We will assume you know nothing about the industry except that it involves children but you have always dreamed about quitting your job and starting a daycare. That is pretty much the position I was in when I started my day care 10 years ago and I spent a year and a half researching and learning before I got going. But, no panic. Allow me to cut short the research time a little with some pointers on how best to prepare for the exciting journey that is starting your own child care business.
Every successful venture starts with a well thought out business plan thus enabling the entrepreneur (you) to get a clear, overall picture of what your business will entail.
This is the vital, unavoidable first step if you are to have any chance of understanding what it takes for your idea to succeed. Many people get to the business plan stage and no further due to a realisation that the project is unfeasible for whatever reason. So, use your business plan as the first step in your research to figure out if your business will be viable.
Introduction/description,benefits, market research, key financials and conclusion. These are the vital elements of starting any business and are covered by your business plan. I found it to be a great checklist of things to do as I worked my way methodically through each of the required steps. Areas I might have omitted or glossed over were covered leaving me with thorough and accurate vision of my business. Like a good teacher it provided the questions and ensured I filled in the blanks. Business plan templates abound but here a few that I quite like.
Arrange a meeting with your local licensing representative, have them visit your premises and find out what they will be requiring in terms of premises layout, contents, play area and general health and safety issues. They are the experts and responsible for granting your license so, you want what they want. Get them to give you guidelines and tips on policies and paperwork. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Go to this meeting prepared and armed with a list of questions so you can learn as much as possible.
An invaluable source of information on setting up your day care is existing daycare owners. When I was researching my business I received some of the best tips, hints and advice from other providers, in fact, I still make information gathering visits once a year and learn something new everytime. Call up a couple of established providers (preferably not too close to your proposed venture, they might not be too enamoured of the impending competition!), explain your situation and set up a day to go visit. Most people are delighted to mentor a budding entrepreneur and proud to showcase their business. Become a sponge for that day and absorb every tidbit of information available.
Take a pen and paper for notes, ask questions, listen and observe. Notice daily routines, room layout and equipment, methods for dealing with behaviors, staff and child interaction, health and safety procedures, hygiene practices, peruse paperwork (ask for copies of the paperwork to help guide you when formulating your own).
Get tips on advertising, pricing and suppliers. Try to speak with the owner or manager, the staff and the cook and get a feel for each unique role. Ask questions like What do you feel could be improved? or If you were starting out what things would you do differently? These open questions will provide you with an immense wealth of knowledge, all of the practical, hands on variety.
These are just three steps you can take in pursuit of your dream seeing them through to completion will give you a fantastic head start in terms of researching your business.
Your confidence in yourself and your ability to achieve your vision will peak and you will be propelled into further positive action. So, start that research and make that dream a reality.
Her daycare business of 10 years qualifies Fiona Lohrenz to write childcare articles on her website plus produce a 'Start a ChildCare Business' DVD guide. You can find out more at:
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