Published Date: 12/16/20
As 2020 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to set goals for 2021. Setting goals is critical to the success of your daycare or preschool. It doesn’t matter if you’re a large center employing dozens or a family childcare provider working alone. Setting goals allows you to visualize your success, provide focus, build morale, motivate employees, and measure your progress.
It’s not always easy for childcare providers to find the time to set goals – you’re often mired down in the day-to-day. And knowing what goals to set can be difficult. We’ll help walk you through what goals childcare providers should set, and how you can measure along the way until you achieve them.
What are the benefits of short-term goals for childcare providers?
Setting short-term goals has fantastic benefits for childcare providers.
Short-term goals are typically achieved within six months. Some may be much shorter – you may set a goal for a specific day, week, or month.
As you work toward your goals and achieve them, short-term goals are incredibly motivating and lead to immediate, tangible improvements at your childcare center or family childcare. They also reduce procrastination and help you achieve your long-term goals.
What are the benefits of long-term goals for childcare providers?
Long-term goals often have a large impact on the big picture. Beyond the monetary benefits, long-term goals provide a clear vision for your childcare center or family childcare, get employees working toward the same objective, allow parents to see your vision and support you in it, and can leave you better prepared to handle unpredictable events (hello, COVID-19).
The timeframe for long-term goals is typically one year or more. Your short-term goals ladder up to achieving your long-term goals.
What are good short-term goals and long-term goals for a childcare provider to set and how can these goals be achieved?
Specific short-term and long-term goals for childcare providers will vary from center to center or family childcare to family childcare. Your goals will depend on your starting point, your market, the type of program you offer, and what direction you want to take your program.
With COVD-19 keeping childcare centers and family childcares under-enrolled, setting short-term and long-term enrollment goals can help you tremendously. Rather than just wait for families to come to you, they give you an active plan to reach your goals and can help you budget accordingly.
Short-term enrollment goals
Being realistic with short-term enrollment goals is important – if you were at 100% capacity prior to COVID-19 and are at 25% now, don’t expect to be back at 100% in a few months. While we don’t know what the future holds especially with a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, setting short-term goals of increasing enrollment by 10% every two to three months is attainable.
Long-term enrollment goals
It will take time to build your enrollment back to where it was. Some areas rely on industries that have been hard-hit by job losses due to COVID-19 and some areas have been more stable. Predicting the supply and demand for childcare in your market can help you set realistic long-term enrollment goals.
How childcare providers can achieve enrollment goals
To increase enrollment during COVID-19, start by registering on free directories. Free directories make you easier to find online by boosting your SEO and childcare-specific directories like Paper Pinecone have additional benefits, like advertising your currently available spots.
While challenging, effectively hitting your short-term and long-term enrollment at your childcare center or family childcare is doable with the right strategies.
Online presence goals
Your online presence can make or break you. Often it is the first impression families get of you. Improving your website, social media, and online reputation is a great goal for childcare providers set for 2021.
Short-term online presence goals
Developing a social media strategy and calendar are great ways to immediately improve your online presence. Social media doesn’t have to be a full-time job when you pick the right ones for your target audience. LinkedIn is often overlooked by childcare providers but if you’re in a more affluent market, is a great tool to connect with working parents (or soon-to-be-parents) who are in need of care.
Updating or redesigning your website can also significantly improve your online presence. Making sure you have a beautiful design and follow best practices can have a significant impact on whether or not a family decides to tour. Read our tips for a great childcare website here.
Long-term online presence goals
Having your website ranked highly in Google searches is critical to reaching your enrollment goals. Getting your childcare website to come up within the first few search results is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and is a long game. Often it takes a minimum of six months or more to see any effects of your efforts so SEO is a perfect long-term online goal for 2021.
How childcare providers can achieve online presence goals
If you don’t have a website, now is the perfect time to set one up. Get started by using our guide to create an amazing website for your daycare or preschool. If you need help with our design, development, or SEO, reach out and our team of experts can help.
If you have an existing website, improving your Google ranking is essential so your daycare or preschool can be easily found online by families in your area. While it takes time to improve Google rankings, there are many strategies you can implement that cost little or nothing. Read our SEO tips for childcare providers here.
Online reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Google contribute significantly to your how people perceive you so improving your online reputation may be a goal for 2021. Use our tips for handling bad reviews so they don’t have a negative impact on your business.
Staffing is a consistent issue in early childhood education. Finding and retaining quality staff can be challenging.
Short-term staffing goals
Short-term staffing goals at your preschool or daycare may be simply getting the staff you need in place. If you have the staff you need in place – great! Chart out a short-term professional development plan based on the strengths and weaknesses of your current team.
Long-term staffing goals
Your long-term staffing goals may be tied to staff retention, professional development, and/or creating additional positions within your preschool or daycare, like an assistant director role or director of communications.
How childcare providers can achieve staffing goals
We’ve put together this piece which will walk you through how to find and motivating the best early childhood education staff. Professional development and training is a huge component in achieving your staffing goals so look out for our Foundations in Five series launching in early 2021. Foundations in Five takes large course including Behavior Management and How to Get Children to Listen and breaks them down into five-minute easily digestible videos that your staff can watch during nap time. These highly affordable courses are designed to help motivate and empower your staff so their classrooms run more smoothly and will lead to less employee burn out.
Another large part of managing staff is putting effective communication channels in place. Effective communication includes both upward and downward channels and these lessons from NASA will help you implement them to improve your preschool or daycare.
The bottom line
Setting business both short-term and long-term goals for enrollment, your online presence, and staffing can greatly improve your preschool or daycare’s outlook for the future. Paper Pinecone can help you reach many of your goals for 2021 and beyond. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help setting and achieving your business objectives.
Paper Pinecone is the #1 most trusted childcare directory. Register your program today at no cost to connect with thousands of parents searching for the best preschool and daycare programs in their area.
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