3 ways to grow in a challenging childcare industry

5 min read

As part of this year’s federal budget, the government announced an additional $3.5 billion investment in childcare assistance over the next five years. The aim, the government says, is to provide simpler, more accessible, flexible and affordable options for families in Australia.

However, some experts believe the new plan will put us behind in the race to set the global standard in childcare. The McKell Institute’s June report, Baby Steps or Giant Strides, states that the new plan doesn’t address a “serious shortage” of places in childcare services for babies and toddlers, and throws up the issue of staff shortages.

In short, the pressures on childcare centres are likely to continue for the immediate future – so what happens to a childcare centre that’s trying to grow? After all, every business wants to move forwards instead of simply treading water, while many may find it difficult to even stay afloat if they don’t plan for stability in such a changeable industry.

So, what can childcare centres focus on if they want to develop their everyday business operations? Here are three things to consider:

1) Maximise payments to compliment funding

Funding can be one of the best forms of revenue you get as a childcare centre, although it can prove to be inconsistent when the goalposts are always moving. One of the more reliable sources of income is payments from customers – at least it should be.

If your organisation is struggling with customer churn, late payments and clients that miss their payments completely, it’s ultimately difficult to keep your business liquid, let alone improving.

The aim here should be recurring revenue. Childcare centres are in a fortunate position, and one that not every business finds themselves in; they have regular customers paying a set amount, so can use a direct debit platform to automate payments.

While this is first a benefit for your customers – taking their minds off their payment commitments – it is a good step towards attaining a better flowing, more secure cash flow. If you’d like to know a little more about direct debit, check out this infographic.

2) Keep track of records

As the previous financial year ended, did you find yourself scrambling to find invoices and receipts at the eleventh hour? Handing your accountant a shoebox of paperwork might be an exaggerated cliche to some, but it’s not far from reality for many when June 30 rolls around.

The 2015-2016 financial year should signal another step forward, and is therefore a great time to look into bringing your business up to date. When the programs that make managing your business simpler are out there, it makes sense to use them to best effect.

Childcare management programs like Kindy Manager, QikKids, and Kids Wizz are popular in the industry, but did you also know you can take payments in these software platforms? With cloud payment integration, the value of your software choices can be boosted considerably.

It also means you have one place to find all your receipts, invoices, statements and payment histories. When the next financial year comes around, you may just thank yourself for tidying up your record keeping early.

3) Enable mobility in the cloud

The nine-to-five work routine may not be in your vocabulary. With the pressures placed on childcare centres, it’s likely that you are faced with a fair amount of overtime and perhaps even taking your work home with you.

In 2015, the lines that determine the work-life balance are more blurred than ever; but while working at home is not ideal, it is easier to do so. Mobile devices – from smartphones to tablets – are helping us work anywhere with an internet connection, and cloud software programs help you stay productive when taking your work home with you.

Previously, working in the evenings at home might have involved printing off paper records and writing on them, only for you to have to work through these scribbled notes on your office computer the next day. When you work in the cloud, you have a centralised, online location for all your resources.

It also means you can react quicker to more pressing matters as they arise.

If working from home sounds like something you’ll be doing a lot of this financial year, why not look at making the whole chore simpler? By managing your payments through cloud-hosted software, you can work faster, freeing up time that should be for you, not for work.

Are you looking for a competitive advantage to help your childcare centre stay ahead in a changing environment? Contact an Ezidebit expert today to learn how to use your payment resources in the best possible way.