The new year is almost here! What are your plans for your child care center in 2024?
Choosing goals is an important part of running a successful daycare. Why? Because they give child care professionals direction and something to aim for.
Both the short-term and long-term goals you set for your daycare are crucial.
How to Choose the Right Goals For Your Daycare
Let’s take a look at three ways to set goals and propel your business forward in a meaningful way.
Make Your Goals SMART
Not all goals are created equal. If you want to make meaningful progress with your child care business in 2023, you need to set SMART goals. SMART goals are:
- Specific: A specific goal clarifies what needs to be accomplished, the steps necessary to reach success and the person responsible for making it all happen. Here’s an example of a specific goal: “I will increase enrollment by running targeted ad campaigns on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.”
- Measurable: Your goals should also be measurable, which will help you track your progress throughout the year. So let’s tweak the example above: “I will increase enrollment by 20% by running targeted ad campaigns on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.” Adding the 20% bit makes this goal measurable.
- Achievable: The goals you set should be realistic. If they’re not, you’ll fail to reach them, which will lower your self-esteem and put a damper on your entire year. So, maybe you look at the above goal and decide to alter it a bit: “I will increase enrollment by 10% by running targeted ad campaigns on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.” If a 10% bump in enrollment feels more doable than 20%, go with that.
- Relevant: The goals you set should have purpose. Why are you wanting to accomplish X, Y and Z? Make sure your goals are relevant to your business. “I will increase enrollment by 10% by running targeted ad campaigns on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram so I have money to open a second location.”
- Time-Bound: Lastly, every goal you set should have a deadline to keep you motivated, focused and on track. “I will increase enrollment by 10% by running targeted ad campaigns on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. That way I have money to open a second location by the end of 2023.”
Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
It’s important to set short-term goals for your daycare center, which goals you’ll achieve in six months or less, and long-term goals that will take you six months or more to complete.
Short-term goals are great because they’re much easier to accomplish than long-term goals and lead to tangible results in less time. As such, they have a way of keeping daycare owners excited about their businesses and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
Long-term goals, on the other hand, are life-altering. They often take a while to achieve but once they’re completed, your entire business will change for the better. They’ll also help you clarify your vision for your daycare and focus on the big picture.
When choosing goals, pick short-term goals that naturally result in long-term ones.
For instance, if your goal is to increase enrollment by 20% in 2024, you could create the short-term goal of boosting enrollment by 5% every quarter.
Focus on Processes, Not Outcomes
Just because you set a goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve it. That’s why we prefer goals that focus on processes rather than outcomes. What do we mean by that? Here’s an example:
Rather than saying, “My goal is to increase enrollment by 20% in 2024,” you could say, “My goal is to master Facebook ads in 2024 so I can use them to attract more customers.”
See the difference? This goal focuses on the things that need to happen in order for a daycare business to increase enrollment, but it doesn’t make enrollment the end all be all. These kinds of goals allow for business growth, while minimizing the chances of failure.
Specificity is key to setting SMART goals. But the process should be a part of every goal you set.
Two Examples of Goals for 2024
Now that you know how to set effective goals for your business, let’s spend a few minutes talking about what this looks like in real-world scenarios.
1. Increase Enrollment
First, evaluate your center to decide how many kids you can realistically (and legally!) handle at one time. Then subtract the number of kids you currently have enrolled from this figure. For example, if your capacity is 20 kids and you have 14, you can boost enrollment by 6.
Your SMART goal, then, would be something like, “I will boost enrollment by six kids by the end of 2024. To accomplish this goal, I will create a referral program, participate in six local events this year and learn to use the Facebook ads platform effectively.”
At this point, you have a long-term goal — boost enrollment by six students within the next 12 months. Now you need to pinpoint short-term goals:
- Purchase a Facebook ads course in January and start studying it
- Develop a referral program in the first three months of the year
- Attend three local events by the end of June 2023
Finally, realize that six new customers is your goal, but spend more time focusing on the processes you’ll put in place to achieve it than the actual number itself. In other words, concentrate on the events you’ll attend and the ads you’ll run.
And take advantage of Procare’s Insights feature that allows your center to see what the enrollment is in a room and/or program, as well as identify areas that have open capacity. It also highlights which offerings need additional staff to remain compliant with ratio requirements.
You will know which programs are in highest demand and what openings are available for interested families.
Being able to view enrollment statuses and create your own customer pipeline allows you to anticipate staffing needs and forecast revenue to help plan for your business’s needs and development!
Insights will allow your daycare to recognize what to expect for registration, income and staff so you have a better sense of how your business is performing and make informed decisions to meet your goals.
2. Improve Staff Qualifications
Unless you run a small, in-home daycare, you probably employ a team of people. It’s in the best interest of your business to make sure these folks are properly trained and equipped. So, one of your 2024 goals might be to improve staff qualifications.
First, take a look at your staff and pinpoint their weaknesses. Then look for ways to improve them. Are there any classes you can buy? Is there a qualified professional you can hire to speak to your team? Maybe you need to plan staff training days to teach them new skills.
A potential SMART goal for you might be, “I will better equip my team in 2024 to handle the everyday rigors of child care by purchasing a respected online class for them to complete. I will also schedule training days every quarter and pay them to attend.”
To this end, you could set short-term goals like:
- I will research and purchase an online class by the end of January 2024.
- I will schedule our first staff training day in March 2024.
Take a look at your business and decide what you want to achieve and/or improve upon. Then you turn those desires into SMART goals and break them down into short-term objectives, while remembering to focus on processes, not just outcomes.
The Procare staff scheduling feature allows administrators to name and edit a staff schedule that shows which shifts that staff members are scheduled for with how many hours they are scheduled for in the week:
You can name and edit a staff schedule that shows which shifts your staff members are scheduled for, along with how many hours they are scheduled for in the week.
This allows you to plan so you stay in compliance with child-to-staff ratios, and so you’re not paying for staff you don’t need.
Procare Can Help You Achieve Your Goals!
The year ahead is full of potential! All you have to do is seize the opportunity in front of you, which you can do by choosing the right goals and pursuing them each day.
And one opportunity to improve your early childhood center is adding a strong, easy-to use curriculum like Procare Early Learning, a 100% digital offering that is embedded into Procare:
This curriculum can be used in ALL child care center classrooms, with 52 weeks of lesson plans and more than 4,000 daily activities for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and pre-kindergarteners. Learning areas include STEAM, language and literacy, physical development, cognitive, music and movement as well as interactive reading. Plus, teachers get tips and tools they can use in real time.
It saves tremendous amounts of money and time – one center in West Virginia is saving up to $1,600 a month! – and there’s no need to buy expensive books and binders that quickly become outdated and need to be replaced.
Check out this free eBook to learn more about how a digital curriculum can help you improve staff retention as well as the education you give the children in your care.
Procare takes the complexity out of running a child care center with solutions that address every facet of your business, including automated payment processing, ratio tracking, staff management as well as billing and invoicing.
Track each family’s balance including their history of registration fees, tuition charges, family discounts and payments received. Calculate tuition charges, supply and activity fees plus co-payments and family discounts in seconds for easy billing.
You can also simply manage hourly billing, overtime and late pickup fees with ease.
Procare is used by two out of three child care businesses that use software and serves nearly 37,000 child care centers ranging from single-unit operations to multinational enterprises.
Request a free demo today and see how Procare can help you better manage your business, engage parents, retain your staff and increase security in 2024!
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