Business success for childcare providers

Think like a business

It is essential that all early years and out of school provision is viewed as a business. Achieving and delivering a consistent high quality of childcare in the long term is impossible without sound business planning and management. Furthermore, continuity of childcare is important to both children and their parents, which means that your business needs to be sustainable.

*NEW* Early Years Business Zone (EYBZ) 

Created by the sector for the sector, the Early Years Business Zone is a great new initiative that provides a dedicated, free to access, online resource that is tailored to the specific needs of early years businesses. This free online toolkit provides a range of tools, advice and industry expertise to help you sustain a healthy business.Register here to access FREE Toolkits 

  • Business Appraisal Tool - is a series of in-depth questions that will help you to identify analyse your business’s strengths and weaknesses and will make recommendations. Click here for a short demo​

  • Financial Management Tool - will help you to control your business costs, review your business modelling and determine where future savings can be made.

  • Staff Cost Calculator - COMING SOON - this will help you to determine the most effective methods of deploying staff, based on staff numbers and occupancy levels. This will also help you to achieve optimum capacity, value for money and stretched offers for working parents.

Business Smart for childminders    

Business Smart was developed by childminders for childminders, funded by the Department for Education and produced in association with Lloyds Bank. Business Smart is a collection of ideas, inspiration and tools to help new and existing childminders in England develop a sustainable business. Here you will find top tips, videos, case studies, downloadable tools and other essential ideas to help you make the most of your business. It is a developing, growing resource that's here to help you. Business Smart for childminders 

Getting started HMRC e-learning course

This HMRC e-learning course is aimed at anyone starting a business as a sole trader (running the business on your own) It will answer all your queries about tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses and help you to ensure you are compliant with regulations from HMRC, Companies House and/or the Charity Commission.

Business Sustainability

The Department for Education (DfE) has produced some publications to support early years providers to run sustainable businesses. They have spoken to a range of providers about the challenges their businesses have faced and the ideas and schemes they have put in place to be sustainable. See GOV UK summary: supporting early years providers to run sustainable businesses

Here are some further useful sources of information 

  • Understand the local market - marketing is about being aware of what you want your business to achieve, how you want it to be viewed by others and how you communicate your message. Read how to carry out market research, some techniques for how to promote your business and increase occupancy and ideas on how to respond to changing needs responding and adapting to changing needs

  • Understand and manage your occupancy rate - this means recording and tracking expected and actual occupancy to identify variations across the weeks, months and year. Read providers' experiences in: successfully managing occupancy

  • Understand your costs - If you look at your business’ performance in terms of budget and cashflow, and track actual income and expenditure against monthly projections, you are more likely to be able to invest in your business to improve its quality and provide more childcare. Read more about managing monthly finances.

  • Be clear about your charging policy - being transparent allows you to build trust with parents. If you maintain a clear, fair and consistent policy on what you charge parents for – for example, for late pick-ups or late payments.

  • Be aware and the funding you can access - this could include the early years pupil premium (EYP), disability access fund (DAF), special educational needs (SEN) inclusion fund. Having this knowledge will enable you to be more confident in providing quality for all children without affecting the sustainability of your business. Read guidance on extra sources of income and Funding Sources for EY businesses [PDF379KB] 

  • Be aware of the funding that parents can access to pay for childcare - this could include tax-free childcare , childcare elements of tax credits , childcare elements of Universal Credit , employer support, such as childcare vouchers

Signing up to receive Tax-Free childcare  

Parents can now apply for the new Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare government schemes to help with the cost of childcare. Providers are only able to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments from customers if they have signed up to receive payments from the scheme. Sign up here on Childcare Choices 

Business Training

This training is for early years and childcare providers in Brighton & Hove Training Programme