Starting a business is a brave and wonderful experience as it provides opportunity of creativity and expressiveness. It involves lots and lots of hours input, hard/smart work, thinking in and out of the box, competing with existing competitors and being relevant. The excitement of starting a business is what seem to drive a new SME business. However, when the excitement is over, drive, determination and result kicks in, which keeps the wheels going.
A point comes when the business need to expand and grow. Business growth or expansion can come in different ways, which can be:
- By tender,
- New ideas/products
- Demand and supply
- New money injected
However, when a business expands rapidly, too fast too soon, it can be for the positive but if not careful can have a negative result.
Few years back, I worked with company that provided training to the private sector. During this period, the company operated from a modest space and functioned within it’s capacity. After several attempt of trying to win contract within the public sector it finally did. This resulted to a change of space, more staff, man power and resources. This was not to last long because the new expansion was the down fall of the company. As of today the company fail to exist and has debt to pay. I learnt a few lessons from the company:
- When business growth is too fast, too soon, it might not be best for the business.
- Do not get carried away with the new injected finance and over spend.
- Prioritize what is important in your business and spend accordingly.
- Do not take on too many additional personnel.
- Do not create a new lead position just because.
I enjoyed the article from Juile Hall, Why I Close Down The Women Unlimited Business Club. It’s a good read because it talks about business expansion and knowing to quit or down size when it does not turn out right. As a business person, it can be scary to fail, but I read somewhere that F.A.I.L. is First Attempt In Learning.
It takes a brave childcare company to ask for feedback from parents or clients as you do not know what to expect. Most expect a positive feedback or are too scared to ask parent to give one if not sure of their childcare service.
Feedback is a great way of:
- Improving your child care service.
- Getting FREE recommendation that can help your service.
- Providing parents/clients a positive approach to express their concerns.
- Telling your side of the story.
- Letting you know what is working or not working, which can help save money/human resources/time.
- Letting parents/clients know that their contribution is important.
Note, it is important that when feedback is given, an action and a result should be derived from the feedback. Let use the example of Eden Mobile Creche, when the company started we only provided a full creche service. However, we got a lot of feedback for the need of childcare staff only service. This service met the needs of clients with smaller budget or clients that have venues with toys but not the qualified childcare staff. This feedback helped Eden Mobile Creche add a new childcare service. Feedback can also be a sudden trend or the most request service by parents or clients.
Feedback for childcare business can help make the business grow positively. An example of getting feedback within a nursery school is providing parent with a yearly form, which can be a questionnaire format or suggestion. Forms can remain anonymous to give parents privacy. This is beneficial to the early years setting as it provides an opportunity identifying what parents are happy with and what they are not. A man once told me he only knew a client was not happy with his service when he gets a call from another company asking for the clients’ folder to be transferred. It does not have to get to the point of parents removing their child from an early years setting before problems are identified. A feedback process can help reduce this possibility.
In conclusion, let a matured member of staff deal with feedback. A people person, which may not be the must senior member of the team. However, some feedback will need senior management attention to get the desired result.
Having the right systems in place for your childcare business involves:
- Getting the right people for the job.
- Paying your staff.
- Staff feel appreciated and heard.
- Getting the cash flow needed for the business.
- Responding correctly to client complains.
- Getting paid for the services or product provided.
- Service carried out is not seen as a bad business for the company.
- Client get the best service.
- All T’s being crossed and I’s dotted.
- Business growth.
Strategies and systems are important for any business this include any childcare business. I have come across childcare business owners with the professional background but illiterate with the business management side. I have also come across childcare business owners with the business management background but illiterate with the childcare side.
Business in childcare can be complicated but also straight forward when you get the right strategies in place. It’s like a dancer who is perfect in street dancing but enters a ballroom or tap dance competition without having the right dance strategies. Put your strategies in place!
- Get an administrator for the admin job;
- Get childcare practitioners for the childcare jobs,
- Get an accountant for the accounting and see where the business lead you.
Will you have to do some of these jobs yourself in the first instance, of cause. However, with the right strategies in place, the foundation of the business is heading in the right direction.
As a woman, I know how important it is to have my hair style changed quite often. This keeps my look fresh, clean, innovative and unpredictable from people around me. I hear quite often, when this change takes place, ‘You look different’. This contribute in boosting my confidence and self-esteem. These hair style changes are not because I need confirmation that I look good but because I know how the change makes me fell good and confident.
This can also be related to your childcare business. Change is important for any business because it shows you are innovative and ready to move with the times. As a children’s nursery such change can involve repainting your setting environment at least once a year, moving the equipment around, having yourself and staff all have an innovative training. It is a way of ensuring a confident boost for your childcare business and telling parents and carers that you care about the environment and space their children are being looked after.
A childcare business or any business that has an open door policy for ideas generated by staff will have no problem changing the hair style of their business. This is one of the way companies such as Google has used in staying in the competitive market on SEO, internet and WWW marketing. By ensuring that all good suggestions or ideas, from staff is acted upon, you then ensure to pass on the praise and acknowledgement has this boost confident and enhance the process of generating more great ideas from staff. Another way of encouraging changes in your business is getting the children in your childcare setting involved. You can ask them to draw a layout of how they will like their childcare setting to look. This can help provide insights from a child’s perspective and a great way of getting children included within the childcare community.
Not all hair style fit all faces, so you have to do a style that fit’s your face. With your childcare business, not because you see a school, nursery, creche or play centre carrying out a particular initiative or idea does not mean it will work for your business. You have to think of your location, clients, staff, children and other things before you put the plan into action because as you know our face shape are not all the same. As it is said, change is good, but ensure the change is for a positive rather than negative because a negative change can help set your business backward and undo the hard and smart work that may have already taken place. Ensure to carry out research or test the ground to see what works and what may not work.