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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
When it comes to leadership in your childcare business, it’s really important that you let your team see you leading through service. You’re not just a body in an office, sending them instructions, you’re a human being who cares and wants their team to feel that.
But what does this sort of leadership really look like?
As someone who’s been leading like this for a long time, I wanted to share with you some ideas – about developing your leadership and building your team – that have worked well for me. So read on if you want to help your staff be the best they can be, while also growing your childcare business into the successful, profitable enterprise it deserves to be.
Let’s get started…
Serving your team through leadership
The idea behind this style of leadership is that by serving your team, you’re demonstrating that you care. You’re helping them become the most efficient and effective members of the crew, and that benefits everyone. They want to see you leading in an inclusive and honest way. So give them what they want! Set up systems that welcome their ideas and contributions.
As a leader in the community, don’t pull up the ladder on your way up, pull your team up with you as you grow. Show them that they too can be leaders.
I’m not talking about the displays (y’all know that is important!) because today’s focus is on leadership. But part of this is creating an environment where everyone who works there feels valued, seen and cared for. They want to feel supported by you and their colleagues. Be a role model. If you’re having a hard time, share your struggles (I mean, don’t over share, right?!) so they can watch and learn how to be resilient and handle challenges with grace as I’m sure you do by now.
In my childcare businesses, I’m proud of the fact that my team are pretty much part of my family. We spend so much time together that we support each other through thick and thin. When we have issues, we talk it out instead of muttering under our breath or getting frustrated bottling it all up. All of this is leadership.
Be there for them
A bit like the song in F.R.I.E.N.D.S., demonstrate that you’re always there to support your team. Make sure your communication is tight, so they know if they’ve got a problem, they can come straight to you. There’s nothing worse than when a member of the team doesn’t feel they can ask a question or bring up something that has happened. It brews resentment from both sides. And that’s not good for business.
You want the team to rally round you and your business, so rally round them. Build their loyalty and trust. Talk to them openly about your expectations, and be clear with your boundaries. And don’t be afraid to be human with them. It shows strength in your leadership.
This is a great opportunity for you to show that you respect and value your team. Put an end to meetings for meetings sake. There’s really no need. Fitting in whole team meetings is so tough when you’ve got multiple shift patterns to negotiate. Often the only day that suits some is a Saturday (unless, like me, your business is 24/7…) and that’s a lot to ask your employees, to give up their free time to come into work and sit through a meeting, only to have to go home again.
So why not move them online? We have the technology! Let’s make the most of it! Moving your staff meetings to Zoom or Teams or another platform allows you to conduct meetings and give some flexibility and freedom to your team. By demonstrating courtesy and showing them understanding in your leadership, you’ll build trust. Let them join from wherever they happen to be – comfort of their own home, a cafe, a resources room at the library.
Another plus of online meetings is that you can record them. So if a team member can’t make it – not only do you have a record of who attended – they can catch up on what they missed and your team have the opportunity to re-watch if they want to. Recordings also double up as evidence to show inspectors or any other interested bodies that you have great communication with your staff.
Obviously when it comes to staff training, wherever you are in the world, there’ll be some mandatory guidance around training or qualifications for your staff. Those are not what I’m addressing here, what I want to highlight is that technology has given us another gem for staff training. All of our childcare settings have different specifications and as business owners we want things a certain way.
We often spend a long time figuring out how we’re going to to train up new staff, give them a tour of the day care center, an induction training of what you expect and so on…it can be arduous. But it doesn’t have to be. One of the ways I’ve saved time and energy is by creating welcome training videos set for new team members. I can then use these until they need updating with every person who joins us.
In practical terms, this is essentially me giving the new member a guided tour via video. I’m showing them where things are kept, how displays work, what belongs in each room, checks they need to do each day, and how certain things work. It can be as comprehensive as you like, but this sends a clear message to new staff: she means business.
Create an environment that helps your team thrive.
They’ll become more efficient, effective and they’ll see you role modelling excellent leadership by caring for them. As such, you’ll notice them growing more loyal and that’s how you’ll grow a successful business. They’ll be invested in their future, knowing that you’ve got their backs, so long as they’ve got yours too.
Hopefully some of these will resonate with you and you’ll be nodding along! Was there anything I missed in terms of leadership? Let me know! I’m always learning, even after this long in the game!
If you want to read more about stepping into being the boss, you can read this blog. Or join us over in the Childcare Ninja Facebook group, come and say hi! We’d love to welcome you into the space and find out how you’re getting on.
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! If you’re 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.
In the crazy world of running a childcare business, it can be really tricky to strike a balance between work and family. Even after such a long time owning my daycare centers, I sometimes get caught up in work-mode and drop the ball on the family side. It can feel like my business is my life. But it’s so important that we try to find a balance between running our businesses and spending time with our families.
So how do I do it? What’s the secret to harmonious balance between these two worlds?
These are my three balance bringing tips that will change your life as a business owner:
Balance by setting boundaries
This is something most business owners struggle with. Do you find yourself cutting back on family time constantly? Maybe checking emails on your cell phone at the dinner table, rushing the kids’ bedtime stories so you can get back to that blog you need to finish, or finding that you’re replying to staff messages late into the night?
Enough is enough. You can’t carry on working like that! You’re on the highway straight to the burnout zone. Trust me! And you don’t want to miss out on precious family time. Kids grow up and neglected partners grow apart. Your business will still be there in the morning.
So set some boundaries! Leave work at a reasonable time and set a good example to your staff. Allow yourself a set period for email checking and replying to clients. Do the same for your team members. Then put your phone / laptop / iPad away!
Another boundary issue we have is saying no. We’re super women, right? We want everyone to know how awesome we are! I get it. I do, I really do. But you also need balance in your life and by saying yes to every Tom, Dick and Harry who asks a favor, or to pick your brain, you’re missing out on time with your loved ones. So you need to get better at saying no. Turn down invites that don’t light you up; don’t feel guilty about the shop bought baked goods for the sale at school; and say yes to the things and people you love!
Set some goals for finding balance
After you’ve established some boundaries with work, it’s fundamental that you plan out some goals with your family for what you want to do and achieve together as a unit.
Perhaps you’re all going to play a game together once a week? Or maybe everyone is going to contribute a portion of their earnings each week towards a family trip? Whatever the goals are, make sure they’re discussed as a family. You’re a team! Make it clear that you all want to spend time together.
Creating family goals will help you work together, and bring you closer as a family. Building on those relationships will help you get the right balance in your lives and give you the strength and security you need to run a business.
Find balance by taking a break
Self care should be a top priority for all business owners. When your cup is empty, how can you pour love into your work life and into your family?
We all need a break from time to time. I’m not suggesting that you book some all expenses paid trip to Mexico and jet off into the sunset for some “me time”! Not at all!
Instead I’d recommend finding some space in your home where you can go and relax. Away from work and the stress of owning a childcare business, but also in a place where you won’t be disturbed by the household hustle and bustle of your family!
I’ve written a blog about creating a space just for you and from experience I can tell you how valuable my own space is! I love being able to just head up to my quiet zone, to be creative or to reflect on my week. We all have so much to do ALL. THE. TIME! So taking ten minutes for ourselves to reboot and reignite our passion for work and our love for our families, is extremely important!
If your budget allows you to book in a manicure or a massage, go for it! But even running yourself a luxurious bubble bath at home, or heading to bed an hour earlier to enjoy your book will be beneficial for you. Just think about adding a little more balance into your routine.
The juggle is real!
Let me know how you get on with juggling running your business with raising your family. Leave a comment below, or write a post in 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!
And if you’d like to find out more about becoming a Childcare Ninja, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 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!