If you are planning on seeking funding or investors for your daycare startup then a solid child care center business plan will be essential for proving the feasibility of your idea to them. There are also some other compelling reasons why you should take the time to prepare this important blueprint for business success. If you are going into business with a partner, a business plan will allow both of you to make sure that you are thinking along the same lines. And even if you are going it alone and have nobody to impress, a plan offers you a way of getting all your thoughts and research down on paper in one structured report.
A business plan allows you to see if your child care center is viable and helps you to set goals and benchmarks that you can later measure your progress against. Below we offer a child care center business plan template. The ideal way to put together a plan is to look at a few that have been done for other child care centers and then make adjustments to suit your unique situation. It can be an extensive report or something brief that fits onto one page.
What to Include in a Business Plan for a Child Care Center
1) Executive Summary
This is a summary of your daycare business plan and it should be written after the plan is complete. Detail the contents of your plan and declare some of the conclusions that you have made.
2) Company Mission
Put money aside for a minute and write a little about how you want to fit in with and impact your community in a positive way. Write about the importance of child care in society and your personal philosophies on early childhood development and daycare. What kind of image do your want to project?
3) Table of Contents and Introduction
Introduce the reader to your business plan and let them know what kind of daycare you have in mind. What is the basic concept? What services will you offer? What age groups will you care for?
Set out a contents page so that readers can easily navigate their way through the report.
You should include some background on the child care industry to help readers to better understand the present state of the industry and how your business will fit into it. Personal backgrounds of yourself and other key players should also be included to let readers know who you are and what led you to the conclusion that you want to enter this industry. What skills, experience or attributes do you have that make you particularly well suited to setting up and managing a child care center? Attach any supporting documents such as your resume to the business plan as an appendix.
Summarize your financial goals as well as any expansion plans that you have for the daycare over your first two or three years in business.
6) Startup Requirements and Financing
List out all anticipated startup costs and other hurdles that must be overcome before you open your doors to families. How you propose to finance the new business?
7) Business Structure and Legal Considerations
Will the child care center be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation? Include details on the daycare licensing process for the state in question as well as other local regulations that must be complied with such as zoning and building safety requirements. What insurance policies will be necessary to protect the business and its owners from property damage or liability claims?
How will your daycare be managed? Your daycare business plan should include information on the ownership structure (if there are other owners involved). Set out a plan for taking on and managing staff including hiring practices, necessary qualifications, wages and other policies. Outline job descriptions for each position and set out a clear hierarchy showing which managers are responsible for which employees.
9) Market Analysis
A good business plan will usually have an analysis of the local market. This is where you can present the findings of any market research that you have undertaken. Your market analysis should include information gained from surveys with prospective daycare clients in the area to find out more about them and about what they are looking for in a daycare service. You can include demographic data about your local market here and attempt to establish some typical customer profiles. Discuss your proposed location and why you think its location is strategically significant.
Look at a variety of niches within daycare such as infant care or after school care and decide on the niches that you will go after with your set up and your marketing. Give details on all local competitors and suggest ways that your daycare could offer unique services that differentiate it from these other market players. Look at their strengths and weaknesses and try to come up with the ideal service for your market that is an improvement on the services that are already available.
10) Marketing Plan
Put forward a marketing plan for gaining new customers. Outline a branding strategy, a pricing strategy and how you will consistently promote your daycare to local families. Try to identify precisely what advertising and marketing methods you would use to get leads and what sales approach you would use to turn prospective families into new clients. Write an online marketing plan discussing a proposed website for the child care center as well as a strategy for bringing targeted traffic to the site.
11) Financial Plan
Lastly, you should include some detailed financial forecasting. Estimate revenues and expenses over a period of two years and set these out in a spreadsheet. Profit or loss can then be projected based on these estimates. Put forward several different scenarios where for example costs are higher than expected or income is slower than expected. Identify the break even point or the point that the business becomes profitable.
A good child care business plan template along the lines of the one that we have outlined above will give you a clear direction of where you want to go, will help you to measure progress along the way and ultimately will help you to reach your personal and financial goals.