You’ve made the big decision to start a preschool business. Whatever your reason, whether you’re a childcare professional with a vision or a parent who sees a need, you’ve got your work cut out for you. First things first though, you’re going to need a preschool business plan.
Writing a preschool business plan is a big task, but due diligence and hard work at this stage will inform the rest of the process. You’ll need to do your research, with a focus on gaining a deep understanding of what you’ll need to successfully launch and run a preschool.
Before you get started, find out about licensing guidelines in your area. Your local government will have rules and regulations that will govern you as a small business owner and as a childcare provider, and you want to strictly comply with both. Start by checking out Child Care Aware of America’s licensing guidelines, and then research your specific state and city. If you’re in California, the Child Care Resource and Renewal Network should have all the information you need.
Once you’re clear on licensing guidelines, you’re ready to get started on your preschool business plan. Here are the sections you’ll need to get started
Start with the basics--what are you planning to do? The exercise of detailing out exactly what service you’re offering will help you shape a clear plan for your business. You might want to write some goals or even a mission statement, outlining your purpose and motivation.
Start by looking at general preschool industry trends, but then narrow it down to looking at the preschool offerings and choices in your local area. You’ll need to figure out who your target customers are, and confirm that there really is a need in your community. Are there a lot of young families in your neighborhood? Are you located somewhere convenient for commuting parents? Also, check out the competition. Do some research on the existing preschool options in your community. How will you differentiate yourself to attract customers?
Developing detailed budgets will guide you in the logistics of running your small business. You’ll need to figure out cash flow vs. expenditures, and build in a plan for unexpected costs. How many children do you need to serve to be able to pay your bills and stay afloat? Child Care Aware offers some terrific planning worksheets for this process.
Depending on the type and size of your preschool, you’ll need insurance policies of several different types, including liability, property, workers’ compensation, and business insurance. Check the licensing requirements for guidance in building this part section of your preschool business plan.
Operating Policies & Procedures
Write out policies, procedures, and handbooks for your staff and families. Again, Child Care Aware offers a detailed guide to this process. Verify the licensing requirements for staff ratios and teachers’ educational backgrounds. Childcare staff are subject to criminal background checks and fingerprinting, and be sure to rigorously verify references and education levels. You’ll also develop a disaster or crisis management plan and health, safety, privacy, and nutrition protocols, all under the guidance of your local preschool licensing requirements.
This part of your preschool business plan is the key to attracting customers. Decide what type of advertising will put you in front of potential customers. List your school in any local directories and participate in parenting and
Another big piece of marketing will be to consider how to differentiate yourself from other preschools. These days going high-tech is a surefire way to please families with young children. Brightwheel is an easy-to-use software platform that will help you manage your preschool and stay in touch with families. You will use brightwheel for recording and
These are just the basics to get you started. For further information, the U.S. Small Business Association’s website has detailed instructions on creating each necessary piece of a successful business plan.