Mother or Management—What Childcare Companies Need 

The early education industry is blessed to have many people who enter this business because they care about more than the money. But make no mistake, money is required if you want to stay in this industry. Over the years (especially during the recession), we’ve seen many people lose centers and schools or push to the edge bankruptcy because they weren’t willing to make the necessary decisions associated with good management. Many owners felt that it was their responsibility to take care of (“mother”) their teachers. In some cases, they felt guilty. They felt like failures because their center couldn’t afford the extra payroll cost so they spent themselves into deeper debt so their teachers could pay their bills. Incredibly noble…there is nothing like being the hero in somebody’s life even when they don’t know it, but you must have limits.

The most common and costly mistake we make in this business is the failure to control payroll costs. The second most costly mistake is providing lackluster service because teachers and other employees don’t understand or don’t care about meeting the expectations of their employer or director—you. Good, honest, hard-working, caring teachers and other staff members deserve the very best career environment possible from the centers and schools that employ them. These are your committed people. These people are your core staff. These are the people that you don’t have to worry about–much. However, your non-core staff requires more guidance—not mothering, guidance. If your non-core staff understands that hours go to the best employees and that you (their boss not mother) can teach them how to be “best”, then you will have the solid platform you need to fix or prevent the two biggest and most costly mistakes in the business.

When you’re faced with making that decision between mothering and management, try to remember that running a better, more profitable center or school allows you to build a bigger business that will serve more children, provide jobs for more teachers and give you and your family the benefits and choices that come with greater financial success. Entrepreneurs and their families sacrifice a lot to create something from nothing. You deserve to keep the rewards you’ve earned.

Best to you….Brad Barnett, President BFS®

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