Childcare center year-end planning also requires some forward thinking. For the best success in 2023, you’ll need to put processes in place now that will keep enrollment full, avoid losing your best teachers, and build an effective budget that ensures strong financials.
Steps to Childcare Center Success in 2023
To experience the greatest childcare center success in the new year, implement the right tools and processes to ease managing your childcare center and maximize your student and parent experiences.
- Review and Improve Your Website
When was the last time you stopped and visited every page on your website to see what’s out there? You might still have filler or thin content on pages from when you built the website and promised you you’d return to it. But then the busy life of a childcare administrator took over.
Or perhaps you have old prices or specials listed on your website. Missing teacher bios, outdated photos, and lacking content about your programs or methodology – all these things take away from your ability to sell yourself long before a parent calls to set up a tour.
The childcare down the street might have all these elements, which presents them as the childcare of choice in your area, and you miss out on a customer before you even know they were considering your center.
While reviewing your website, be sure that it’s easy for the customer to contact you in more ways than just your phone number. Chat, email, or text messages will resonate with today’s parents, who expect more digital communication.
- Evaluate Your Social Media Strategy
Your social media presence should show an inside view of your programs and teaching methodology. This goes hand-in-hand with your childcare center website. While you don’t want to give away ideas to your competitors, you want to show parents that you are a high-quality program with a planned curriculum and child development milestone tracking.
How often do you post on social media? Are their channels no longer resonating with your target audience, and should you let go of them? What types of content get the most interactions? Do you have an opportunity to invite parents to share posts with friends and family to increase your reach?
The greater your social media reach, the larger your digital presence will be. When reviewing social media, the most important consideration is how to get the most return on your investment of time. Consider giving access to manage the page to a few trusted and experienced teachers to help generate enough content to keep your audience engaged. But also, be sure you have a photo release on file if you’ll post photos of your students.
- Build a Referral Program
Childcare referral programs are an outstanding way to reward your loyal customers who share the word about how great your center is. But they also help instill confidence in prospective parents considering where to send their child.
It’s the textbook definition of a win-win! But first, you must outline the program. Then you must make current parents aware of the program.
You have options for what to offer parents who refer customers to your center. You might give them a gift card. Just be sure that it’s a large enough value to serve as a motivator. Or you might offer the parent a week of tuition, which would likely be a serious motivator.
- Review Your Childcare Tour Processes
When parents come to tour your facility, do you ensure you’re showing them the right aspects of your childcare center? Are you highlighting all the aspects that make you unique? And if you aren’t available to provide the tour, do you have a trusted staff member capable of showcasing the center appropriately and answering prospective parent questions?
Creating a childcare center tour checklist or outline will ensure you never forget to share certain aspects of your center. Often, tours are when parents ask a host of questions, which is great for instilling confidence in them about your center. But it can derail you from sharing what you want about the experience you offer. So it’s good to have notes or a sheet that reminds you of those items despite the interruptions that can come with answering questions.
If you write down the common questions parents ask during the tour, you can also get in front of potential questions and address them before parents leave the center. That way, parents don’t have to contact you later when they get home and realize they have a question they should have asked.
- Take Time to Listen to Your Teachers
This one is so important. Retaining teachers build continuity for students and parents. But it also reduces the burden on childcare center owners to recruit and hire new teachers constantly. The challenge is you’ll never know what is bothering your teachers until you ask them.
Take time to sit down with your teachers regularly. Listen with an open mind and never get defensive. You want your teachers to feel confident bringing concerns to you. Regularly ask them what you can do to make their employment experience better.
- Build a Budget (and Stick to it All Year)
Budgeting for a business is challenging, and you’ll always face unexpected expenses. But building a budget can guide you in knowing what to charge in the new year. Inflation is hitting businesses of all types right now. And while you might not like doing it, raising childcare rates might solve financial challenges.
Budgeting is an exercise in discipline. Once you’ve built the budget, the even harder part is sticking to it. And when unforeseen expenses arise, it might mean cutting spending in other areas to accommodate, which means making tough decisions.
But at the end of the day, you’ll be glad you completed this important activity because it will mean you ensure a fair salary for yourself and keep your childcare center financially sound.
The right childcare technology can help your center stand out because parents will receive more information about their child’s care and education. Technology can also improve the parental experience of paying bills and remembering to bring essentials to school, such as extra clothes or fresh diapers.
Childcare software is the best way to get all the technology tools you need to run a successful center. Just take your time reviewing the software options because some lack essential features that make automating processes or interacting with parents simple.
Automated childcare payments and accounting are essential elements of good childcare software. Be sure that the selected system can alert you about overdue payments, expiring credit cards, and other crucial aspects of managing your childcare finances.
And while considering technology, you might also consider some marketing automation software with a customer relationship management tool built in. This will help you manage your list of prospects and stay in touch with them. Some parents reach out to childcare centers when they find out they are pregnant. That means they could remain a prospect for a year before officially enrolling in your center.
For the best childcare technology for centers of all types and sizes, schedule a demo to see iCare Software in action.