Worried that you’re being awkward and finding sales super hard? Well stop worrying! We’ve all been there! Running a childcare business means our skills lie in caring for children – all the other stuff is a steep learning curve.
However, to make our childcare businesses successful, we’ve got to figure out how to make our awkward work for us. It’s a journey you need to go on to gain clients and build your business so it’s sustainable and profitable.
None of this comes naturally to me either, but I’ve been in the game long enough to know what works for me. I’ve got three strategies I’m going to share with you here. I hope they’ll help you go from being awkward to awesome.
1. Get over it!
Honestly. Sorry to be so blunt, but no one likes selling. Nope. No one. It’s super awkward asking people to buy your service and to shine a light on what you do better than others. It feels unnatural to us. But I learned pretty fast that the only way I was going to gain new clients was to put on a mask (no, not the Spiderman or Mardi Gras type!). I smiled and channeled my inner Queen. Essentially, I put on a show. I was acting. But d’ya know what? When I started my day like this, I started to believe that I was successful and I oozed confidence. People buy into that.
You’ve got to be seen to be successful. I’m not suggesting you lie about your business. I am saying you sort of need to trick yourself into believing that you’re good at selling. Put post-its around the bathroom mirror with affirmations on. Try these ones:
2. Shine a light on your uniqueness
Take your uniqueness and shine a spotlight on it! Think about what makes your childcare special. What makes it stand out from the rest? Is it the decor? Is it the themes you explore? Or perhaps you’ve got a background in something quirky that you bring to your business. Whatever it is, don’t hide that treasure away in the dark. Get it out in the spotlight and really make the most of what you’ve got.
When I first started my business, what made me totally different from other childcares in the community was that I offered 24/7 care. I was doing night times and weekends when others focused on daylight services only. And that’s not going to be for everyone, but there were people in the community (and from miles away actually!) who had been looking for someone like me to care for their babies. To them it was like a dream come true when they heard I was opening.
So get clear on what you’re offering and tell the world about it!
3. Shout about your story
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: shout about your story from the rooftop! People buy from people, and they want to know all about you. They want to know what makes you tick. Your business needs storytelling and it is so important that you bring the personal to your profession! There’s tons of evidence to show that sharing your story helps your business grow. Why? Because it will chime with families and they’ll find that they want to support your business.
Your story will inspire people. And by telling your story, you’ll be giving other people hope. You’ll bring hope to families who are struggling or maybe another business owner will be inspired to keep on pushing forward. It’s going to demonstrate to your customers how much you want to be in this business and how much passion and drive you have. It will show them how much caring for children in your neighborhood means to you – which will lead to sales!
You can read more about the importance of telling your story in this blog.
See? Sales don’t have to be awkward.
You just need to figure out what makes your childcare business unique and talk more about your back story.
Put on a smile, get out there and tell people about what you do and why you’re so awesome.
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!
As childcare business owners it is super important that we promote our businesses all the time. We are the business! So we need to learn how to put ourselves and our businesses into the spotlight. This will bring you all the success you’ve been dreaming of.
So how do you get the word out to the neighborhood about your brand new childcare business? What’s the best way to reach the entire community and get a buzz going before you’ve even opened your doors?
Here are 3 tips on how to spotlight for success in your new childcare business:
1. Start sharing before you open
Before you’ve got clients and before you’re anywhere near ready to open the doors to your new childcare business, you need to start spreading the word. You want to build up a buzz. Get people having conversations about your new business.
Talk about your exciting new challenge and share your journey. This is where social media is brilliant. Put up posts saying “Coming Soon” and share some details about what it is you’re doing – highlight the unique and the memorable. Generate some interest through your social network.
When you go to pick up your own children from school, make time to chat to parents and teachers about your new business venture. They’ll take an interest because they know you, and they’ll spread the word for you without any effort.
If you can, get your logo and contact details put on your car. I had mine put on our minivan, and I’d get leads from people who’d seen it parked at the mall, or when it was outside the church. It’s all about visibility! Think outside the box to shine a spotlight on your new biz.
2. Build rapport
It’s time to really put some effort into building rapport with other businesses. These relationships are crucial to building a successful childcare business. Not only do you want to be developing connections with schools, you should reach out to other childcare providers. There’s room for everyone. Do this by sharing your resources – maybe you’ve found a cool website or printables they might find helpful? You can help each other out by offering to send people their way when you’re full (or the client is not a good fit for you) and vice versa.
It’s not only educators that you should build a rapport with. Think about those businesses in the neighborhood who work with parents and families. Stores, libraries, bus drivers…How can you connect with them?
A great personal example is one of my neighbors. He is in real estate. We’re not friends, just acquaintances, but because he’s seen me out and about with my daycare kids, he knows I’m good at what I do. So, when he shows a new family around, he mentions my services. I never asked him to do this, but whenever we’ve met on the street I’m always polite and ask how he and his family are. These personal recommendations are vital!
3. Don’t sleep the old school
Just because we’re in a digital age, doesn’t mean you should only focus on online spotlighting! Don’t discount the old school strategies of promo. There’s a lot to be said for putting a flyer through your neighborhood doors! It reaches the grandparents and elderly relatives who will then pass on the news about your new childcare business opening to their family members who might be in need of help. Social media doesn’t reach this generation, so going door to door, having conversations and sharing the news is a great way of spreading the word!
You can take out adverts or write short articles for your community newsletter or local newspaper. You’ll be surprised how effective this can be. And don’t forget that having business cards is still a thing! They’re cheap to have made and super easy to leave in places that people will see them. I’ve lost count of the number of families who’ve picked up my cards in the bank or at the grocery store and given me a call!
I hope these strategies will help you take action and you’ll now go out and spread the word about your brand new childcare business!
The world needs what you’ve got to offer.
Don’t shy away from the spotlight!
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! The content you’ll have at your fingertips is unique to childcare businesses, because I was tired of joining groups for advice, but finding it irrelevant to my needs. So here we are! A one-stop shop for Childcare Ninjas!
Have you taken my Childcare Ninja quiz yet? And don’t forget that I also have a free Facebook community for childcare providers. Check it out here.
No one wants to send their children to cookie-cutter childcare. Why? Because they’re like little factories and won’t value their kids as individuals. Parents want to feel like their kids are being left with adults who care. Who notice their quirks and love them for it! And that’s what we as Childcare Ninjas need to offer – uniqueness!
But have you taken the time to consider what makes your business unique? And why should you be shouting it out from the rooftops?
This is your chance to sit down with a cup of coffee and really contemplate the uniqueness of your childcare business.
What’s so special about you and your childcare business?
Take some time to note down your strengths as a childcare owner, and what makes you tick. Is it your Masters in child psychology or the way you were raised by an amazing foster mom that inspired you to go into childcare?
Have you got particular skills that make you stand out from the crowd? Perhaps you did Performing Arts at college, or you were once on America’s Got Talent? Or maybe it’s that you were the youngest of 9 siblings and you are the queen of negotiation!
Whatever you bring to your business, make it more obvious. Shine a light on you and why you’re so special.
And when it comes to the business side of things, what is unique about yours? Do your daycare centers have a theme? Maybe you have a Forest School specialty or a world class chef working for you, or you follow a particular educational theory – Reggio Emilia or Steiner?
If you want to survive, be you but be different!
I take pride in the fact that my childcare businesses reflect who I am as a person. And they are unique to me because they go against the grain. I’m not your average business owner, and I want my customers to know that. The reason I’ve lasted so long and been able to survive during economically turbulent times is because I am offering something different to the generic childcare provision seen elsewhere.
So wave your flag wildly, and be the change you want to see. What do you want to be remembered for by the families you work with? You can use customer feedback to help hone this message. Look for why they came to you and really “big-up” that element in all your promotional material.
How unique do you need to be?
Well that’s like asking me, “Hey Nyckie – how long is a piece of string?” If I am totally honest – which I always am! – I’d say you can be as unique as you wanna be.
One thing is for sure: People buy from people. So if you want to make an impression, and build a reputation for being a great childcare provider, the buck stops with you and the relationships you build with your clients. Be unique in your interactions. Show them love and attention and make them feel special. But whatever you do, don’t mimic others. Be authentically you. You’ll shine and they’ll feel valued.
If you’re keen to become a Childcare Ninja and want to join our community find out more here. There’s also the free Facebook group where you can connect with other amazing women and share ideas. Join us for more tips on how to take your childcare business to the next level!