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Caroline Jens, Founder of Child Care Biz Help

 

When obstacles come at us full force in our child care centers we must learn to PIVOT!

The reality of COVID has caused all of child care to experience a serious wake up call. We are finding ourselves pondering whether to succumb to defeat or pivot and thrive. When we make the decision to pivot, we commit to a significant business change. This change can range from mild to dramatic, and when done right, will help our businesses recover from this tough period. The positive of a change such as this is we have been forced to be more innovative than our industry has ever experienced. Because of the obstacles and roadblocks brought on by COVID-19, we are doing new things in the childcare industry that we have never done before.

Embrace and Evolve in childcare

How can you let go of “what was” and embrace “what could be” and evolve with the times?

Grieve the loss. Take time to get over shock of the change or situation that is occurring. Digest it. Catch your breath and give yourself a break.

Remember your bigger purpose.  Think back to the WHY behind why you do what you do? What has been the mission and purpose behind why you started in child care in the first place?

Know your customer. Understand your customer and know their top pain points. Invent solutions to meet help reduce those pains.

Evaluate. Review your financials, operations and processes.  Look at ways to scale back and survive: this can include reviewing & cancelling expenses, staffing, and other items we can delay temporarily. Plus, as equally important, look for ways to generate new revenue: Get innovative and come up with new programs, products and partnerships.

Get support! Reach out for encouragement and collaboration. Don’t go through this time alone. Build relationships, collaborate with others in the industry and find a strategic partner.

Learn. Keep a pulse on what is going on in the industry. Follow other centers to see what is working. Follow strong businesses that are great examples of innovation and trends. LinkedIn is a great tool for doing this.

FAIL. Try one change at a time and be ready to fail forward if it doesn’t work. This requires flexibility and resilience. Try, if you fail, learn from it, adjust fire, try again.

Faith & Intention. Keep God at the center of all you do.

Flexibility. As we know with COVID, planning day-to-day is difficult but there are a few things you can do. Ensure you diligently save cash flow and that you establish a solid team around you. The rest that comes at us, we must learn to be flexible and resilient while understanding we can get back on course if knocked off.

Unplug. Find time to get balance in your life. Enjoy family, the outdoors, friends, and laugh as much as you can.

Childcare Hijacks

Real ways to pivot through this reality hijack

School Age Support. Help keep learning on track for our schoolagers by providing in person support for families experiencing virtual school.

  • Find space in your center or in your community if you have enough demand
  • Help facilitate learning in small groups
  • Provide extras to families such as end of day progress reports
  • Highlight COVID practices, meals and snacks, outdoor and activity time, wrap around care

Tours. Gone are the days of offering only in person tours. Now we have a couple options to make tours more interesting and COVID friendly.

  • Conduct a live virtual tour by face-timing your prospect
  • Forward a video of a pre-recorded tour to your prospect
  • In person “touchless” tours; allow families to follow a specific tour route in your center without touching anything including not stepping into the classroom

Employer Solutions. Build relationships with other businesses in your community to see what type of childcare they may have especially if the schools in your community are not opening.

  • Consider providing alternative “temporary” classrooms onsite to help facilitate school age learning during this time
  • Encourage employer tuition subsidies
  • Tuition discount programs paid by the employer
  • Provide contingency solutions where employers can secure spaces in your center to ensure their employees have care when they need it

Creative Scheduling.  Consider FLEX hours or ESSENTIAL hours for families to enroll.

  • Consider two or four hour blocks of time a few days a week
  • Offer Drop in care for families that may only need random assistance

Family Communication. With teachers not meeting families face to face daily, we must still find ways (outside of communication apps) to discuss their children.

  • Consider  face-timing/video chatting weekly with families
  • Display an outdoor video unit
  • Outdoor video to capture the artwork posted within the center, to spotlight teachers. Since parents aren’t’ walking through the centers
  • Offer weekly virtual parent group nights so you can meet up as a group and talk through relevant topics.

Classroom enhancements.  Look beyond the typical classroom we have been accustomed to.

  • One-on-one tutor enrichment
  • If weather permits, consider enhancing your outdoor classroom experience

Staff appreciation. Innovative in how we show appreciation to staff

  • Virtual appreciation cards
  • Posters that they are essential Rockstar’s to put in the home or apartment windows
  • Clings for their cars
  • Innovative social situations such as virtual game nights, virtual training and virtual collaboration opportunities

Be forgiving. Finally, be easy on yourself and your team. The last few months have been some of the hardest we have ever gone through. We had many goals planned for 2020 that are not going to be achievable. If you are a goal driven person this can be hard to swallow.

  • Take time to regroup and re-strategize
  • Most of all, be forgiving to yourself

Child Care Biz Help Consulting Changes

Child Care Biz Help Reinvented

Like childcare centers nationwide, Child Care Biz Help has had to make some substantial changes. Here are some areas we have reinvented and that can affect you in a positive way.

Product and Service Revisions. We modified some services and created new products to meet today’s needs of childcare owners. Here are some things we are doing:

  • Identify current paint points: limited cash flow, fears, reduced enrollment, staffing needs
  • Provide training based on those paint points: Marketing and enrollment training, creating raving fans, P.R.O.F.I.T.S. Child Care Success Formula
  • Offer Ala Carte childcare consulting services that provide more intentional services instead of our Another You 6 or 12 month packages
  • Create a new product to encourage our center directors: – director subscription boxes to help uplift our directors at an economical price
  • Organize a conference alternative: Since conferences are either being cancelled or going virtual, we created an alternative. Our NAVIGATE child care retreat is an in person intimate luxury experience for child care owners. Two homes on the ocean have been reserved for like-minded professionals to strategize together and grow from each other’s experiences.

Emotional/Spiritual Support. A foundation of faith is a core value of our company.  To live this value, we started a prayer group specifically focused on childcare businesses, owners, staff, vendors, and our community.  This prayer group meets weekly virtually every Tuesday at 9 a.m. Eastern.

 

pivot

Let’s finish this 2020 strong, unified and confident!

 

 

 

 

Caroline Jens, Founder of Child Care Biz Help

caroline jens child care consultant

Child Care Biz Help was created by a child care industry leader who has walked in your shoes. Caroline Jens has a diverse background which includes over 25 years of finance and ​nearly 10 years in child care. During those years, Caroline worked as Executive Director for an independent child care center that had a high turnover rate and low enrollment, and turned it into a thriving business! In less than two years, she reduced the turnover rate from 45% to under 15%, grew the business from one location to two great facilities, and the best part was…they tripled profits! In 2016, Caroline created a web design and internet marketing start-up company that catered to the child care industry. In 2017, what started out as a childcare blog, quickly turned into an up and coming childcare business consulting startup. The Book PROFITS – Childcare Success Formula, was written by Jens that year also. ​Through Child Care Biz Help, she also consults with centers across the nation to help them strategize on growing their business, retaining employees, recruitment, and business operations

COVID-19 UPDATES

NATIONAL ACCREDITATION COMMISSION UPDATE: (6/1/2020)

Beginning 6/1/2020, the National Accreditation Commission will resume conducting validation visits. The Accreditation Office will work with individual programs to determine the impact of local restrictions on a potential visit. The safety of program families and staff and National Accreditation Commission validators is of the utmost importance and at the heart of all decisions made during the ongoing public health crisis. Please direct any questions and concerns to Erin Schmidt, Director of Accreditation, at [email protected]. Please monitor this website for further developments and updates. From the Accreditation Team to your team, stay safe and be well.

2020 NATIONAL CONFERENCE UPDATE: (7/6/2020)

The AELL Board of Directors met and made a unanimous decision to transition our 2020 conference to a virtual event for the safety and well-being of our participants, our staff, and our volunteers. This was not an easy decision, and tears were shed. This event has become a “reunion” each year as old friends and new come together to connect in meaningful and powerful ways.  Please know that our hearts hurt with yours that we won’t be together in-person this year.  We are saving hugs, high-fives, and fist bumps for Orlando 2021!

For details and additional information about the 36th Annual National Conference, please visit our Conference page.

COVID-19 WEBINARS & DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES

For access to our free COVID-19 related webinars and downloadable resources, please visit our Upcoming Webinars page.