Starting a successful day care centre

2010-04-07
THE PUNCH Newspaper-Ifeanyi Onuba


Starting a business in this part of the world requires not only tenacity and concentration that can easily wear out any entrepreneur, it also involves ingenuity to sustain it in such a way that the business will not only thrive but expand



These and probably more are needed if you have clients that are considered the most demanding and strictest of all in the business environment-nursing mothers.



A daycare center provides a temporary, secure place where children, age between five months and eight years, can be cared for while their parents study, attend appointments or carry out other time limited tasks.



It is also a place where babies interact with one another and develop the ability to express themselves at a tender age, through the supervision of a qualified attendant.



It is no doubt one of the most challenging types of business one can hope to establish because it requires more time, expertise and care.



Most mothers especially the career women have found it as a supporting place that would take care of their babies‘ needs while they contend with the challenges at work.



Often times, daycare centres are attached to shopping centres, leisure centres, educational establishments, hotels and places of work for easy access by nursing mothers who might be working in such establishments.



This notwithstanding, experts still contend that success in today‘s day care business has a lot to do with the way the centre is run, how it is structured, where the markets it serves are going, and its location.



According to them, a suitable centre is the best option for nursing and working class mothers.



For a day care centre to thrive, they contend that there is need for it to deliver excellent services to clients; unambiguous about its chosen area of business; finding and keeping the right type of employee; as well as securing financial returns that will enable it reward its people.



An expert in educational psychology, Barrister Levis Abonyi, says that the initial output should be a plan covering all aspects of the daycare center.



These, according to him, should include the cost, business plan, the name of the day care centre, legal documentation, among others.



He says, ”Your centre will be a busy area once you open your doors for business. This is why you need to create a working plan before you start your daily operations. Having kids around would definitely create pandemonium in your center, and the trick to keeping your business area as organised as possible is to prepare a scheme that will put most of the daily activities and your daycare center equipment in place.”



On planning, he says, ”If you plan to have children in different age groups, it would be best to keep them apart most of the time.



”If you have limited space, the technique is to create a schedule that centers on the activity rooms that you have created. All of the areas can be common to the children regardless of age group. However, except for the cabinets or closets for their things, the children should be in different areas at different times.”



Equally important is the need to set up rules and regulations.



He says, ”Success in business comes as a result of laid down policies and how these policies will be implemented. You must have a detailed, written plan that states your ultimate goal, the purpose behind your goal, and each milestone that must be passed in order to reach your destination.



”Declare policies on payments, rates and fees, including other specialty fees. Have policies on pick up and drop off times, meals, toilet training and illnesses including allergies and vaccines. And you should decide on handling holidays and family vacations too.”



He also advises on the need to incorporate religions and cultures in the day care programs, adding that ”you will also need the assistance of a pediatrician and a child development expert. Also ask for expert advice on how to deal with special children.”



On start up capital, Mrs. Deborah Odeshola, who specialises in kiddies‘ playground equipment and accessories, says it may cost between N1.5m to N2m, including the cost of renting an apartment.



Giving the breakdown, she says,”In Abuja, a relatively small office space depending on location may cost between N400, 000 and N600, 000, while the purchase of the necessary stationery may also gulp N300, 000.



”Furniture may cost N200, 000, while the playground equipment such as swing seats with ropes and chains, climbing stones, scramble nets, steering wheels and slides may gulp about N300, 000.”



 

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