Creative ways to find new clients
I love collaborations! You might not think that another business would even give a consideration to referring business to a family child care provider, but you would be wrong my friend! Actually, some of the best business relationships I have had have been with other businesses. Collaborations can be an often untapped creative way to find new clients. Here are 9 collaborations to get that new client at your door!
1. Child Care providers or Daycare centers
No way is another provider gonna send you business, you say. Well, you might be surprised. You see just because they are in the same field as you, they too have limitations. For example; some providers may not take younger or even older children. If you do, hey why wouldn’t they refer that business to you? Maybe you offer different hours than they do. Or let’s say a provider is planning to close for vacation and she wants to find coverage for her clients. That might be the perfect collaboration for another home child care provider, like you. You could create a temporary contract to accommodate the other provider’s needs and in turn, ask if she would mind doing the same for you. At the same time, you could be developing a business friendship that could lead to many other mutually beneficial interactions. A word of caution would be to ensure that your business dealings are ethical and above board. In other words, don’t go stealing her business so that she won’t steal yours.
2. Play yards
Where I live in Southern California, play yards or indoor playgrounds for kids are huge. I know of at least five in my community. This could be fertile ground for new clientele. Wait! I know you are saying “no way are they going to refer to me since their whole business is about getting the kids to come and play there.” Well, you are two-for-two my friend. Once again even these types of businesses have limitations. Think about it. Most do not have operating hours that would be friendly to a working parent, they don’t usually serve meals or accommodate the very young either. Even if a parent might frequent such an establishment, there might be other times when they need a more conventional setup to handle their child care needs. That’s where you come in. See if management would mind if you left your business card at their front desk.
3. Mommy blogs
During my initial contact with a prospective client, I will typically ask how they heard about our child care. One that was new to me over the past few years has been mommy blogs. I have been told on quite a few occasions that either a current or former client of mine has touted my business for me on a local blog. See if there are any blogs that cater to your local community that you can be active on. You might be able to answer questions, ease concerns new moms might have about child care while growing an awareness about your business at the same time.
4. Facebook groups
Similar to the mommy blogs, these days there seems to be a Facebook group for just about every niche. I have even seen sell and swap parent groups. Just like the blogs, you could target parent groups in your community and introduce yourself as the quality child care professional that you are.
5. Dental & medical offices
I am sure you have seen medical and dental offices that cater to children in particular. That sounds like another watering hole for your perfect client. Once again, see if the office manager would allow you to leave some of your business material in their office for parents looking for child care in the neighborhood.
6. Kid Events
Like the play yards I spoke of above, there are businesses that cater to children’s birthday parties or kid-related events. Heck, I have even seen local yogurt shops, restaurants, pizza places and Michaels in my community seeking to get in on the action too. You know what I’m gonna say right?! Get your card in there! A party just lasts a day so even though your future client might be there today, they aren’t really competing with your type of business.
7. Limited Time Discount
Just about every new business has a Grand Opening Sale right? Well, you could do the same thing. Consider how you could offer a great deal to new clients that will at least get them in the door to meet with you. You could do this seasonally or annually. It doesn’t have to be a ridiculous offer meant to run you out of business, but maybe you waive an enrollment fee, offer a free day or offer Full-Time at a Half-Time rate. I know that last one sounds a bit crazy but not if it’s for only one month. That’s right sure to put a limit on the special discount. And don’t forget to write that in the contract!
8. Offer different services
I’m a big proponent of offering as many services as you can think of. Now some will be more popular than others but offer them anyway. As soon as you see a need in your community, see if it makes sense to offer that type of service at your child care. Think of it this way; if no one else is doing it, you just might be the “go to” person for that service. Here are 10 different services you could offer other than Full or Part-Time.
9. Baby stores
Hit up those cute little boutique baby stores in your town. Most likely their clients could just possibly be your future clients. You could offer to take some of their cards as well and refer your clients back to their business. Kind of “you scratch my back” type of thing.
As providers, it is our job to care for the children we serve. As business owners, it is also our job to care for and grow our business. Sometimes we need to think out of the box and consider creating opportunities to reach potential clients. Collaborations with other businesses create new opportunities to promote your business while developing business relationships that can be mutually beneficial.
Have you made any business collaborations in your community? Got any ideas on who you might like to partner with? Tell me about it in the comments below.