Whether it’s going on vacation or building a new business, before you start on any of life’s adventures, you have to know what you must have. And starting your own daycare is a great adventure because there is risk, there is excitement and there is opportunity for great success and victory.
So the very first thing you will set about learning are the “must-haves” of starting your own daycare center. Once you have that list underway, you can fill in the blanks as you go and before long your daycare business will be becoming a reality before your eyes.
The list of “must-haves” to get your daycare started may become quite long and complicated. But to get the process started, below are five “must-haves” that will make your top ten categories list to start looking into right away.
1. You must have space.
The physical location of your future daycare is going to have a big impact not only on how successful you will be but on how many children you are going to be able to care for and on how life will go on in the facility each day. It’s possible to start your daycare in your home. But if you want to separate the idea of daycare from a babysitting service and if you want a facility that is professional and allows you a lot of options, finding your own space is crucial.
2. You must have the money.
Unless you are using your inheritance, you will need to seek out funding to get your new business going. Now, this path is well worn by many a small business start-up before you. You can get guidance from the small business association in town on how to write a business plan, how to project your market share, how to estimate expenses and forecast your earnings and profitability and how to approach a lender to secure the funds you need. All of this is not nearly as fun as taking care of children but the money will make it possible to have that fun and make a nice living while you do so. So give this part of your startup planning plenty of attention.
3. You must have your paperwork done.
Health and legal issues must be addressed before you can get licensed to run your own daycare center. You can get the protocol for how to become licensed to legally take care of children from other daycare owners who can help you understand the process. This is really a step you should take even before you plan your space or develop your budget because what is required of you by state and local authorities will drive many of the facilities and budget decisions. The first step is to get educated on what it is going to take to get the green light from the authorities to open your day care. And the second step is to get to a level of compliance that you can actually launch your new day care business.
4. You must have customers.
Market research, advertising, and promotion are going to become much more meaningful terms to you now that you are a small business owner. The more you can do before you open your doors to recruit your first customers, the more successful you will be. But finding and keeping customers does not stop with just developing a contact list of parents who are waiting to become part of your daycare community. It will be an ongoing quest to build references, network through your parent community to build your business and to use conventional promotion to keep a healthy and growing customer base for your daycare coming in.
5. You must have a love for children.
Between the time you start learning how to make your dream of owning your own day care and the moment that dream becomes a reality, you will transform from a dreamer into a well educated small business owner. But at the heart of why you do this at all is your love of children and your desire to make your living caring for them. Hold on to that ethic and your day care business will stay on track to fulfill that dream for you and for your employees.