Business planning examples
Sanjay Morzaria runs a childcare on domestic premises setting in west London with his wife which was initially established in 2009 as a childminder setting. Since then, the business has grown to employ several staff.
Competition in the childcare sector is fierce and for any childminder wanting to grow their business it is important to hone in on your unique selling point (USP). You can’t just pluck a USP from the air, it takes time - and we found a SWOT analysis was the best way to really get under the skin of our business and identify the threats and opportunities. We did our SWOT analysis collaboratively – all staff and close family were asked to feed into it, so it was a balanced, unbiased view.
There are more than 20 childcare providers within a 10 minute radius of our setting so gaining a competitive edge is really important in order to sustain our business. The SWOT analysis helped us identify what would make the most difference to our parents and children, and help us grow our business.
Our USP is being a flexible parent-friendly setting. By spending time planning the business and the financials we are able to offer a unique service which sets us apart from the competition.
A SWOT analysis is not just useful at the outset when you starting a business – we use it as a business planning tool, reviewing it year on year, alongside parent questionnaires. By having this annual review it helps us prioritise and ensure that our offering is the best it can be, and responds to parental feedback.
I would always advise any childminder settings to play to their own strengths. No setting is the same. Find your own uniqueness and capitalise on it. Don’t try and be something you are not. Spend time thinking about where you want the business to be before you make any rash decisions. By planning ahead you can make a mental shift before you physically make any changes.
One of the biggest challenges we faced was the cultural shift – from my wife working on her own to then becoming an employer. Delegating tasks can bring with it feelings of lack of control. But by taking small steps and with mentoring and training it is possible to make that shift.
Overall it is most important to maintain quality. As your business grows and numbers increase it is important to make sure that you don’t lose sight of the fact you offer a unique high quality home-based service. Keep focused on that USP and keep listening, growing your business is a journey of exploration but make sure you are always being true to yourself.
Sanjay and his team
Sanjay's top tips:
- Manage your cash flow. It isn’t just about profit because if you don’t have parents that pay on time your business won’t work, so focus on getting the cash flow right before profit
- Don’t ever give up on the bigger picture. Continually challenge yourself and think about what you could do better
- Conduct a SWOT analysis on an annual basis. This will ensure your offering is innovative and the best it can be