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In 2017. I published the book, "Improving the Business of Childcare" which went to number 1 on the Amazon chart in two categories, Nursery & Pre-school and Coaching & Mentoring. I wrote the book having visited over 1,000 settings during my career, which enabled me to see the patterns between childcare settings which were successful (profitable) and those who were not. The response to the book has been far more than I could ever have conceived, and I am both humbled and thrilled.

But it wasn’t until a recent webinar that Parenta held in November of last year that I truly understood the impact. The webinar, Financial Solutions for Early Years Settings, featured both myself and an incredible lady, called Ann Speight, a setting owner, who gave a presentation which encompassed her journey to make her setting successful, including her recognition of the importance of profitability.

After both presentations, as always, we opened the floor for Q&A, and this is where I realised the true value of the book to someone like Ann. Now, I don’t know Ann. In fact, I had never met her before the webinar. And yet here was a lady talking about me as if she knew me, and telling story after story about her learnings from my book and explaining how she made all her staff read it too! And then to top it all, in front of everyone on the webinar, she pulled out a very dog-eared copy, with little sticky labels poking from loads of pages, and explained that every time they got stuck, and whenever they were at a loss, they turned back to the book.

The most staggering part of all though, was Ann’s closing words. She explained that, whilst she always knew that she ran an independent business on a commercial basis, the book gave her 'permission' to be open about the need to be profitable, and for her, this acknowledgement to herself was the game-changer.

Thank you, Ann. Your kind words have inspired me to commit to writing this monthly column, and I hope I can add value and ideas to many, many more nursery operators to help them to become more successful.

Childcare Prosperity: The £50,000 Lead Blueprint

So let me start this month by talking about the first item I always ask any business owner when I’m looking to support them.

That first question is “How much is a lead worth to you?” And the reason I ask the question is because most businesses are constrained by sales in some way, and those who understand the answer to this question usually have the rest of their business sorted out.

And so, let’s work through that question in the context of childcare. To keep the maths super simple, we’ll assume a full-time place at our make-believe setting is £ 1,000 per month. Of course, you can adapt the maths to your own set of circumstances.

Let’s assume that a lead comes in from the parents of a baby who is 6 months old. In this case, the child is likely to be with you for around 4 years. So, the value of that lead is:-

4 years, 12 months @ £1,000 a month = £48,000 in total.

Let’s just round this up to £50,000 to account for any extras you charge.

Now, let’s just stop for a moment and take stock. Did you realise that a lead is worth £50,000 to you? And now you do know, are your systems for generating new leads sufficiently robust to ensure you are 100% full? Is your website genuinely generating enough leads to ensure you are 100% full? Have you refined your show-rounds to ensure they are optimal and clearly explain why your setting is unique? Do you compare the success rates of those who conduct show-rounds? (Hint: Ann does). And most importantly of all, do you ask for the business and try to close the sale during the show-round?

I know already that there are many of you who will be saying "I can’t do that" or "this is not how we operate". I don’t know if it’s a British thing, or it just doesn’t feel right for a sector full of kind and caring people. Irrespective, if you are not 100% full, this is what you need to be doing. If your website is not generating the leads you need, replace it with one that will. Create 'scripts' for those who do show-rounds so that your messaging is consistent, and most important of all, measure the success of each person who does a show-round to identify those who have the highest close rate. This is not to 'beat up' those who are not so good. The opposite is true, you ALL need to be learning from the best so that you can bring everyone up to their level.

The point here though, is the most successful settings are full. And I mean full, full. No gaps, - with a waiting list. I have lost count of the number of setting owners I have argued with who say that 72-75% occupancy (as the industry average) is full. It is not. This is false logic. Again, those settings that are truly successful have sold 100% of their capacity. And again, some will ask: Why is he using the word capacity? The answer, is that those setting owners who think this way, tend to be more successful.

In conclusion, the most important thing you can do to move the dial on the success of your childcare setting is to get full. If you aren’t, there are numerous further explanations of how to solve this in my book, but make sure you start by getting a good lead generator at the start of your business processes. That means a website that generates enough leads to ensure you are truly and absolutely, full.

Want to know more: Allan Presland’s book is on Amazon. Improving the Business of Childcare:... by Allan, Presland (amazon.co.uk)

Or, take our quiz to see how successful your childcare setting is compared to others we work with. https://scorecard.parenta.com/parenta

Read Unlock The Secrets To Childcare Success: Part 2

CEO of Parenta - Allan Presland

About the author: Dr Allan Presland is the Chairman of the Parenta Group of Companies having founded Parenta 25 years ago.

CEO of Parenta - Allan Presland
About the author: Dr Allan Presland is the Chairman of the Parenta Group of Companies having founded Parenta 25 years ago.
CEO of Parenta - Allan Presland
About the author: Dr Allan Presland is the Chairman of the Parenta Group of Companies having founded Parenta 25 years ago.

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