Networking to Build Your Day Care Business
A day care is a business. But it is a unique business because, next to the medical profession, there may be no business that gets so intimately involved with its customers. A day care worker and the administration of the facility become family to the families you serve. You have been selected to hold a sacred trust because that mom and dad have decided that you can be trusted to care for their precious little ones for several hours a day. But nonetheless, you do operate your day care on a profit basis. You are not trying to exploit the families you serve.
But your dream was to run a day care so you can have the freedom to do for a living what you love to do which is to love and care for children. But as a business, you do have to charge for your services, make collections, manage a budget and be concerned about getting and retaining customers. For most businesses, the methods for getting more customers includ things like marketing and advertising. While that kind of thing is done in the day care business, unless you are working in a franchise situation or you are competing with very large day cares, advertising is not an outstanding way to get new business. That is because the amount of business you get back for the amount you spend on advertising is quite small.
Add to that the fact that there is a certain fit to the kinds of children and families that will be a good match to your day care and changes the picture for how you will go about building your client base for your day care. When you first start your day care, it might be in your home and the first customers of your facility may be your own children and children of your friends. This is an important stage in the growth of your business. That is because for every child and every family you have in your day care, there are many other children and other families that that family knows and many of them are looking for a good day care as well. This means that far and away the best way to go about building your list of children and families who will become regular customers of your day care is networking. Networking is how your customers seek out a day care. Next to proximity to their drive to work, parents use recommendations from friends and the "mommy network" to find out about new day cares and to seek you out to care of their children. And the key to networking is right in front of you every day. It is those children you serve and the parents who drop them off and pick them up every day. So you should sponsor ways to open communications with those parents.
Too often we just greet the parents in their cars as they drive though and the parents never get the chance to get to know you or the day care workers who are the ones who spend hours with their children every day. So think of some creative ways to get those parents into the facility to see what goes on in your day care and to meet you and rub elbows with you and your staff. By finding ways to network with parents, you can learn if there is dissatisfaction in other day cares. There may be a movement of discontent with one of the large day cares near you and if you can get into that network, you can draw those families to your day care. By building relationships with parents and methods to bring in other parents, you use the most powerful marketing method there is, networking with the customers you already have. PPPPP Word Count 646 .