Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Finding your unique selling point

What is your unique selling point?

A lot of childminders ask me how they can sell themselves and their provision in the currently challenging economic climate. One way is to promote your unique selling point – the key feature of your provision that makes you special.
You can use your unique selling point in your promotional literature and on your website to actively encourage parents to visit you so they can find out more.
To find your unique selling point you need to think about the things you do during the day with the children or the ways you conduct your business which make your special. We all have qualities which enable us to be the best but we sometimes struggle to blow our own trumpets – or even to recognise how special our provision really is!

Here are some ideas…

Personal development

Your passion and dedication to attend training and always try to better yourself by further reading, extra qualifications, welcoming visits from your local childminding coordinator to give you tips for improving your service etc… all of these will help you to be the best qualified and professional childminder you can be and to have up-to-date knowledge that will put you in a perfect position to respond to children’s changing needs.

Parent partnership

Parents have a wealth of knowledge about their child and business ideas from the different jobs they perform. By working with them and asking them questions and involving them in all aspects of your provision you can tap into their expertise and use it to improve your level of service. By focussing on the positives and explaining when things change parents can be moulded into valuable resources.

Outdoor opportunities

Think about your outside provision – do you have lots of resources? Does it complement the inside area? Do you have a covered area or all weather surface? Ask yourself – how does it enhance children’s play experiences?
Your outside provision should offer learning and development opportunities the children cannot access inside and should be available for use every day. If you feel your outside play provision is higher quality than others you have seen then promote it to potential customers.

Strong community links

Do you go on regular outside visits which are carefully planned and organised so children can experience a wide range of community involvement? Do you have a timetable of outings which you can share with parents to promote the experiences you offer to children? If so, talk about it in your literature and explain why it is so important that children experience close community links. This is one area of provision childminders can easily do so much better than nurseries and group provision… so promote it to parents!

Quality resources and experiences

Do you have a wide range of resources linked to children’s interests? Do you focus on one specific type of resource such as natural, Montessori, Forest School etc? If so, use it as your selling point and make sure parents are aware of the experiences you provide for their children.

Is your food provision the very best in the area? Is all your food home grown and organic? Is it cooked by a qualified chef? Do you offer a range of menu choices for special diets? You could link a sample menu to the parents page of your website or offer to send one by email on request to potential customers to help you sell your special service.

Disability friendly

Have you completed an accessibility audit and concluded that your provision is disability friendly and accessible for all children including those in wheelchairs, walking frames, hearing aid users, severe allergy sufferers etc? Do you have specialised knowledge of disability and inclusion linked to a previous job? If so, you should speak to local health visitors and any special schools or units in your local area, explain what you have to offer and ask for referrals.

Everyone has something special to offer – their time, patience, understanding, experience of working with children, knowledge of child development, play room etc. Think about your unique selling point and advertise it…