When you set up your childcare business, you did it because you have a gift. A gift for inspiring and shaping young minds! But that doesn’t mean you’re a natural marketeer or business whiz, and that’s ok! When I first started as a childcare business owner, I didn’t know about any of this stuff and promoting my business was hard. But it doesn’t have to be hard for you! Apps are where it’s at.
Now there are so many amazing applications you can use to promote your business, and you guessed it – improve your systems!
Here are just a few of my favourite apps for your childcare business…
Get creative with Canva
Canva is a free online designing tool where you can make just about anything look professional without even having to download any fancy software. Need to create an invite to an event at your business, a flyer to advertise, or a picture to share on social media? You can do it all!
You can even upgrade for extra pictures or designs, but there’s so much choice already you probably won’t have to! And there’s a handy smart phone version too for those on-the-go posts!
Be the face of your business on Facebook
Facebook is an amazing way of building a community for your business. You can create private groups for parents to share photos and for you and your team to share photos with them! You can create a business page where people can write you glowing reviews, and you can join mom’s groups to say hi and let them know what services you offer.
I’d recommend creating a profile or page that you use specifically for your business – so you can keep it really professional! Read more about how you can use social media for marketing here.
Spread the joy on Instagram
Instagram is a great way of networking with other childcare business owners, making friends, spreading your personal journey, and sharing some joy! A lot of your potential customers will be on there, hanging out, so I highly recommend getting involved in this app!
Choose pictures of you, your space, quotes you love, advice you have for others, and the people who make your business tick. If you’re going to share pictures of your mini clients, make sure you have permission from their mom’s and dad’s and only show their backs, let’s keep their little faces off the ‘gram!
Share all the good stuff with ContentCal!
Why make your life harder? You’re a small business owner who is growing and scaling their business. To make life easier, schedule your content in advance with tools like ContentCal. It’s such a great idea to use scheduling apps for your childcare business.
ContentCal means you can plan out your whole week’s content with your gorgeous designs from Canva! Share on your social media accounts without having to post live. As time goes on, you’ll see when people really love to see your content and can start sharing at those times.
Get it all together on Kartra
Kartra is a one-stop-shop for so so much. Websites, emails, agency management, helpdesks, calendars, payment processes – you can do it all in one place! There are loads of different styles of memberships so you can adapt what you pay based on what you need. Just up what you pay when your business grows.
I do all the things on there that I need to grow my business and it makes it easy just having one thing to do it all! Rather than opening 72 million tabs to get some marketing done! If you want to give it a try, I have a link especially for you right here.
Stay in touch on Slack
I couldn’t get through a post without reiterating how systems = success! I use Slack to keep in regular contact with my team. You can create channels for each project, maybe it’s a new opening or a great Christmas event you have planned. All the relevant team members can be in the channel and get updated whenever messages are sent.
You can set up meetings, share files, and most importantly keep in touch and stay connected with the people who make your business tick!
Make your life easier, today! Try these apps for your childcare business!
Using apps and tools has helped me revolutionize my business and seen my business grow. Have you tried other apps for your childcare business? Are there any tools you’re using that I haven’t covered? Then why not join my Facebook Group to pick up the conversation – let’s learn together! In the Childcare Ninja Facebook group, we’re always sharing ideas and learning from each other- creating our childcare empires!
There’s no need to go it alone on your childcare business journey when there is a huge community just waiting to support you and lift your business to new heights
– see you at the top!
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 more involved in the community and to grow your business? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too!
Running a childcare business is hard. It can be super fun, and of course you’re passionate and adore the families you work with. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t elements that are challenging and that you won’t face difficulties from time to time. And doing that alone is tough. So I wanted to share my top reasons for ensuring you get support in your childcare business.
I can’t stress enough how important it’s been for me to have support while I’ve been growing my daycare centers. It’s all part of my Ninja mindset and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
1. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness!!
Support can help move you towards the success you’re looking for but I know how hard it can be to even ask for that help in the first place. In the back of your mind, you’re thinking “I shouldn’t need help. It’s MY childcare business. Why can’t I do this by myself? I bet no one else has to ask for support. Urgh I’m such a failure.” So firstly, let me start by saying: WRONG! You SHOULD need help. I don’t know one single person running a successful business — childcare or not! — who’s done that all by themselves!
Needing support is certainly not a sign of weakness or signalling to the world that you’ve not a clue what you’re doing, it’s actually a sign of intelligence. Taking a moment to realize which areas you need a little help in or perhaps developing a better understanding, is not weak. If you ask me, I believe it shows your strength as a leader and as a role model.
I know that feeling well though, and it all stems from worrying what others might think of you. However, when you break that down, who are these people you’re worried about? Are they brave enough to follow their passions and set up a childcare and take a leap into running their own business? Nope. The people who criticize or judge others are often the people wishing they had the guts to do what you’re doing. So don’t let the fear of what people will think (or what you think people will think) hold you back from getting the support you need to grow your childcare business.
2. Get support sooner rather than later
Acknowledging the areas you need support in early in the game will help you move towards your goals much faster, because you’ve then removed those fears. Think strategically about what you want help with, and get a feel for the kind of support you want in that arena. Do you want to grow a network of other childcare leaders? Or perhaps you need support with tech and systems? Maybe you could do with some more confidence, and a coach could support you in that? The sooner you start investigating what it is you need and how you’ll get it, the better.
When you’re willing to go and seek out the support you need, you’ll get the success that you want at a quicker pace! I wish that I’d been less cautious of getting the help I needed. I think I’d have grown my business faster. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it!? But actually – even though the way I’ve done things might not have got me there as fast – it was right for me at the time. I try not to be too hard on myself.
But take it from me, things begin to go smoother and at a more rapid pace when you’ve got the support around you! Don’t wait till you feel ready. Do it now!
3. Don’t go it alone!
Finally, it’s not just about learning, it’s about having people to lean on when things get tricky. Whenever I’ve come up against a challenge, it’s been a huge relief to be able to call upon my network and say, “hey, I was wondering if any of you felt like this too?” And knowing you’re not alone is not to be underestimated! That emotional support is vital for keeping you at the top of your game. Sometimes our life partners aren’t enough for the pep talks. What we need is people who’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt, OR empathetic cheerleaders who just get it! They get exactly what you’re going through.
Having a support network helped my business flourish. And it made me realise that there were also toxic “friendships” that I needed to be rid of too. Surround yourself with people who’ll support you to achieve your dreams, not ones who question your every move, trying to keep you small. Dream big, baby girl. You’re a childcare ninja, after all!!
Furthermore, it’s not just a sisterhood of other marvellous women you need on your side, I’d highly recommend investing in support too. Getting a mentor or coach and having a place to go and ask questions is key to growing your childcare business. After working with a coach myself, my whole mindset changed. I was able to see the bigger picture, and really work on my goals and my vision. Since I made that choice, I have sky-rocketed my business! Imagine what you could achieve!
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Oprah Winfrey
Have you got a support network? Why don’t you share this with them and show them how much you appreciate them!?
If you don’t have one yet, come and say hi in our Ninja community on Facebook! 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 more involved in the community and to grow your business? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too!
By now you’ll know that I believe systems and processes have a truly significant role in building your childcare business. They’re key to you growing and up-levelling! In the last 15 years, my main learning from being a childcare business owner has been that systems equals success!
Some of the most important factors of implementing systems in your business are to improve efficiency and organization. This is what enables you to monitor and manage your staff whilst staying connected to the operational strategies of the business. And you can keep taking a step back to make sure everything is working and in sync to help you achieve your vision.
Let’s take a look at why systems equal success…
Why do you rave about systems, Nyckie?
Because they work!! (Can I get an amen?!) No matter what size your childcare business is, it no doubt includes multiple systems working together to achieve your goals. Systems and processes are essential to your business’ success, especially when it comes to growth. If you don’t have these to lean on then your growth will be super hard to achieve.
Trust me! To ensure you can train employees and delegate responsibilities, to offer a consistent high quality service, make sure things run smoothly in your day-to-day, you need systems!
Setting up systems is all well and good BUT if they don’t actually work, then what’s the point? 🤷🏾♀️
I recommend that you go over your systems at least every 6 months. Analyze and review them, make sure every part of the system is working towards its purpose. Once you’ve gone through the hard work of setting up all your systems, it can be very easy to put them on the back-burner and forget all about them. But we need to check in from time to time, to look at what’s working and what needs adjusting. As your business grows it’s to be expected that your systems need to adapt too.
In the generic biz world, they call this “System analysis”. Which is, essentially, studying a system or its parts in order to identify its objectives. Does it do its job properly? It’s basically a problem solving technique that helps you improve the system and ensures that all the components of the system work efficiently to accomplish their purpose. Analysis specifies what the system should do. I talk more about it here.
Optimize your childcare business processes
It’s important that you take time to understand the entire system in order to make changes to simplify the steps involved. By using a systems perspective, you can remove unnecessary steps and find effective short cuts which can save your childcare business money (and who doesn’t want to do that, right?!). You want to optimize your systems for ultimate success, not keep things as they’ve always been.
Think about it! What worked brilliantly when you had an in-home daycare with 4 children isn’t necessarily going to do the job when you’re set up in your first location. What worked for 3 team members, is unlikely to work when you’ve got multiple locations and several teams. So do take some time and go through your systems one by one and check if they need to grow with you so you can get to that next level of success.
Problem solving instead of problem dodging
One of the benefits of analyzing your systems—picking it apart and then adjusting as needed—is that your problem solving skills will improve. Instead of avoiding complexity, a systems approach helps you see problems as exciting opportunities. These problems offer potential ways to innovate and develop your creativity. If something isn’t working, what can you do to improve that element of the system? Brainstorm and think outside the box!
And this has a knock-on effect with your team. They see you modelling leadership from a problem solving angle, and it has an impact on the way they approach tasks too! Rather than shy away from difficult issues, your staff turn into active problem solvers. They also feel safer to try new ways of thinking because they can trust your systems.
Are your systems helping you achieve your objectives?
Another thing to consider is where you want to be—what’s your bigger vision?—and to see if your systems are leading to that goal. You want to be working a few steps ahead so that you’re ready for what’s coming.
When you only address one part of the problem, you’ll likely never find a long-term solution. By taking a step back, and looking at the interconnected dynamics of the system, you’ll discover a better way of organizing your business.
Systems thinking can help you revolutionize your childcare business across every aspect. If you put the systems approach to work in your childcare—however large or small!—a better and more efficient business could be right around the corner. And that means more revenue!
So, repeat after me: Systems = Success! Unless of course, they’re not working!
I’d love to know what the biggest change you’ve had to make in your childcare business is, as it’s grown? How did you manage to navigate it? Which of your systems needed adapting? Come and join in the conversation about systems over in the Childcare Ninja Facebook group!
And I have an awesome freebie, specially designed by my team of business ninjas to help you sort out your systems! Because smart systems in your business result in Success! So what are you waiting for?! Download your FREE Sassy Systems Workbook today!
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 for biz ideas and to take a sneak peek behind the scenes!
If 2020 has taught us anything at all, then surely it’s that we need to be prepared for the unexpected and be as adaptable as we can be. So how can you use this knowledge to organize your finances to make you more secure?
So what I’m sharing with you today is things we can do to cover ourselves. Making sure we cover all the bases and essentials, plus investing in our childcare businesses and us. Because investing in ourselves is key to growth.
Does the word “finances” fill you with dread?
Since I’ve been running my own business, I’ve got a lot more comfortable talking about money. The ins and outs, the profit margins and invoices. I’ve written about it before over here, and in other places too!
It’s strange, because although we know how important money is, and how finances impact our lives daily, it seems that we don’t like to talk about it much. There’s definitely a touch of taboo when it comes to discussing the green stuff.
Recently, I posted about finances in my Facebook group and it turns out that not many Childcare Ninjas are feeling the topic! But what I want to change is how we view money. Because it is super clear that to become successful in your childcare business, you’ve got to get comfy with finances and the talk that comes with it.
Excuse-proofing your finances
Last year, it was very easy for many of us to make excuses around not investing in our childcare businesses, and putting off investing on ourselves. But now 2021 has arrived, and we should be able to start off on a good foot, covering ourselves so we have the finances we need to grow our businesses. This includes money for investing in ourselves and investing in our childcare businesses.
Now is not the time for excuses! So what can you do to change the way things have been going? Have you made a plan for alternative income streams? Have you got ideas for saving money?
Challenge yourself to up your finance game
Developing your childcare business this year means you’ve got to stop using the old excuse “I can’t afford it”. Take the opportunities that you’re given in 2021 to grow your business. Lean into the fear and get stuck in. Stop putting off investing. Take money as an excuse of the table. And to do that, you’ve got to set yourself up to be more secure. You need to get comfy looking at your finances. To know exactly what you need to have coming in, and some extra for investment.
I want to challenge you to sit down and create some plans on different ways you can make some extra income next year. Set a timer and write down all the possible ways you could make money. E-bay? Babysitting? Make a cup of coffee and really go for it with that list!
Think outside of the box!
What are you good at that could bring you in some side hustle money? Could you teach piano lessons or do dog walking? Could you offer odd job skills to neighbors? Perhaps you’re a dab-hand at baking and might offer your services to busy moms who haven’t got time to make that all-singing all-dancing birthday cake?
Don’t let worries about what other people might think get in the way of you trying ideas out. Marie Forleo waited tables and taught dance classes while she worked her way up to the top of her game! She talks about money myths many of us women fall into here. And doing something other than running your childcare business, so that you can have enough money to invest doesn’t make you a failure. Trust me!
Still stuck on how to excuse-proof your finances?
I have a great resource that can help you out. It offers a number of different ideas to help you get the cash you need to start your in home business, hire that coach, or purchase that course to help move you along on your journey to success.
I designed this for you because I want you to get the tools you need to get to the next level of your success quickly and I don’t want you to keep putting your success on hold because of limited funds. And I want to help you reach your success as quickly and as simply as possible because it’s about time that you started living life on your own terms! Are you with me!? Download you free ideas list here.
How do you feel about finances? Is it something you shy away from talking about? Or are you at ease in that kind of conversation?
Come and let us know 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!
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!