Are you planning on making 2015 your year for increasing the size of your childcare business? If so, you’re not alone! According to a report published by the NDNA, 1 in 3 nurseries surveyed last year said they had plans to expand in the coming 12 months.
Ministers recently pledged 15 hours a week of free childcare to 130,000 two-year-olds in England - leading to increased demand for childcare places; so this year could prove very promising for providers who want to increase the size of their setting.
If you are not sure where to start on this exciting journey, we have put together 6 useful steps to bring your closer to getting those keys to a new nursery.
1. Decide between acquisition or new start
You may have already found a building that you think would be suitable to start a nursery in from scratch. But have you also weighed up the benefits of buying an established nursery business, like having existing children on the books? There are plenty of advantages associated with the acquisition of a childcare business, including not having to go through rigmarole of applying for planning permission from the local council.
2. Research other competitors in the area
Whatever the location of your new nursery, you should find out whether there is demand for childcare in the area by contacting the local authority. Do your homework: find how many childcare providers are competing with you for business in area and what benefits they are offering to parents. This will determine whether there is a gap in the market for you to fill.
3. Get adequate funding in place
Before you approach a lender, make sure you have a robust business plan which details your cash flow forecast for the next 5 years. You are much more likely to secure a loan if you can show that you have put together a plan to make your new nursery a financial success. Demonstrate that you have also taken into account different scenarios which may disrupt your plan – like having a low occupancy rate for the first few months.
4. Choose great management software
Although some providers are reluctant to embrace the use of new technology, if you have the opportunity to put in place a nursery management system which will make the day-to-day running of the new nursery much easier – then why not take the plunge? Abacus software offers childcare settings the ability to put together staff rotas, invoice parents quickly and organise children’s personal data.
5. Take time to find the right staff
Do not rush the decision to choose staff members to work at your new setting. To give your nursery the best chance of success, you need to take time to find people who share the same values and ethos that you do. This process may take a few weeks to several months, so start looking for a suitable nursery manager first of all and get them on board to help you build a fantastic team as early as possible.
6. Advertise your nursery
Let parents know about your nursery presence well before you have even opened your doors. You can do this using eye-catching signs on the nursery building, with leaflets posted in the local neighbourhood or even adverts in local newspapers. However you choose to advertise, make sure you allow parents to register their interest in your nursery so you can book them in for a showround when everything is up and running.
Add the "wow" factor to your nursery with software!