Step one: Executive Summary
This is your chance to share what your business is offering and why it works for the community. It’s about being as concise as possible. Begin with a two line description of your business, then go on to these other points…
- A wider summary of your business
- A description of why people need your business
- An explanation of how you will fill that need
- A justification for why it will be successful
Step two: the Entrepreneur
Do you think of yourself as an entrepreneur along the lines of Karen Brady and Body shop owner? Well, it’s time to start. You need to let people know why you are the right person to lead your childcare business. Detail any past experience and training in business or childcare, because that’s what will make people trust that you can make this business a success.
Step three: Service Description
This is an in depth description of what you are offering. Make sure you include age groups, times and any unique selling points. Remember to say how it is delivered, how much you charge and how you make the service worth the cost. The people reading this stage will want to know why someone would part with money for your service.
Stage four: Customer Analysis
It’s time to tell the reader about your customers. Make sure you write about both the parents and the children. Include where they live, what they want out of your service and how you keep them coming back.
Stage five: Market Research
This is a big one. Start by confirming what you’re offering, and then show how you’ve proved there is an audience for it. Numbers are the key here. Find out how many children live in your area, how many competitors there are and how many young people you can care for at once. We know how valuable your Local Authority may be as on their Family Information Services have Childcare Sufficiency Assessments which shows the demand and supply of childcare in the local area. On top of that your own market research in the form of surveys or focus groups always gives that added value of potential need of families.
Stage six: Competitor Analysis
Here’s where you go into detail about those competitors you mentioned before. Be honest and say what they do better than you and what the differences in price are. Include what they offer, where they are and who they are targeting. Try to include a comment on how they will react if you make inroads on their market and how you will mitigate that reaction.
Stage seven: Marketing Strategy
Write down the ways you will get your name out to the local community. If you can, be very specific and make estimates at the numbers of how your service will grow over a period of time. However, this will always have an element of guess work in it. What should have no guess work is the cost of each activity, the amount of catering required for the number of children on roll, the level of care needed for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers; level of childcare professionals assuring your brand message brings out an assurance to families. Make sure that is clear in your marketing strategy.
Stage eight: Key Risks Reduced
This is another place to be as honest as possible. Make a note of every risk your business could suffer from, and then describe how they will be overcome should the worst happen. A few examples include a problem in your supply of food or equipment, term time fluctuations, two year old funding openings to schools, an update in the qualifications you need or damage done to your reputation.
Stage nine: Financial Analysis
Now it’s time to crunch the numbers. Start by itemising every way your business brings in a cashflow. This is a great time to work out if there’s another route you should be exploring to bring in some extra resource through offering additional classes, services or hiring out your venue.
Produce a margin analysis that shows the minimum number of children you need to be working with to reach a breakeven point. Make sure you highlight any numbers that are only an assumption, particularly costs that could increase over time with inflation.
And that’s your business plan written in nine stages. Hopefully it wasn’t too arduous. Now put into action all those extra ideas you had while you were focusing on your brilliant business.
Have you struggled with business plans in the past? Is there anything else you would include? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @EYBusiness
Click here for five childcare business ideas you could start today with a business plan like this