Those groups are:
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.
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.
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.
The Three Pillars Are:
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?
This is how you deliver the experience that delights your children, but it is also crucial for parents and staff members. From lesson plans to the efficiency with which you collect payments, this pillar is where the rubber hits the road.
Finding, training and keeping teachers who are the right fit for your business will make or break you. How do you prepare your talent to deliver the kind of service that will keep children and parents happy and raving about your business?
It’s important to look at the Three Pillars not as a prioritized list, but as a combination of factors that have to work in symphony for your business to succeed. Think of them as being the three columns holding up the roof of a structure, rather than three stops on a line, and it’s easy to see how the groups influence each other. That roof is your childcare business. The pillars are essential to its integrity.
For the purposes of this analogy, I have in mind brick masonry pillars. The bricks that make up each pillar are
the core competencies necessary to succeed in each of the three business areas. We’ll come back to those bricks a little later.
If you want to improve your business, it’s easy to see that you can’t spend all of your time and resources laying bricks for one pillar, to the detriment of the others. A structure where one pillar is taller than its mates won’t be very sturdy. Your daycare’s quality will be defined by the lowest-performing of these three elements, just as you’d need to shorten tall pillars to level the structure that sits on top of them. Likewise, if you take bricks out of any of your pillars by losing focus on their core elements, your structure will begin to wobble. With this understanding, let’s dig into the work necessary to optimize each of the three pillars.