Early Childhood Education businesses have their own unique set of obstacles and challenges. They are a staple in our busy society but running a daycare center can be extremely tough at times from a business standpoint. The challenges are many, but the rewards are also high in getting to teach and care for impressionable children. Learn about the following challenges and useful solutions in running your own Early Childhood Education business.
Child information, parent contact information, invoices, and state-mandated paperwork can quickly pile up. Add to that the standard paperwork involved in running a business, like vendor bills, and you will need a savvy office manager just to stay ahead of all of it. It is hard to keep everything organized when files get lost, and payments get mixed up. Having all the right reporting can also be difficult with unexpected visits from the state who can drop in at any moment.
Streamline your paperwork by allowing Learning Clubhouse software to do the hard work for you. Their automated system enables you to have all the paperwork information in one place and will make managing your business even easier. Everything is available at the touch of a screen, and you will keep parents updated and connected to your business. The sophisticated software will save you both precious time and money in being able to run your business efficiently.
Challenge: Building Trust and Communicating with Parents
During busy drop off and pick up times, it can be easy to forget that parents are your customers. They are the ones that are paying for child care, and they are whom you need ultimately keep happy. Not communicating well with parents can be an enormous mistake in the Early Childhood Education business. Assuming that parents know everything that goes on can cause disaster. Parents want to know what is going on, know any problems that their child is having, and know if there have been any sicknesses that can easily spread. If communication is lacking, rumors will spread about your business, and your business reputation will suffer.
Keep your parents involved in your business by actively including and communicating with them. Send real-time student activity updates to their mobile phone and email, make phone calls when needed, or use convenient software like Learning Clubhouse that makes communicating with parents quick and easy. Make sure that parents are immediately alerted to issues that their child has at school if needed or during pick up time. Create a communication standard and train your staff well to make communicating with parents seamless. Great communication will also build trust between your business and the parents which will result in big rewards with return business and referrals.
Challenge: Retaining Qualified Staff
Many daycare centers face the issue of retaining qualified staff members that love the position. Filling a position is easier than keeping someone on staff for a long period of time. High turnover rates can cause the business precious time and money. Do you know the licensing regulations for your area? Do you need a qualified and licensed staff member that knows how to prepare and serve food according to your state’s food guidelines? How do you find staff that will be happy with the pay and also satisfied with their work? These are all issues that many business owners face when trying to retain qualified staff members.
You want to find staff that has a heart for working with children. These staff members will be qualified in your area’s licensing regulations and will also be there first and foremost for the children. Daycare staff work long hours, discipline children, and have a great amount of patience that goes well beyond their pay level. When initially interviewing a potential staff member, look for signs that they love children by volunteer work and other interactions with children. If a staff member is already engaged with children than their likelihood of being satisfied will be much higher.
Also, consider building different milestones and adjusting pay to encourage staff members to stay with you for longer amounts of time. Show your appreciation with little things like a special treat, notes of appreciation, and encouraging communication. Make sure that your staff feels that you care and that you are always available to listen to them when issues arise. Create a close-knit family type atmosphere with your staff to make them feel like work is a second home.
Keeping a steady flow of income to support business finances can sometimes feel like a balancing act. What happens when you have a classroom that isn’t full? How do you find new nursery clients? Collecting tuition from parents can also become a challenge and accepting late payments can significantly delay the business finances. Tuition payments may come in by check, cash, or using a debit card and keeping all those different types of payments can be hard to organize. Making sure that your business is running at full capacity will help to eliminate stress. Having enough business to pay salaries, expenses, insurance, and taxes are vital to a successful business.
Sign contracts with your clients. A contract will help to ensure that monthly fees are paid on time and that parents know exactly what the terms are for having a child cared for at your business. It also makes sure that parents give you notice if they will not need your services anymore which will provide you with time to fill the vacancy. Market vacancies by offering discounts to current parents for referrals, advertising in the local paper, or using social media to spread the word.
Another great way to boost business is to join the local chamber of commerce in your area: just doing this for one year will help make others in your community aware of your business and will help build relationships with other business owners. Once your business reaches full capacity, create a waitlist in order to fill vacancies in the future quickly. Consider using software like Learning Clubhouse to automate billing and keep an eye on finances and easily track expenses to keep your business profitable.
Making sure that these challenges are met will only make your Early Childhood Education business more successful. Many challenges come with running a childcare center, but there are solutions that are readily available to help make your business run smoother.
Learning Clubhouse is a great way to keep track of your business details so that you can offer the best experience to your clients.