PSA...people if you decide to run your own business, be a professional...don't get mad because YOU decided to charge a rate and set business hours that YOU can't handle! Lack of a business plan, business acumen, and customer service skills on your part should not constitute an emergency and extra expense on MY part! And a little HUSTLE with your FRIENDS as primary beneficiaries is never the same as running a BUSINESS with people who pay for SERVICE according to what YOU stated from start, not your whims and fancies!
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Top 10 Do's and Don'ts of Running a Business (note that the business profiles below it include one mother who realized her balancing act meant a tradeoff and she decided to NOT be an entrepreneur...moral of that story RUNNING A BUSINESS ISN'T FOR EVERYONE!
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Brought to you by a bad experience with a childcare provider off the Northridge Road exit in the Sandy Springs area of Atlanta trying to work from home and having no clue how to run business in a way that paying customers and not just friends would want to be bothered with! If you're ever in this area looking for a childcare provider feel free to contact me for the names/locations of a few folks to avoid!
I would warn any parent looking for a home provider to be wary of home providers closest to that exit, because many of them (and I weeded out many by interview before choosing this one) are fly by night operations that are only watching children because they couldn't find a job, not because they actually have any kind of talent at it! This one has the general skills to watch children, but has zero business skills and an attitude that raising the price fixes everything...in this economy? Worst attitude to have, ever!
And beware of the non-grandma types or non-houseWIVES (i.e., beware of single parents trying to run a daycare as their SOLE source of income!) that are not old enough to be comfortable with staying home! Especially if they have children at all sorts of hours, trying to make money by catering to everybody...they will be too drained emotionally and physically to really handle each child as an individual and not just another source of money! This one, once I wouldn't allow her to raise the price she originally stated on me more than once in 6 months (and rates are normally good for at least a year, mind you) would keep changing her hours of availability depending on which week or month it was, and had children coming in (regularly, not as a once-in-a-while thing) from as early as 4 and 5 in the morning to as late as 1pm or after. Most childcare providers have set hours, say 6am to 6pm or 7am to 6pm, or 6pm to 6am, or overnight only, and that is for a reason.
Trying to be everything to everyone instead of finding a specialty and sticking with it, then having times when, being younger than 40, you decide you want to have a life and be able to go here and there during the Monday through Friday daytime hours you SAID you are open for BUSINESS, is a sure way to burn yourself out and take it out on the parents or the children without even realizing it, or to feel the solution is to just keep raising the price and charging more money...when the problem is really a lack of business skills and planning and a lack of time management!
Matter of fact the list of top 10 DON'Ts above has "trying to be everything to everybody" as a definite don't! Outside of daycare CENTERS who have the economies of scale from the daytime folks to afford to have widely variable hours of operation (and this is only some of them!), the VAST majority of home daycares that try to do this spell trouble for YOU, the parent, even if you use them only during normal hours! Why? Because they are still draining themselves watching everyone else's kids all over the clock and never having time to themselves to recharge, and it then becomes your problem because they can't handle a normal day like the average provider with set hours can. They also cannot make a profit off that sort of availability if they are the only income earner in their home, because there is only so much you can charge as a home provider before you are no longer competitive and people find another provider, and guess who it creates an emergency for if they spread themselves too thin? The parents.
Why would anyone need to go and "do things" or run errands during their normal business hours when everyone else who runs that same type of business manages to get their errands done OUTSIDE of the times they stated they are open for business??
Imagine if we showed up to a Publix whose hours are stated on the door as 7am to 11pm, and at 8pm on a regular business Tuesday, they were rushing people out of the store because they didn't expect people to come after about 7pm more than a couple times a week?
Last but not least, playing favourites with customers doesn't work out for YOU unless you can afford to lose some of your customers. This provider kept the weird-hours parents hours however they wanted it because they are her friends, and as I was the newest parent everytime she felt a crunch, I had to make some kind of adjustment. That is not customer service, either you're available when you said, or you're not. Cronyism does not work when you need EVERY penny coming in, not just the cronies's pennies!
A lesson soon learned because after wasting time at work today arguing about this, instead of actually working, I cut my losses. So now instead of getting the more money or the random time cut-offs she wanted, she has $0 and all the "time" she needs. Too many options out there in these big bad United States to end up the first negative topic of my blog!
But it's also a learning experience because I researched her replacement a couple weeks ago but was trying to keep my child in one place since she's been there for a while (with things getting progressively more problematic only since she tried to raise the rates a SECOND time barely two months after raising it the first time! Which says to me she is just trying to be as difficult as possible because she wants more money). Next time I will follow my gut and let something GO when it's starts giving me problems where it's suppose to be easing them...I will not commit more time, energy, and money to it! Lesson to me also, I HATE long commutes and the commute from work to this woman's place is DISGUSTING...takes me 30-45 minutes to get to work and back home even though I live 10 minutes from the job! SMH Never again will I suck up something I HATE for months just to save some money...the stress of the commute alone much less this shoddy business management was putting me in a bad place emotionally! I have two options that are 5 minutes down the road from me in either direction...and a nice expensive daycare center also 5 minutes away if it really came down to it...plus a backup sitter that has had no problems with her stated hours of availability nor ANYthing else regarding me and my child: when the regular sitter had to go out of town for a week for a wedding, the backup had my child for a week with no problems, when I needed a night to myself, she was available JUST as she originally stated, no problem! So really, there is no need for this stress.
This sitter thought she was doing me a favour allowing me to pay her the money she asked for, lol...and has suddenly discovered I do have the option to just WALK AWAY.