Have you thought about starting a childcare business in 2022? What are your priorities for getting started? At this time of year I always pause for reflection, and I’ve been thinking about the things I’d do if I were to start my business again in 2022…
So this blog has 5 things I think might help you get a head-start! There are things that took me a while to learn or implement, and things I wish I’d done more of sooner!
Read on, Ninja!
If you’re a visual or auditory learner, you might want to watch the YouTube episode I recorded about this right now:
Or continue reading if you love a blog!
Ok, so I’m diving in with these 5 tips…
Tip Number One: Have a niche!
If you’re starting your childcare business in 2022, there’s definitely a lot to be said for niching down sooner rather than later. Instead of being another generic local daycare center, offer something that local families need or want! That way you’re meeting a need and making a name for yourself. You’re likely to be more memorable with a niche and the news about your childcare business will spread faster.
I’ve talked more about how you can niche down in my previous blog post.
Tip Number Two: Mix the old school and the new!
Something I’d do straight away if I was starting up next year is not get caught up in trends. They’re great and serve their purpose, but there’s no need to ignore the old marketing tricks like flyers and posters.
Social media is super useful for getting your message out there. But what happens if the global server goes down and we have no socials?! It was all a bit worrying last time, wasn’t it?! Imagine if it had been down for longer… Gulp! Not a nice thought, am I right? So you’ve got to think strategically.
One thing I must mention if you’re going to be starting a childcare business in 2022, is that you need to have a clear budget. And more importantly, you’ve gotta stick to it! There are so many things you can do to set up your childcare on a budget, so you don’t need big bucks to get going.
However, sometimes it’s easy to get carried away buying resources, spending too much on marketing or uniforms… Basically not sticking to your financials. So I urge you to make a plan for what you can afford. Prioritize your budget and stick with it. I’ve written loads of content on starting out on a budget, so don’t panic! Read them here.
Tip Number Four: Build your systems!
Y’all know I’m obsessed with systems, but it’s for a good reason! They make running a business so much easier! There’s no way I’d be where I am today – a multiple facility owner bringing in a sustainable 6 figure income – if I didn’t have systems.
Having certain parts of your childcare business automated really does help you stay sane and keep things ticking over smoothly! So if you’re just getting started in your business, now is the time to get those systems in place! Don’t leave it as long as I did, Ninja! Read more about why you need systems in your childcare biz here.
Tip Number Five: Invest in yourself!
Investing in myself is one of those things I wish I’d done a lot sooner!! Sometimes I wonder where I’d be now if I’d prioritised my self-investment! I’m passionate about women in biz investing in their education, up-levelling their skills and learning about strategy. And I believe and have spent the last few years discovering how mindset is SO IMPORTANT!
And it doesn’t have to cost you the earth! There are numerous ways to invest in yourself, from borrowing books from the library or buying them second hand, to joining a membership or hiring a coach. However you do it, it’s important to get insight from people who have already been on the journey. Nowadays there’s lots of information readily available – so much more than when I was starting out. Daycare owners have become much more willing to share their journey, so why not use their expertise!
Educating yourself on the business side of daycare is vital too. Even if you love playing with the kids and your gift is coming up with the curriculum you really need that business acumen too. You can join daycare business groups like mine and ask questions, get tips and learn from others too. Have a think on where you may have gaps and ways to fill them within your budget!
So whether you’re up-levelling or starting your childcare business in 2022, getting connected with other childcare owners is a game changer!
Gain strategies and tips to move your childcare business forward by joining a community! That’s why I set up my Facebook group, where you can hang out with like-minded and aspirational daycare owners. 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! 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.
Just because you’re full at the moment, doesn’t mean you can forget about your enrollment. In this blog I’m going to give you some hacks to supercharge enrollment! Let’s make sure you’ve got a wait list of keen families who’ll snap up a spot as soon as you have a vacancy!
After 15 years running my childcare business, I’ve learned tons of hacks along the way to keep my daycares buzzing! Read on for some of my awesome expert tips!
Don’t slack because you’re currently busy
Right now it might seem super easy to get enrollment. Lots of families are headed back into their workplaces and trying to navigate this post-Covid world. This means that our daycare centers are open to support people! In fact it’s making us all incredibly busy.
However, we don’t want to slack off purely because we’re busy. Therefore we’ve gotta be like the ants in the story of the ants and the grasshopper (you’ve seen A Bugs Life, right!?). Work solidly all year round and don’t sit on your laurels or rest completely while the sun is shining!
Let’s keep in mind that families aren’t always sat waiting for a space. Remembering numbers on your waitlist might drop sometimes, so we must be proactive about enrollment.
Why you need a waitlist
It’s vital that you have a waitlist for enrollment so that you don’t have to worry about where you’ll find your next client when someone moves on. You know how it goes, the childcare’s enrollment goes up and down! So I definitely want you to be prepared for when enrollment potentially drops.
If you’re bearing enrollment in mind all year round and have systems in place, you can build a waitlist for those quieter times. Ultimately, you want to keep relevant and top of mind with your local families.
Enrollment hack #1
A super easy win for letting people know you’re there is getting some signage up! You’d be surprised how many times I’ve walked past daycares with no idea they’re even there! Make sure you’ve got a sign of some sort up! No matter what size of business you have, people need to know you exist.
I’m not saying you have to have a gigantic sign that dominates the street. You could even just place an easel out the front, with some branded balloons! Having your business name on the balloons and a simple notice stating that you’re open for enrollment is all it takes.
Depending on where you’re based and any residential rules (if you’re a home daycare), you might want to go bigger! Perhaps you could even have something custom-made with your childcare biz name and a flashing “join the waitlist!”
So whether you’re a home daycare or a large facility, pop up some signs!
Enrollment hack #2
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how valuable the local community can be when it comes to enrollment. Not only is word of mouth helpful, but you can utilize the online space too!
I highly recommend joining some local Facebook community groups. Engaging in these kind of spaces, demonstrates your standing in the real world and reminds people that you’re an expert! Often it’s tricky to post adverts or be salesy, due to rules, there’s no harm in you offering tips and advice. Sometimes you can pop a link under “any recommendations?” posts from people (if it’s allowed). Plus you can absolutely have a link to your business website in your profile.
By being helpful in the groups and engaging with potential clients, you’re keeping visible and reminding people that you’re open and ready to serve.
For more hacks, here’s my recent YouTube video! Watch so you don’t miss out on the things that have helped me and hundreds of other childcare business owners I work with!
So please keep enrollment and visibility in mind for the whole year, not just when your numbers drop! That way you’re always ready for the quiet periods and never have to stress over low numbers!
Speaking of being visible and proactive for the whole year…have you started planning for 2022 yet?! I’ve got just the thing to give you a head start! This is no ordinary paper planner. It’s specifically designed with Childcare Business owners in mind. Because I got sick of having to tweak the ones aimed at other industries!
And because I know a planner is zero use without accountability, I’ve added an accountability piece to my new and improved Nyckie B’s 2022 Childcare Business Planner System!
Even with all the planning in the world, being a home daycare provider can sometimes feel lonely and overwhelming. Getting connected with other childcare owners is a game changer! Gain strategies and tips to move your childcare business forward by joining a community! That’s why I set up my Facebook group, where you can hang out with like-minded and aspirational daycare owners. 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. 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!
Hands up if an onboarding system has slipped down your To Do list? I know so many childcare business owners who are winging it on this front. You have people knocking on your door before you’ve had a chance to create a team to take care of the kids! Sometimes this leads to panic hiring, and – let’s be honest – this is a disaster for everyone!
Rushing to fill the gaps in your team is nearly always a mistake. You want to have time and space to find the right fit, and having a great onboarding system will make this easier! And we’re in the final quarter of 2021 and 2022 is looming, so now is the time to sort it out!
Let’s do this, Ninja! I want to share with you my expertise on how to create an onboarding system that helps your new team members settle in but that also keeps you on top of the paperwork you must do!
What is an onboarding system?
This is the processes you have in place for hiring someone new for your childcare team.
Firstly there’s the hunt for people to interview. Then there’s the picking the right people for interviewing. After that there’s the actual interviews…and that’s followed by all the legal paperwork that needs to be completed. And once they’re hired, it’s important that you nurture them so that they stick around and help you grow your business through consistency!
It can be a whole lot to deal with, so I want to help you as much as possible.
Why do we need an onboarding system?
In this industry we have a ton of rules and regulations to follow when it comes to bringing a new member of staff onboard. There are legal requirements that must be adhered to and we cannot afford any errors. The state needs us to have certain things, wherever you’re based!
And actually it’s not just about the legalities…it’s about saving you time and money! Hiring the right team member in the first round rather than third time lucky will make a huge difference to your business. You want to make sure the onboarding system includes elements that brings the right person into your business.
Hiring a team can be hard!
Hiring is one of the hardest parts of running a childcare business. Where can you find your dream team?! Make sure you’ve got your job description sorted out, you’ll want to head out and start looking for those new key players. Obviously you can use the internet to place a job ad. You can look on Indeed, Craigslist…there’s a tonne of other places to put your job description on there. Set up a Facebook page where potential staff can come to you and you can let local people know that you’re hiring right now.
I’d recommend using a mix of digital and traditional in your search for the perfect team! “Help Wanted” signs still have a place. Word of Mouth is still great too, so make sure you tell parents and the current team that you’re looking for help. And I know I’ve found some great extra help from teachers who are looking for some additional income over the summer holidays. Plus you might have some newly qualified trade school students in your area who are looking for some work.
You can ensure that your interviews go well by having a set list of questions that are really tailored to your daycare. It’s no good having generic questions, because your business is different and unique to you. Make sure that your questions reflect that and are open enough to allow your interviewees to feel at ease so they can answer to their best ability. I’d also recommend including an orientation session and maybe a “meet the team”, so you can get the team’s feedback.
Also, this process is as much about you as it is about them. You want to be giving the right signals to your potential new team member. How do you want to come across? What do you want to be known for? Remember the old adage: people remember not what you say but how you make them feel.
File your paperwork!
Unless you love having really difficult conversations (or WORSE receiving citations!) from the inspectors, you must make sure all the forms get filed properly!!
It’s very easy to forget what has or hasn’t been done, so the best thing to do is – you guessed it! – create a process!
Checking off things the list as we get them done will help us keep track of where we’re at. In order to do that properly, it’s great to sit down and think the process through. Consider all the steps like how are we getting the people in our doors, getting paperwork filled out, training, and getting them used to your children, parents, and the rest of the team.
Bringing them into your business
Once you’ve hired your new team member – a newbie or someone who’s done it before – you want to get them settled in. Give them time to learn the processes and routines. Let them get to know their new colleagues and the kids and parents.
It’s important to make their probation as positive an experience as possible, so that they want to stay. It’ll save you time, money and energy if you can retain your new team members and not have to go through the hiring process over and over again.
Watch my video to find out more about how I create my onboarding system!
I hope your takeaway from this is that you need to get an actual process in place! One that’s written down and ideally in a checklist form, because it definitely helps things flow easier! Trust me on that!
Tell me in the comments…Do you have any onboarding tips? What works for you?
Join us over on Facebook for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! You can hang out with like-minded and aspirational daycare owners. Or if you prefer Instagram, we share inspiration, ideas and tips there too. 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!
There’s one main thing that can totally help you stay on track inside your childcare business. Are you doing it, Ninja? It’s ok, don’t panic! I wasn’t either in the beginning. But now I make sure that I’m using all kinds of workflow systems to help me stay on top of things. Read on to find out how to setup your very own childcare workflow for success!
I wish I’d known 15 years ago how much having a workflow would help me! Since I started implementing them I’ve grown my business massively and don’t know where I’d be without them.
So what are you waiting for?! Let’s get started right now…
Nyckie, what is a workflow?!
Simply put, a workflow is a way of making your day more efficient. A business workflow is a repeatable process that consists of a series of tasks that generally need to be completed in a specific sequence. You map out your processes – for everything – and then you’ve got a workflow to ensure things get done!
Workflows are useful for making sure that those important processes you rely on are done the right way – every single time. An example: you may want to define a process workflow for onboarding new employees. You want to make sure that all your new employees get all the info, policies, and resources they need!
So, now you know: a workflow isn’t a plan for the kids, it’s a flow of work for you. The purpose is to ensure your daycare runs smoothly and your business is successful! What are you waiting for, Ninja?!
Write it all down
Start off by writing everything down. Break down all the tasks your team have to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. How often? By whom?
Look at your monthly views in your planner. What needs to get done in each month? Payroll? Team meetings? Taxes? Training? Each month is different! And don’t forget about those special days each month – Thanksgiving, National Poetry Day, Valentines, Black History Month… Maybe you’ll want to create some activities based round these or get a guest in. If you’ve got it written down, you won’t forget!
Theme your days
I have a theme for each day of the week. For example, Mondays for me are marketing days. I take a look at what needs doing so I can stay visible and keep my day care centers on people’s radars. What do I want to post? I focus on what needs doing for my marketing each Monday. Tuesdays are for teamwork! I meet up with team members and update paperwork. Wednesdays is my client day, so I focus on emailing potential families back or getting in touch with people who’ve been in for a tour.
Thursdays is my facilities day. So I work on things that relate to inspections – paperwork, asking questions. And I also use that time to do facility paperwork or practical tasks – like ordering lightbulbs! Sometimes I reflect on how things are working in the facilities – are the plans we have working? Do I need to work on the building itself and remodel? My Friday focus is finance!
I’ve just shared my themed days with you, but I now have all this down on my Trello. Each theme has a board and then I add tasks to the list that come up to the appropriate board and I then work on those as I go! I used to find using tech really hard for my workflows, but now I get in and open up my boards and I can see what has to get done! Once you’ve figured out your themed tasks then you can plug them into your week. I show you exactly how I do mine here!
There are other tools that I know people use, and I hear great things. There’s Asana, Monday, Hive, and more… You’ve got all the tech right at your fingertips! Imagine if I’d had these tools 15 years ago!
Hopefully you can now see how you can run a daycare successfully using a workflow! Have fun with the template and try out implementing your workflow with tech to help you stay organized.
Don’t forget your freebie!
I’ve created you a FREE RESOURCE to help you start and scale your home childcare business successfully. So don’t forget to grab this week’s FREE resource: my Ultimate Childcare Workflow Template. Get your copy now by clicking here. Enjoy!
Want to grow your business and get more involved in the childcare community? 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! 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!
One of the most scary things about starting a daycare is the childcare paperwork. I remember that just the thought of it 15 years ago would give me the heebie-jeebies. But it really doesn’t have to be that way!
By figuring out what will help you stay organized and what works for you, you can get into a rhythm sooner rather than later.
I totally get it! It all feels overwhelming and the fear is eating you up and causing you to procrastinate! And that’s why my focus this week is on helping prevent you from becoming a slave to the childcare paperwork!
Start now, not later
For so long, I didn’t implement systems into my business. I was literally coming in to work everyday with zero plans for my day, living on a wing and a prayer. So I was struggling, because like good old Benjamin Franklin said, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”.
As my business started growing, it became harder and harder to keep up with the ever increasing amount of childcare paperwork . I knew that if I didn’t get control of it soon, I was really going to be headed for a disaster. This is why it became so important for me to figure out what I could create or learn, to keep my paperwork in order, simple.
And we all know that when it comes to paperwork, getting it right sooner is definitely better than later. So start now!
Avoid being a copycat
The first thing I did was start researching what other people were doing to see why they could make it work. Long story short – I couldn’t. I tried to copy their methods but it just didn’t work for me! It was a game changer realizing that I had to do what worked for me…period.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to childcare paperwork. Everyone is different! However, the more options I had at my disposal, the easier it became for me to figure out what my paperwork “style” was. I give some tips and ideas in this week’s Youtube episode to help you fill your arsenal. But keep in mind that whatever system you use to take control of your paperwork, it has to work for you, so find one that comes natural to you.
Don’t force someone else’s style onto yourself! It will never work for the long-haul. And I’m sure you’re in this childcare game for the long-haul too right?!
Write down the essentials
Ok, so you need paper, a pen, and a Sharpie for this bit! Start by writing down the different areas of your business and begin formalizing your systems!
Grab your copy of your state’s childcare regulations and go through it checking the statutory paperwork required. Every state is different, but most will have similar things: procedures, agreements, forms… All things that are needed to keep the kids in your care safe.
Then you need to think about what paperwork YOU need for running your business. Payments, marketing, taxes, facility maintenance, etc. all need their own paperwork! So if you write it all down you can get clear on where to start. You’re also going to need paperwork to help your team stay at the top of their game. Get all of this written out and then you can begin with the organization!
Use back-to-school stationery
I’m a big fan of back-to-school shopping and I used to love helping my kids get organized for school! But don’t forget about all those everyday essentials when it comes to organizing your childcare paperwork. You can use stationery to help you stay on top of the seemingly endless mountain!
Once you’ve written out a list of all the different areas of your business and figured out state requirements, you need to start files. You might be a folder file kinda person, but I’m a binder woman myself! I like the way you can have dividers to separate out different sections. Use pockets for checklists and making sure the binder has everything you need in it. Smaller binders work well if you have one for each child. I use a larger heavy duty lever arch one for my finances!
Keeping all your paperwork for each area of your business separate makes it easier to find things! Label the sides of your folders really clearly so you can just grab them straight off the bookshelf.
Hopefully you can see that taking everyday back-to-school supplies and implementing them into your paperwork system works! Sorting out the paperwork side of running your childcare business doesn’t have to stress you out. It may take you a little trial and error to figure out what is best for you but I believe that sharing this info will give you a head start on figuring that out. For more tips on systems and getting organized, head here.
If you want to hang out with like-minded and aspirational childcare business owners, come and get involved in the community over on Facebook! 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. 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!