Do you know who your ideal childcare client is? You know, your dream parent or family. Have you ever thought about it? Who would be your perfect client? Well, today we are going to figure out just how to identify who that is and why it might be one of the most important things know for your business.
How to figure out who is your ideal childcare client?
According to Entrepreneur, before you can figure out who your ideal childcare client is you first need to know who you are. Ok, I know that sounds crazy vague. But there is some wisdom there.
Think about it. If you are trying to figure out who is the best fit for your business you would need to know your business first. Right? Makes sense.
Know your business
I know you might be thinking, “Yeah, I know my business. After all, it’s my business.” Well, while that is true, what you really need to drill down on is what is best about your business. You know, the strong points about you and/or your business.
So if I asked you, what is the best thing about your business, what would your answer be?
That being said, it can also be helpful to know what your weak points are or where your business can improve and change. By knowing what you bring to the table, you can better determine who your ideal childcare client is.
Know your competition
Once you know what your business is good at, its time to put that up against the competition. I know that can be a scary thing. But we gotta do it. So let’s just jump in. What is your competition up to? Specifically –
- What do they offer?
- Who do they cater to?
- What are their price points?
- Where do they succeed?
- Where do they fail?
Information can be a powerful thing
This information can be a powerful thing. Knowing this information will allow you to see just where your business is positioned in the market.
You may be able to cater your services, hours and rates more competitively than you have before. You may even find an underserved niche market that you can jump on.
For example: Let’s say all of the providers in your area have 9-5 hours (do people really have these hours?), maybe you should consider offering hours slightly longer like 8-6 or 7-5. You might be able to attract parents who have slightly different scheduling needs.
Or maybe all the programs in your area offer full-day programs. You could offer a half-day program for parents that don’t need a full day solution. See how this works?
Wait, what’s that you say? “Ok, but how do I figure that out, Adrienne? My competitors are not just going to give up this information to me.”
Here are some ethical ways to check in on the competition
Here’s how to research
True! But, there are ways around that. And I don’t mean calling your competitors on the phone, pretending to be a parent and trying to get them to divulge all their stuff (I actually hate that). No, here are some ethical ways to get all the info you need.
Here is when being a member or affiliated with your local CCR can come in handy. They usually have a department that specifically tracks demographic information including average local rates. I talk more about how to find your local CCR here. They could be an invaluable resource for information on your local competition.
Check out the local childcare ads. This is a perfect place to research your competition. Ads typically list program information, target age group, and maybe even prices. Check out Craigslist, Yelp and any other place childcare are advertised in your area.
Finally, if your competition has a website that can also be another source for specific information. You might not get everything, but you will probably get a pretty good idea of what they are offering and who their target client is right on their website.
Listen to your peers
Know what you don’t want!
Sometimes knowing what you want (your ideal client) is really more about knowing what you don’t want. Here is where listening is a skill well worth developing.
Consider joining (or becoming active) in Facebook groups, forums, or associations where other providers hang out and share. This can be a treasure trove of information. Especially if you are a newbie.
Providers aren’t shy about sharing experiences in these groups and you can learn through their personal
journeys nightmares. The best thing is as a member, you are free to ask questions.
What’s your sweet spot?
Basically, all this research is designed to help you identify your ideal childcare client. Specifically –
- What age group your business wants to attract?
- What days & hours do you want to work?
- Knowing what services you want to offer?
If you are already in business, you can probably figure this out very simply.
Think of (or imagine) a favorite client of yours, past or present. Now what made them a favorite? Did they rarely drop off early or pick up late? Did they always pay on time? Or, did they respect your policies and procedures? What was it about them that made them a good client?
From that simple exercise, you can get information on your desired hours of operation, rates, and policies.
See it’s easy!
Think about this; major companies like Target, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. spend large sums of money to get to know their target market.
Why do they do this?
They do it to be able to stay competitive. Companies do it to know just how to best serve their customers. They do it to know just how to market to their ideal consumer.
We can (and should) do the same!
By identifying who your ideal childcare client is you can create opportunities for your business. Opportunities to boost enrollment, better serve your clients, and possibly (hopefully) avoid certain clients that are not your ideal childcare clients.