The Three Pillars of a Successful Daycare provide a roadmap to help childcare center operators manage and consistently improve their businesses by focusing on Customer Relationships, Operational Excellence and Talent Development.
After I invested in a local childcare business, I realized I needed to create a structure to help focus resources and staff time where they were needed. The conceptual structure I built to manage and improve Callahan Learning Center became a way for me to understand how different daycare was from every other business I’d been in. Over the years I’ve learned that success for a business owner often comes down to paying attention to the experiences you are creating for your customers. No matter what you think your business is, the real definition of your enterprise lies in the feelings it creates for your customers, your employees and others who interact with you.
Building a strong daycare needs to start with recognizing the three core groups whose experiences will make or break your success.
Those groups are:
Parents – Parents are the paying customers, and they hold the power to build your daycare’s reputation—for better or for worse—by referrals and word of mouth.
Children – While the parents are paying you, children are the true consumers of your product. Their experience needs to be extremely positive, and that positivity must be clearly visible to the parents who decide whether to put them in your care.
Teachers and Staff – Your staff members are caregivers—they are your product. If they’re happy, children will have a positive experience, good teachers will stay on the job and parents won’t feel like they are walking into a toxic workplace every time they drop their child off.
Once we understand who these three groups are, we can look at the business practices that will ensure an optimal experience for each group. We also have to keep in mind that these groups do not act independently of each other. Teachers, children and parents are constantly interacting and influencing each other. Those interactions are a core product of your business as a daycare. The success of your business depends on providing an optimal experience for all three groups at all times. When one slips, it impacts the level of quality of the entire business.
Three Pillars, All Essential
This concept of interdependence among the groups in a daycare business influenced the structure I created to help me manage my business. I call it the Three Pillars of a Successful Daycare. Much like the legs of a three-legged stool, none of these pillars is optional. If one falls, the entire structure—the daycare—falters. While each pillar is rooted with one of the core groups served by your business, your children, staff and parents interact with all three every single day.
The Three Pillars are:
Customer Relationships – This pillar is primarily rooted with your parents. What is their experience, from the first time they call you asking if you have space, to their arrivals to drop off and pick up their children day after day?
Operational Excellence – This is how you deliver the experience that delights your children, but it is also crucial for parents and staff members, as well. From lesson plans to the efficiency with which you collect payments, this pillar is where the rubber hits the road.
Talent Development – Finding, training and keeping teachers who are the right fit for your business will make or break you. How are you preparing your talent to deliver the kind of service that will keep children and parents happy and raving about your business?
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