Your guide to opening a preschool

by Komal Bajaj

Ok, you made a decision to be your own boss and start a preschool in your local city. While you may be a seasoned early learning professional or a newbie with passion for education and child development, there are steps you need to follow to be able to launch your new business.

Business Plan

First you need a business plan to guide you in the next 5 years from launch to growth, and managing different operations of your preschool. Think of this as your business playbook for reaching milestones and managing sales, marketing, finance, operations and human resources. Your business plan should provide you with insight into your profits and losses and should also be able to support you with seeking investments.

Finances

Your business plan is not 100% complete unless your budgets are in place and you have mapped out costs for every element of your business. This may take time and research to understand, but once you have this down, you can figure out which percentage of the financial investments can be done by yourself and from external investors.

Legal Requirements

Now that the number crunching and budgeting is done, it is time to look into your city’s legal requirements for launching and running a preschool. Your first step should be reaching out to the department of education or the local economic department. You should be able to procure a list of documents and a checklist to be able to fulfil local guidelines and regulations. Local government and municipality approvals, financial background checks and even educational or business qualifications may be required before they grant you a license.  

Location

At this point you may have already scouted a few locations for your nursery. But do enquire about local rent regulations and rent caps as you don’t want to be stuck with unexpected rent increases as a new business owner. Take a site engineer to the location to check if your interior design ideas and fit outs are actually feasible. Also make sure that the location is easily accessible and there’s enough parking space for parents to drop off and pick up their children.

Curriculum and Equipment

Preschool curriculum should not be taken lightly, after all it is these years that set the stage for a child’s development. When deciding on or putting together the elements of your curriculum, enrol a child care consultant to help you plan. This person will ensure that you have the right mix of learning and play while keeping in mind the needs of different types of child behaviors and personalities.

Preschools require furniture, learning equipment, toys and play areas. The preschool should be able to support learning in the classroom, bathrooms and play areas. Make sure the environment you build for the child is welcoming, upbeat and engaging.

Personnel

Some local governments may not require all the preschool personnel to be academic professionals, but as a nursery I would recommend hiring teachers with academic or child care qualifications. It will give your nursery credibility and that extra edge over competitors; since your students will be receiving higher quality care and learning.

Marketing your Preschool Depending on your budgets you may or may not choose to spend money on a launch event and marketing activities, and focus only on word of mouth and referrals, which makes sense in the early learning sector. However, we are living in a digital age and I would highly recommend to have some online presence on social media channels such as Instagram and Linkedin. It is known fact that social media affects decision making and shortens the consumer journey. And on that note (budget permitting), launch that website too.