Registering your tiney home nursery is a great milestone, and certainly one to celebrate! However, you can expect it to take a little while to truly establish your business, and in the early days you'll need to put in some time and effort to build your client base. The great news is that tiney is right here to support you with advice, professionally designed marketing materials and a brilliant community of childminders. With commitment and creativity, you'll soon be on the road to a sustainable business. Here are some of the stages you can expect on the journey...
Congratulations! You can now open your home nursery!
Once you're legally set up to trade your first big priority is to find those first few clients. In this phase, you'll receive support from the tiney team to help you market yourself and find your first customers. This usually takes about 0 - 2 months, depending on the season and the marketing methods you're using to get the word out about your new setting.
Marketing yourself will be a huge part of your life as a tiney childminder. It's important to build confidence around this! We would advise you to start marketing your setting prior to your registration. You should be thinking about finding families even as you are in the midst of being fully registered.
Think about your goals for your business - your ambitions and targets, and make a game-plan for how you might get there
Use the marketing materials provided by tiney to get the word out locally - distribute flyers, put up posters in your window, make sure your tiney and childcare.co.uk profiles really shine, and check out our advice for using social media to promote your setting
Building your business phase
Once you have your first few families, the next stage is to build your client base, and really focus on how you can build word-of-mouth recommendations amongst local families. It's great to aim for a point where families do a lot of your marketing work for you because they'll want to tell everyone how great your childcare service is! This phase can take about 2-6 months - be prepared to invest some energy in this phase as it'll pay off later.
Gather testimonials! This is a good time to approach your existing families for testimonials to put on your childminder profiles and social media accounts. This will help you establish yourself as a trusted local childcare provider.
Think about approaching local schools to offer wraparound or school holiday care. Once you build relationships with a few families you'll often find parents recommending you to other families and you can build a bit of momentum!
Check out tiney's parent referral scheme. Word of mouth recommendations are the most simple and powerful way to grow your business so make sure your parents are aware of the ways they can help. For every new parent an existing parent refers to tiney, both will receive £100 off their next invoice as a thank you from us - at no cost to you! Learn more here.
Consider hiring an assistant. You'll still need to stick to the space requirements in the EYFS, but if your property is big enough you may be able to hire an assistant and open up more spaces in your nursery. See here for more information.
Think creatively about how you can advertise your setting locally. For example, Sam Beech puts up displays in her window of the children's work. Not only is she celebrating the children's learning with pride, but it's also a great way to show passersby what learning looks like in your setting and to attract new clients.
4. Sustainable business
Once you have a good customer base of families, the aim is to maintain these positive relationships and keep the referrals coming in. You'll still need to do pro-active marketing pushes from time to time to ensure your spaces are filled, but you may find that often new enquiries come in through word of mouth thanks to the hard work you put in during the 'Building your business' phase.
Keep gathering and sharing positive testimonials, building up a bank as you get more and more experienced. This will really impress potential clients.
Consider how you can become a really established part of your local community's childcare offer. How else can you contribute to your community? Perhaps the children can support a supervised litter-pick in the local park? Or could the children take food to a local food bank? Perhaps you could arrange for the children to run a little music concert at a local care home? Can the children design posters to encourage people to recycle more? Not only would the children be engaged in great social learning activities, but you'd be establishing your nursery as an integral part of your local community.
5. Progression pathways phase
As an educator and entrepreneur there will always be more you can learn and more ways to develop. tiney is here to support you with this, and you may want to explore one of our progression pathways:
Deepen your practice and become a specialist in areas such as Montessori or Forest School. This not only expands your skills and knowledge, gives you a new qualification, and makes your home nursery stand out, and enables you to become a tiney trainer. The tiney Education Team will train you up so that you can train other educators in the community or lead sessions at external events in the Early Years sector. Your home nursery could also become a tiney hub, visited by other home leaders or by sector experts as a centre of best practice.
tiney community leader
As you become an experienced home leader, you can take on leadership roles within the tiney community. For example:
Running a local group of home nursery leaders
Mentoring new home nursery leaders
Coaching struggling home nursery leaders
You'll receive training and support from experts in coaching and leadership development. You could also receive extra training and go on to support with the registration and inspection of new tiney home nurseries.
The Early Years sector needs dynamic new voices. If your interests lie in communication or advocacy, you could become a tiney ambassador. This could involve:
Writing Early Years articles for the media
Being interviewed for TV, radio, podcasts, or print
The tiney team can provide you with media training and coaching as you craft your own writing. You could also earn extra income by promoting tiney through your online and local networks, being paid for referrals.
The road ahead won't always be smooth - it never is as a business owner! But you can be sure that tiney will be there to support you as you develop both as an educator and entrepreneur at each stage of the journey.