This year is coming to an end in just a few short weeks. Are you ready for 2018? Most childcare owners would respond “No.” Moreover, the thought of trying to find time to add one more thing to the “to do” list does not excite the already frazzled childcare owner. However, I promise time spent now creating your end of the year checklist will save you many hours of time and help you operate your childcare business better next year.
Areas to include in your end of the year childcare checklist:
Reviewing your childcare business financial statements often can help you operate your childcare business more profitability. You should review the following:
- Profit and Loss Statement
- Balance Sheet
- Cash Flow Statement
The revenue and expenses noted on the Profit and Loss Statement are key. Did your childcare business make a profit? If not, why not? Can you identify expenses that are above normal that caused the loss? How can you operate your childcare business next year to achieve a higher level of profitability?
You should have a list of parents that are not current in their tuition payments. If possible, be sure to collect it before the end of the year. Use the money collected to pay business debts and expenses before the end of the year.
Take a new look at all furniture, fixtures, equipment, furnishings, and classroom materials. Are there items that need to be repaired or replaced? If so, be sure to note each item and include this information in your business planning and budgeting for next year.
Technology and Data
Be sure that all-important data – children and family files, employee files, local, state and federal agreements, and information are backed up. It is a good idea to have at least three copies – one on your local computer system, a backup onsite to a portal hard drive, and then another offsite backup either to an online service or a second portal hard drive stored safely outside the center.
Moreover, do not forget to go through your old emails, save or make copies of the important emails, and delete from your email account. A good goal is to STOP using email as a filing cabinet. It is one of the highest security risks a business owner can prevent. Get in the habit of immediately printing all important emails and attachments when received. And, at least once a week review all emails received and sent – save a copy, download, or print and then delete from your email account. The larger the email account becomes – both the number of emails and required storage space increases the chances the data can be lost, slows down the email account and computer used to retrieve emails.
The end of the year is a good time to do an annual review with each employee. Annual reviews provide an opportunity for you and the employee to discuss things that are going well and opportunities for improvement next year. The end of the year provides a great time for awarding bonuses or having a special employee celebration meal or event. Do you have the level and quality of staff that you need to offer quality childcare and early education? Assessing year-end staffing needs can help with your recruitment planning for next year.
Is your childcare business in compliance with all licensing rules and regulations? What about all the paperwork and documentation required for parents, children, and staff? Set aside time to review every child and family file information to ensure everything is up-to-date. Do the same for each employee – current information, current education, current medical information, and criminal background check.
Do you have a method for parents to provide you feedback? If not, the end of the year is a great time to send parents a simple survey asking them “how you are doing.” Seek their comments and suggestions. Use their feedback to improve your customer service and relationship with your parents.
Set Goals for Next Year – Business and Personal
Did you achieve your childcare business goals this year? If not, why not? What goals should you set for your childcare business and personal goals next year? Remember goals without action plans for achievement are often only a wish. Be objective and realistic in constructing your goals and action plans for next year.
What about your personal goals and life balance? Did you spend more time this year working in your childcare business than with your family and friends? Did you achieve your personal goals this year? What actions can you take to make sure you reach your personal goals next year?