A childcare software can help you digitize many of the routine tasks in your nursery. Now, how can you make the most of it to give your revenue a boost?
1. Expand and manage your portfolio smartly
As Childcare Business Expert, Kris Murray, points out in ‘3 Ways to Add Revenue to your Childcare’, you could be missing out on nearly 29% of the potential revenue from your childcare business, when you let your building and premises - your primary asset - sit idle for 2 days out of 7 in a week.
A smart way to make the most of your premises, as Murray suggests, is to rent out your facility to weekend clubs or activity franchises for the weekend. Or you could operate the weekend clubs as an extension of your services, and expand your portfolio (a tough call though, considering you’ll need to forsake your weekends if you do it yourself.) But still a point worth considering.
Another potential option is, to go down the route of bringing in out-of-school care - breakfast/afterschool clubs and holiday clubs for school-going children to your service offering.
Now, where does the childcare software part come into the picture?
When you take on more activities under your umbrella, the obvious challenge is to implement a smooth management system that can help you operate the multiple segments sustainably.
What a reliable childcare software can do is, make your plunge into scaling up and expansion a bit smoother and help you sail smoothly once you hit the waters.
You can streamline many of the day-to-day tasks such as managing the varied sessions bookings (breakfast club/after school club/weekend clubs/regular nursery sessions/funded sessions and the whole host of it), attendance management, parent engagement, daily diaries, invoicing - and tie together the administration of all these areas on to a single platform. This can help you minimise the time spent on repetitive tasks and channelize your time productively on business development.
And the best part is, if you plan to oversee the management of your setting(s) remotely, you can do that more confidently. A cloud-based software gives you the privilege to log right into your account from any device - wherever you are - and conveniently monitor your setting(s) and view real-time reports on your dashboard.
2. Start taking in Ad-hoc sessions if you are not doing it already
Taking ad-hoc sessions is a perfect step towards operating your childcare centre at full capacity and bringing in some extra cash flow. However, it is important to ensure all the sessions accepted are recorded immediately and accurately. When done manually, it is quite easy for staff members to misplace booking details, as it is not part of the pre-set booking schedule for the day.
Bringing in a software can help you keep an accurate digital record of the bookings, track the exact time and date of the bookings as well as generate and send out digital invoices through the same platform, plus set up a systematic process for the parents to book their sessions conveniently.
3. Cut costs on printing
Printing ink and paper are two of the notorious culprits that eat into the administration budget of many businesses. From the attendance sheets, daily reports, event invitations, photos and the whole host of administrative paperwork for the authorities – there is quite a lot of print-outs that you need to churn out from your nursery office every day.
A software might not be able to do away with all of your printing, but it can help you cut down a good bit of the load - your attendance sheets, parent letters, invites and daily diaries at the very least. Now with many of the Government child care regulatory bodies like Ofsted going digital, there could be more good news for paperless management on the horizon, as well.
4. Generate some good PR
Most of the parents who leave their children in nurseries will more or less have the same story to tell – both parents working and not much family support to turn to. Juggling work, the demands of a pre-schooler and the schedules of school-going sibling(s), the daily commute and the responsibilities of a household – it can be quite a lot on the plate of the parents.
Like with any business, understanding your customers and smartly tailoring your service to offer them a little above what is expected can go a long way in creating a happy customer base and make your business stand tall above the rest. Though this might not be a direct plan per se to bring in an instant increase in cash flow, it’s undisputedly one of the most important steps to boost the revenue from your business in the long run.
So, how do you go about it?
Support the parents to manage their time efficiently
For many parents, a quicker sign-in process could mean not missing the train into work or beating the rush hour traffic. A digital attendance register can make the entire sign-in/out process much quicker for the parents (and more efficient for your staff, as well). Similarly, parent notifications and reminders which they can instantly add to their phone calendar can help them keep track of events without getting lost in a sea of artwork and scribbled paper that comes back in the child’s folder.
Build a community of engaged and loyal customers
Sharing photos and videos of their little one’s day at the nursery is a great way to reassure the parents that their little one is happy and settled at the nursery and being cared for well.
Now, many nurseries embark on this parent engagement project with a desktop parent portal. But the sad part is, the project often falls flat on its face as website development is expensive and the cheaper options often end up with a complicated dysfunctional platform with technical glitches, and a formidable area, especially for the non-tech-savvy members of staff.
Social media platforms are seen by many as an alternate option. Though a more practical and cheaper option than a customised web portal, there is always a higher security risk when handling children’s data on such public platforms.
A secure childcare software is a much more practical and safer way to execute this. A good software allows the staff to capture the videos and photos using tablets or smartphones and share them directly (and securely), from the nursery account to the parents. Parent engagement features which allow the parents to join in conversations, comment and respond to the photos always go down a treat as it helps to take away the feeling that they are missing out on their little one’s day away from them.
After all, there is no better foundation for a profitable business than a satisfied and loyal customer base who will happily spread the word about your business for you.