You need a good sound Business Plan outlining your aims and objectives and how you are going to achieve them. Your Business Plan should also include your mission statement, SWOT and P.E.S.T.L.E analysis and how you are going to conduct your market research. You also need to consider your human and physical recourses, state how you will deliver high quality childcare and be sustainable, making sure you include your unique selling points. There are comprehensive written business plans in the Starter Pack that you can adapt to your needs.
If you are applying for a loan, grant or funding your business plan will need to be supported by a comprehensive cash flow, there are templates and examples of what you should include in your cash flow in the Starter Pack.
You will need to decide if you are going to be a partnership or a limited company. We started off as a partnership but later on became a Limited Company, on the advice of our accountant. You can get information about this from the government web site here.
Although a purpose-built nursery is ideal, premises COULD be:
- A converted building. At Coneygarth we converted all the farm barns and at Flying Start we converted an old RAF dentist unit.
- Convert a house, lots of nurseries do this.
- A derelict pub is a good property to convert.
- If you have land build a nursery or put up a modular build (like the McDonalds.) We considered this option at one point.
- Look at business parks, is there a building you can lease and convert (we considered this option). Lots of nurseries are based on business parks.
- Buy an existing nursery. Make sure you study their Ofsted report.
- Approach a large company, would they let you open a nursery within their building or nearby, for e.g. a local sports centre.
- If you are in a rural area approach a farmer to rent/convert buildings or a modular build.
Some people rent a church hall or village hall but you may have to set up and pack away for each session. You need to consider if there is enough parking space for staff and parents. If buying an existing property you will need to get "change of use" from your local council. If you could build a nursery near a large housing estate or near/on a business park, that would be useful.
If you buy an existing property you may want to reconfigure the space by removing walls etc, it would then be easier to staff rather than have lots of small rooms. You need to consider a quiet area, sleep area if possible, outdoor play area, a suitable changing area and toilets. Staff will need a staff room, toilets and an office for the manager. At Flying Start we have a reception area which is ideal.