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Your Unique Selling Point?


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

What would you say your Playgroup/Nursery/childminding business' unique selling point ie if you were trying to sell yourself to someone what would you say is unique about you or your service?

 

I am trying to work on advertising for our Playgroup to attract children for next September and I need to desperately coerce people to use us as opposed to other local Playgroups offering free government places. So far I have only come up with 2 possible advantages:

 

First the smaller ratio of children allowed in to the premises and the staff to children ratio which presently stands at 12 children in total with a 3 to 1 adult to children ratio.

 

Secondly we have an outdoor play area with safety matting and a large outdoor shed for storage of all our equipment including trikes, taxis, balls, hoops, sand and water play, skittles, painting easels and chalk with boards.

 

This last point is quite unusual as one of our neighbouring Playgroups has no provision for outdoor play time.

 

We have been through the grapevine criticised for not being welcoming enough and too regimental so by way of review and also trying to work hard on our image doing some publicity to gain back support.

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Do you have any particular links with the community or other professionals, or services such as Tatty Bumpkin etc which you could 'sell yourself' with. Are your session prices lower than your competition?

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terrydoo,

Do you have feedback from ex (or existing) parents about what they liked about your setting? After all its more of them that you want, we have a quality questionnaire that parents fill out when they are about to leave our setting and this includes questions relating to what they liked/disliked about the provision. What were the strongpoints of your last OFSTED? or your SEF? What is the skill base or strengths of your staff? Hope thinking about these might help you pin down your uniqueness

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our unique selling point is that we have a high adult to child ratio which means that we cabn give any child the individual attention they need if /when they need it...

 

our biggest selling point though is that we see ourselves as part of our community. We have a friendly approach and a complete open door policy which means that when someone want to visit they see us warts and all...this is a huge selling point because when people come in they get our true picture and not the gloss thats been added because we know someone is visiting...and parents seem to like the honesty of that.

 

We also highlight that we foster links with the local community by taking children to the shops/library and using the local park & leisure facilities to supplement what we can offer.

 

your reputation is the most important thing you have and if others see you as unfriendly or heirarchical then they may well shoose another group that doesnt have wonderful outdoor play.....its the people that make good child care not the equipment and resources.

Edited by enuffsenuf
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Guest terrydoo73

No we are not linked to any community organisation but employed by the local communication association.

 

We are charging £2 per day per session whereas the neighbouring playgroups are "free" in the sense that they are government funded although we are assuming they have to make a voluntary contribution to cover snack etc and do the normal fundraising over and above things.

 

We have no feedback from parents in the form of written questionnaires or anything like that. We opened with 3 year olds just to get us off the ground - there was only 1 who went to school in September the remaining children returned in September for the coming year. There were children that left us in June which we knew about before they started and they had booked their place in the "free" playgroups in the neighbourhood.

 

We only opened in January this year so have no reports or whatever. Our registering authority has told us to focus on our strengths and promote this rather than focusing on the possibility of getting free places although our community association is still pursuing this aspect. Hence my desire to try and advertise us "correctly".

 

Only being open since January and having establised a Parents Group our communication is I feel very good although we have heard whispers that we need to pick up on what is happening in parents lives outside of the Playgroup. What I mean is that recently one of our parents went on holiday for a week and took her child to his grandparents so he wasn't with us having only started a couple of weeks before this. We were conscious of him coming back and settling back in so focused on that aspect on his first day but mum took offence that we hadn't asked about her holiday! Another mum actually asked me if this particular mum had a problem with her because despite her saying hello every morning she never received any reply or even the mum turned her head away from her. So what do we take from this? Is it our place to be "overly friendly", go out of our way to personally ask each mum about their own lives or should we continue to do as we do - focus on the children and ensuring they are happy and settled coming into Playgroup every day.

 

I don't think we could put in that we have a friendly approach do you?

 

We don't take our children to local parks etc as we have to be accompanied by one parent for every child who comes and a lot of our parents work so it means taking a day off to do this.

 

So we are shooting ourselves in the foot in this advertisement plan do you think?

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Our usp is that we have a really close relationship with our local (just around the corner) village school. We visit every week (on the same day each week which is mentioned in our prospectus and also on our registration form) and the Early years teacher visits us each term, we also have joint events such as a Christmas party, Easter egg hunt and Teddy bears picnic.

 

Also we get out and about in the village. Although we are lucky enough to have a paved area that we can use for free flow and a well equipped garden, as well as our weekly walk to school (where we are very visible due to our printed high vis jackets), we also visit the local play area and go on lots of walks on the local footpaths.

 

I'd also like to think that we have really good relationships with our parents. (We'll find out for sure when we put our next questionnaire out!)

 

Rachel

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Hi terrydoo.

Im just wondering why you are not receiving funding for your over 3s (early years entitlement)..is it because of restrictions in your LA or another reason. I think this will always make it hard for you to compete with other settings.

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Guest terrydoo73

It is a displacement issue - the other local playgroup which is just 2 miles away has been established for quite a long time and we are seen to be taking children away basically although we believe we are meeting a need within our local community and that there are sufficient children in that other playgroups community to meet the need for a continued playgroup but then I would say that wouldn't I ...

 

We are planning to buy an old school which is next door to the new school but until we are actually in it and registered as being there we cannot use that yet.

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Hi Terrydo, our unique selling point is a low turnover of staff, some have been with us for over 20 years, we have been established in our area for over 43 years, we are a large well equipped packaway setting with 2 outside areas. We have an open door policy [ this always makes me chuckle because its always locked for safety] but parent, carers, fellow practitioners are all welcomed and what you see is really what we are warts and all.

Nearly all of our 66 children are through recommendation or previous siblings attending.

I know your hoping to move into a new building, do you know when that might me ?, could that be your proposed selling point for the future and what this is going to offer families soon.

As in join us now and you are guaranteed your place in our new super facilities.

Wishing you every good luck.

bridger

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No we are not linked to any community organisation but employed by the local communication association.

 

We are charging £2 per day per session whereas the neighbouring playgroups are "free" in the sense that they are government funded although we are assuming they have to make a voluntary contribution to cover snack etc and do the normal fundraising over and above things.

 

We have no feedback from parents in the form of written questionnaires or anything like that. We opened with 3 year olds just to get us off the ground - there was only 1 who went to school in September the remaining children returned in September for the coming year. There were children that left us in June which we knew about before they started and they had booked their place in the "free" playgroups in the neighbourhood.

 

We only opened in January this year so have no reports or whatever. Our registering authority has told us to focus on our strengths and promote this rather than focusing on the possibility of getting free places although our community association is still pursuing this aspect. Hence my desire to try and advertise us "correctly".

 

Only being open since January and having establised a Parents Group our communication is I feel very good although we have heard whispers that we need to pick up on what is happening in parents lives outside of the Playgroup. What I mean is that recently one of our parents went on holiday for a week and took her child to his grandparents so he wasn't with us having only started a couple of weeks before this. We were conscious of him coming back and settling back in so focused on that aspect on his first day but mum took offence that we hadn't asked about her holiday! Another mum actually asked me if this particular mum had a problem with her because despite her saying hello every morning she never received any reply or even the mum turned her head away from her. So what do we take from this? Is it our place to be "overly friendly", go out of our way to personally ask each mum about their own lives or should we continue to do as we do - focus on the children and ensuring they are happy and settled coming into Playgroup every day.

 

I don't think we could put in that we have a friendly approach do you?

 

We don't take our children to local parks etc as we have to be accompanied by one parent for every child who comes and a lot of our parents work so it means taking a day off to do this.

 

So we are shooting ourselves in the foot in this advertisement plan do you think?

 

:o I'm going to be frank here...if your response to parents (who we are suposed to be working in partnership with) is as negative and full of reasons why you cant do things as your response here when...then I can see why they feel your setting unfriendly. xD Accepting parents and their lives as part of the life of a setting is important because they are the MOST important part of their children's lives.

Edited by enuffsenuf
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Hi

 

As a practitioner part of building up a relationship with the child is also knowing the parent and so although 'mum' may not be someone you relate to or like even you have to put on your 'game' face and smile sweetly and say good morning and ask 'how are you today' even if you don't really care but they may just say something that helps you deal with their child later on in the day.

 

We used to work with a new group for a few weeks before allocating the children a key worker and sometimes as staff we would ask to avoid a child as we didn't warm to the parent...it is key to talk to the parent of your key worker children frequently and get as much information as you give and if that rapport/liking each other is there it makes life much easier.

 

I agree the children are your main focus but for the 15mins hand over at the beginning and end of the day you deal with the parents they must be valued just as much as the little ones. If you build good relationships with them and have them on your side it makes life much easier in the long run.

 

If you have a member of staff who is very good at meeting and greeting and making small talk with these parents as they arrive then use that person to be the friendly welcoming face of the group....part of good management is to identify the staffs skills and use them accordingly.

 

Keep going....you are working so hard to reflect and learn that in the near future you really are going to reap the rewards of all your efforts.

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I agree the children are your main focus but for the 15mins hand over at the beginning and end of the day you deal with the parents they must be valued just as much as the little ones. If you build good relationships with them and have them on your side it makes life much easier in the long run.

 

Couldn't have put it better myself! :o

 

A warm greeting, with a big smile is very important and making time for a bit of 'small talk' goes a long way too!

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My parents spend as much time chatting to me in my office as they do handing over and collecting their children. I love it and keep the kettle on permanently, and in the long run it actually makes working with the children eaier as you know where they are coming from. Definetly one of my settings unique selling points and one which often appears on the parental quality questionnaire.

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