Nurturing the development, growth and early learning of the children in your care is the most important part of running a successful child care business – but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg.
Successful child care businesses are built on a philosophy of caring and genuine passion for child care outcomes, but they also incorporate the most important child care success tools that make those outcomes possible.
Child care success tools contribute to important goals like efficient business management, effective marketing, compliance with state child care laws and delivering a great experience for parents. They provide the structure of your child care operation so you can focus on the most important daily activities that make an impact on kids’ lives and in your community.
In this blog post, we’re sharing a short list of 10 child care success tools that can help your business reach its full potential.
10 Child Care Success Tools to Improve Your Center
Child care success tools are the physical and digital tools that help you effectively market and manage your child care business, maximize child care outcomes and stay in compliance with state child care laws. For each child care success tool in our top 10 list, we provide an overview of the tool and discuss its importance for your child care business.
If you’re planning to open a child care business, we’d recommend utilizing all 10 tools on this list to get the best results!
Overview: A website is one of the most important child care success tools for marketing your center. Creating a website makes it possible for potential customers to discover your business online. It also creates a platform for you to share information about your business, including your location, hours of operation and the services you provide.
It’s now easier than ever to build a simple, low-cost website without any knowledge of website design or coding.
Why It’s Important: When parents are looking for child care services in 2021, they’re probably starting with an online search engine like Google or a local search using Google Maps. Creating a website for your business gives you the opportunity to appear on these platforms where you may be discovered by potential customers.
You can promote your child care business website by adding the web address to your business cards and listing your website in virtual business directories.
Social Media Pages
Overview: Just like your website, social media pages are a part of your digital presence, which helps you connect with your community and attract new customers to your business. Social media pages for your child care business can include a Facebook page, Instagram page and a business page on LinkedIn.
Why It’s Important: Building out your social media pages increases your visibility online, making it easier for potential customers to learn about your child care business. They provide a medium for interacting with potential customers and make your business look more “official,” whether you’re hiring staff or working to win a potential customer.
Child Care Referral Program
Overview: A referral program is one of the best child care success tools you can use to spread the word about your business. A referral program offers your existing customers a special reward or incentive when they recommend their families and friends to your business.
Why It’s Important: Child care businesses earn the majority of their revenue from child care tuition – the more kids you can provide care for, the more money you’ll earn every month. A referral program gives your existing customers an incentive to speak positively about your business in the community, share their best experiences and encourage other families to register their children at your center.
Parents are often involved in social, support or play groups with other parents and can heavily influence their decision to enroll at your center with a simple conversation. All you need to do is provide the incentive to get that conversation started – it could be a small cash payment, or a coupon to receive some child care services at a reduced cost.
Child Care Security Technology
Overview: Child care security technologies are a category of success tools that help you ensure child safety and effectively guard your center against unwanted visitors. Child care security tech includes keyless entry systems and remote door controllers that regulate access to the child care space, as well as biometric ID systems that can help verify the identity and authorization status of visitors.
Why It’s Important: Parents in 2021 see child safety and security as major priorities when choosing a center for their child. Investing in child care success tools with a focus on security helps appeal to these parents while genuinely increasing the safety and security of every child in your care.
A CRM Tool
Overview: A CRM, which stands for Customer Relationship Management (can also be called “lead management”), is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. If you want to grow your child care business, a CRM platform is one of the most effective ways you can do that. Essentially, a CRM allows you to track and nurture families from the time they inquire about your center and take a tour to their online registration and official enrollment. And what’s great is that the records are always there, so you can reconnect to families that may have un-enrolled due to COVID or perhaps have another child on the way.
Why It’s Important: A CRM tool ensures a constant cadence of communication with prospective families. You can plan outreach using a shared calendar, assign tasks to staff members and schedule tours. Running a child care business requires a lot of juggling, which can lead to prospective families falling through the cracks. A CRM helps you not only avoid missed opportunities, but create a first impression that will support increased enrollment.
Child Care Tour Checklist
Overview: When a family expresses interest in enrolling their child at your center, you’ll want to invite them for a tour of your facility. The purpose of a child care tour checklist is to help ensure that your child care tour experience consistently addresses all of the most important concerns that families have, and that each tour ends with a successful enrollment.
Why It’s Important: The purpose of a child care tour isn’t really to “show parents around” your center. It’s to convince them that your center is a great place for their kids to grow up. That means going into greater detail on the specific features of your child care center, the benefits they provide, and the services your center offers to ensure the success of each child.
It also means anticipating the biggest questions and concerns that parents may have about your center, and addressing them before they become a roadblock to enrollment.
We recommend designing a tour experience that highlights the most important parts of your child care business, then developing a simple checklist that you can use during tours to make sure you’re addressing the most common questions and concerns from parents.
Automated Child Care Payments
Overview: An automated payment system is one of the essential child care success tools in 2021. Giving parents the ability to pay online using their preferred method (debit or credit), and automating the process, can help improve cash flow within your business. You’ll also be more organized and save time reminding parents about missed or late tuition payments.
Why It’s Important: When you’re busy managing staff and working with kids, you simply won’t have time to chase parents for tuition payments. As your business grows, it becomes increasingly challenging to manually track who still owes their tuition and who is paid up. That’s why the most successful centers use digital technology to automate the child care billing process.
CACFP Nutrition Guides
Overview: The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded program that provides reimbursements to participating child care centers that deliver nutritious meals to enrolled children. CACFP Nutrition Guides help child care providers understand child nutritional requirements and plan nutritious meals that qualify for CACFP reimbursement.
Why It’s Important: Child care providers must provide healthy meals to receive their CACFP reimbursements, and kids need healthy meals to reach their full developmental potential. The CACFP nutrition guides help child care providers make food choices that fulfill both of these important goals.
NAEYC Program Standards
Overview: Trusted by millions of parents, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a leading organization that promotes high-quality early learning in the United States. The NAEYC publishes a list of program standards that cover 10 essential elements of running a child care program:
- Assessment of Child Progress
- Staff Competencies, Preparation, and Support
- Community Relationships
- Physical Environment
- Leadership and Management
Why It’s Important: If you’re dedicated to building a child care center that’s genuinely a great place for kids to grow up, we recommend benchmarking your core practices against the NAEYC program standards. The standards go beyond state child care laws, recommending best practices and working methods that help your child care center deliver an amazing experience for both children and their parents.
Child Care Management Software
Overview: Child care management software gives you the ability to manage every part of your center, from the moment kids arrive in the morning and throughout the day. Today’s leading solutions include features like digital child and family recordkeeping, staff time cards, student attendance tracking, child care billing, early learning standards and parent engagement.
Why It’s Important: Digital recordkeeping makes child and family information more secure and accessible for child care providers, directors and administrators. Parent engagement and communication features help child care providers build stronger relationships with parents that lead to customer retention, while attendance tracking and staff-to-child ratio monitoring capabilities support child safety. These benefits help make child care management software the most important success tool for centers in 2021.
Elevate Your Child Care Program with Procare Solutions
Procare provides modern, trustworthy and easy-to-use management software for your child care business. Our years of experience and large community of child care experts give us the wisdom to know what your center needs. With simple solutions for child care billing, center security and parent engagement, Procare will be the all-in-one solution for everything you need to successfully run your child care business.
Ready to get started with Procare Solutions for your child care business?