’ve managed to claw back some precious time and can focus on the things I love doing – which is supporting childcare business owners to become ninjas in what they do! Oh and of course, being a childcare boss myself and looking out for my team and the families we serve.

So I encourage you to get focused on what you need to do and when and make it as easy as possible by scheduling! And now get implementing! Go, Ninja, go!

When you follow these 4 simple steps, you’re going to start seeing your hard work pay off!

What gives you a headache when it comes to marketing? Have you tried breaking it down into baby steps? I hope this blog has helped you realize marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. I’d love to help you get clearer on this. Leave a comment or head to the Childcare Ninja Facebook group to discuss how to make marketing your childcare business as simple as pie.  Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!

While you’re here, are you in the Childcare Ninja membership yet? We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!  It’s full of exclusive resources and support to help you grow your Childcare Business.

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Fabulous Finances: Money Myths in Childcare Business

Fabulous Finances: Money Myths in Childcare Business

During last decade – and beyond – I’ve heard countless money myths being waved around as reasons for hesitation when it comes to taking a step into owning your own childcare business. And while some of the rumors might be a hangover from days gone by, most of them are just factually incorrect and are certainly nothing I’ve ever witnessed.

There’s only so much time to write these blogs and you’ve not got all day to read them, have you?! So in this post, I’m busting three of the myths that keep popping up in Childcare Ninja conversations. Read on if you’d like to find out why you need to ignore the money myths and listen to your heart!

Money Myth 1: Expensive to get going

Not true! There are tonnes of ways you can start your childcare business on a budget. I’ve written a few blogs on this, but it is possible to start a wildly successful childcare business with limited financial backing. I know because I’ve done it! Cut back on expenses – do you need those subscriptions or the organic food? Could you strip it back to the bare minimum temporarily until your profits start coming in?

Look into ways of getting more knowledgeable that don’t involve spending money or spreading the cost between yourself and other childcare facilities. Sign up to mailing lists and free trainings and teachings around legislation and regulations.

Setting up your childcare business doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing childcare business to get going. I think the phrase is “done is better than perfect”. Don’t let fear of getting started put you off.

Money Myth 2: Childcare owners can’t make a profit

This one always makes me laugh, because my business is testament to the fact that you most certainly can make a profit! Don’t be intimidated by the money talk around childcare. A lot of the chatter is around the issue that our industry is not valued by many in our society, despite us being a lifeline to families. The recent pandemic highlighted how essential we are (which we all knew!). But the debate as to whether we’re profitable is nonsense.

You can have a successful childcare business that brings in a profit. It takes hard work, effort and planning, but it is definitely achievable. I’m working with a number of childcare business owners – my Childcare Ninjas! – helping them scale up and grow their businesses to become even more profitable.

Money Myth 3: Hard to keep up

Funnily enough, this money myth is a teensy bit true. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with changing policies and legislation. I could probably dedicate an entire year to reading documents and keeping up with current practice. And of course all the regulations are essential so we have to keep on top of it all.

However, when you’re savvy and have a great team around you, you can split the training sessions between you and share the knowledge when you get back. You can sign up to emails that will keep you up to date, and you can join networks with other childcare businesses. There’s also a great Facebook group I’ve heard about, for Childcare Ninjas like you 😉

Tips for battling the money myths

Over the years I’ve been running my own childcare business, I’ve discovered some ways that you can combat the money myths out there! Here are a few tips to help you on your childcare business journey.

Firstly, surround yourself with encouragers and people who support your dreams. It’s so much easier when you’ve got like-minded people giving you motivation and rallying around you. It’s also important that you can trust them and know that they have faith in your abilities. There’s nothing worse than constantly having to second guess yourself because of negative comments about things that you didn’t ask for an opinion on.

Be wise with your money

Second, y’all know I love systematizing, so you won’t be surprised to hear me say this! So here goes: Get yourself some systems that help you manage your business better. This will save you time and money to invest elsewhere in your childcare business. When you’re more organized and things are streamlined, you can budget better.

Next, I’d like to encourage you to invest in yourself. With the savings you make on time and with budgeting better via systems, you should put that towards bettering yourself. Learning never goes out of fashion! And educating yourself and self development is never a waste of money. Whether that’s additional childcare training or a business diploma, the decision to prioritize YOU as a business owner is pivotal to your success!

My last tip is that you get help with finance. I’m not talking about loans and borrowing money (although if you’re going to do that, make sure it’s ethical and in your best interests! Steer clear of sharks). No, I mean getting your head straight when it comes to finance. Take time to get some money mindset coaching, and another idea is to learn how to do your own accounts.

I hope you’ve found this blog super helpful. If you have, share it with a friend!

Also, if you appreciated the tips in this post, there are plenty more over ideas and inspiration over in the Childcare Ninja Facebook group! We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

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Planning for emergencies: How to handle pressure in your childcare business

Planning for emergencies: How to handle pressure in your childcare business

Those of us who’ve been in the childcare industry for a while will be well-acquainted with the frequency of emergency situations that occur for us on a weekly basis! However, we still struggle to cover ourselves for every eventuality. So what can we do to improve our ability to handle pressure? How can we relieve some of the stress we feel when it comes to dealing with the situations we face?

In my decades of experience in handling pressure, I’ve learned from all my mistakes so you don’t have to! Let me share with you some things that keep me cool calm and collected – even when the pressure gauge rises to the max.

Keeping up appearances

As for how we handle things that are thrown our way, we’re somewhat different from other industries. This is because a) there’s kids involved, and b) we can’t just drop everything when we’re faced with an emergency. We’re expected to keep up appearances while handling situations. We’ve got our businesses to represent, after all!

So when an emergency situation pops up, we have to maintain a level of professionalism that people in other industries can let slide. And that can be tough when you’re under pressure.

This week I’m focusing on dealing with the pressures we may have when an incident arises, such as kids needing first aid, but handling that in a professional manner and still being able to help deal with the issue, but also keep all the other kids safe.

Don’t panic!

The last thing you want to do is panic in an emergency, because your concern will cause a ripple effect. First, your staff will freak out and then the children in your care. Neither of these potential disasters is ideal! So, what you need to consider is what will keep you calm and how you can maintain a sense of serenity that the others will pick up on.

It’s really important we stay calm whenever we’re facing a tricky situation. And remaining calm is altogether much simpler when you’re planned and prepared.

Always have a plan to handle pressure

We all know how much I love planning, right?! I can’t emphasize enough how vital it is to plan – in detail – every little part of our businesses. But it’s even more important to ensure that we’ve got plans for emergency situations.

Take time out at the beginning of setting up your business to plan out how you (and your team if you’ve got one yet) will deal with situations that are likely to arise. Really look closely at various possibilities and figure out how you’ll handle them.

It’s a good idea to start putting plans together as soon as you can, so that you’re able to handle the pressures of childcare ownership when circumstances come to challenge you.

Roles and responsibilities

One part of planning out how you’ll deal with emergencies is looking at what role each member of the team would be allocated. Someone needs to be in charge of dialing 911, another can take responsibility for a head count of the kids. Another role might be keeping the kids calm and distracting them from any upsetting situations. 

Making sure each team member has set roles for these worst case scenarios is an essential part of your planning.  Do you regularly update the responsibilities, bearing in mind that your children will change over time, your plans also need to be adjusted accordingly.

Does every member of your team know what role they play in an emergency?

Plan ahead of time

This is all about being preemptive and proactive. It’s a key part of planning for emergencies! Take action before a situation arises.  Get a break down laid out for every potential challenge. And plan well ahead so that you’re not side-swiped by things.

That’s a key thing, to get steps and protocol all organized so that everyone knows what to do if and when something happens.

Much of how we handle the pressure of a developing disaster often depends on whether or not we’ve taken that time right at the beginning to plan out how we’ll address situations and emergencies. And whether our staff are well-informed and aware of their roles.

How they can handle pressure when you’re not there

These steps will also empower your team, because there might be the odd occasion when you’re not in the building to get them ship-shape. But you still need them to know what they’ve got to do and how they’re going to handle the situation.

And because you may not always be there when the situation happens, it’s a good idea to have things written out and accessible so that your team can reacquaint themselves with their roles whenever they feel like they need a refresher.

Ask your team: Do you know what to do if we had an emergency?

Happy emergencies

It’s also worth remembering that emergency situations aren’t always negative. It’s not all doom and gloom! Occasionally we come across a situation that can be exciting in a positive way too.

Recently, me and the team were faced with just this kind of emergency! A member of my staff team went into labour a little earlier than we had anticipated. However, because I’d taken the time to plan out how we would cope, and because we’d had a run through early enough, when this actually happened we were more prepared for it!

It wasn’t nearly as stressful because we actually had plans in place! We were able to handle the situation calmly and with grace! Things just ran so much smoother. The team came together so well!

I know I like to talk about it all the time, but there’s a reason for that! I totally believe in empowering your staff and making them rockstars in your business. Yes, I truly do believe that. So I urge you to build a team that feels like family!

babysitter childcare events and weddings passion into action

Time to take action…

When are you going to make a start on crisis planning? Now you know how to handle pressure well in your childcare business, it’s time to take action!

Let me know when you’ve implemented some emergency planning protocols and had some team training to sort out roles. Leave a comment or head to the Childcare Ninja Facebook group to chat about your plans and how you handle the pressures that come with being a childcare business owner.  Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!

In case you were wondering, there are even more resources and ideas for being a childcare owner over in my Childcare Ninja membership – are you in there yet? We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!  It’s full of exclusive materials and support to help you grow your Childcare Business.

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