Many childminders are incredibly proud to represent the home-based childcare sector and provide high quality childcare within their home, but many want to be able to do more, be recognised for the hard work they put in and need inspiration on how to move their setting forward as a viable business and career option.
Though in a smaller setting, building a business and good reputation as a childminder is just as important as if you owned or ran a larger setting. Here are some key elements that we have found essential to not only building our business, but also our reputation:
Wherever your locality, however big or small your setting is, you’ll want to get your name out there in order to promote your business and attract new customers. Some childminders choose to operate under their personal name, but others also like to have a name for their setting too.
Why not have your name or logo added to clothing for the children to wear and represent you whilst you’re out and about in the community? Or offer a branded t-shirt for each child as part of your starter pack to encourage the feeling of community within your setting?
There are some really creative ideas out there and branding clothing/merchandise is a great way of advertising your services whilst you are going about your day!
Take advantage of free resources on Business Smart from PACEY
PACEY has a whole section on their website dedicated to helping childminders and other providers make the most of their business, with a range of blogs, tips, ideas, inspiration and downloads. Business Smart was originally developed by childminders so the information and resources available are current, relevant and accessible for all.
Get onto social media
Social media is a free, but essential way to market your business. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great platforms to showcase and promote your business. These are also great networking platforms to chat and share ideas, seek advice and promote good practice with other childminders and home-based childcare providers.
Be a childminder advocate using PACEY's #notababysitter campaign
In addition to the invaluable business tools and tips that PACEY provides with Business Smart, they have also recently launched the #notababysitter campaign; highlighting to the rest of the sector and society that childminders are more than ‘babysitters’ and should be treated like valuable members of the early years sector. As part of this campaign there are posters to download and display in your setting, and even a Facebook profile frame to use on your social media.
Groups, forums, online discussions, publications
As with social media, the internet is an invaluable resource in networking and promoting your setting to a wider audience. You can take advantage of online groups for not only support in your career but also for activity ideas in your setting. PACEY has three Facebook groups you can join. Ideas for Creative Childcare is simply that, a place where practitioners share their ideas! First Steps to Childminding is for when you are just starting out and a place to get advice and share your worries and successes. Lastly, there is the newest group, Play to Learn. This group is aimed at parents as well as practitioners to support the home learning environment and to share ideas that can demonstrate learning for little or no cost.
Commenting on online early years forums, sharing your opinions and examples of good practice in online discussions or alternatively writing in to debates or sharing news in early years publications is a great way to spread the message of your setting with the rest of the sector.
Show off your setting using SearchChildcare
Most recently, PACEY have launched SearchChildcare, an online childcare directory which allows providers to create an online profile free of charge that can link to your inspection report and contains key information about your setting and allows parents in your locality to find you from your postcode. SearchChildcare allows you to advertise your business for free whilst messaging potential clients securely, all at the click of a button.
These are just a few of the ways in which you can successfully market your business whilst also promoting your setting and good practice and demonstrate that not only can home-based childcare providers offer exceptionally high-quality childcare within a home-from-home environment, but that childminding is also a viable career and business option.
Which options have you found to be most effective?