Planning Your Grand Reopening in a Post-Coronavirus World
Think back to the weeks leading up to the opening of your childcare business. You spent long days and nights equipping your classrooms, arranging furniture, and creating signage. Once we emerge from this crisis, your business will have a second grand opening. Now is the time to prepare for its success.
You have an opportunity to look at your school from the perspective of a touring family in a post-coronavirus world. There will be new normals, a gradual re-entry to how we lived before, and maybe even permanent changes that will stick with society as a result of this pandemic.
As you consider how this will influence how you do business, consider spending time on these important things.
Prepare your building.
There are simple DIY improvements that can be made while your building is empty and they don’t need to be expensive or complicated. Create a list of what needs to be done and then determine if it can be done safely, while practicing social distancing, using the resources you have. Here’s a list to start with:
- Repair wall imperfections
- Paint rooms or an accent wall in rooms
- Reorganize centers in rooms, replacing broken toys and games
- Deep-clean key areas including the entryway, bathrooms, and kitchen
- Organize and declutter the office and lobby
- Polish floors throughout the school
- Shampoo or replace carpets
- Clean the windows
- Landscape the entry exterior for curb appeal
- Make playground repairs
Stage each room and take photos.
Home improvement television has proven the huge impact that staging a home can make in real estate sales. Use the same concepts to stage each classroom and common area in your school with a purpose: to draw in families when they tour. Focus on making each space feel inviting for families so they can picture their child with you.
Once the staging is complete, take photos of each space and use them to update your website and marketing materials. A professional photographer may not be in the budget nor does it comply with social distancing rules. There are many resources, including this one, that offer basic principles of DIY real estate photography using an iPhone. After this crisis, virtual tours may be a new normal in the childcare industry, and staged photos will serve that purpose well.
Consider ways to reinvent your service offering.
This global pandemic is a big social experiment in how we adapt our lives to work within a new normal. Businesses are predicting all the ways that we’ll change after the crisis is over, and childcare is no exception. Here are few thought-starters; consider if any of these apply to your business and community and use them as a launching pad.
What new health and safety measures will you add into your operation as a result of this pandemic?
Will families expect a new level of virtual connection with your school? What does that look like for your school community?
Will your school tours change once you re-open? Do you have a plan and method to offer virtual tours? Are there new health and safety topics that should be incorporated into each tour conversation?
Prepare for this grand reopening with all the same enthusiasm and attention to detail that you did your first one. None of us can control the duration of this pandemic or the childcare business closures. Focusing on the things we can control – like planning for the eventual recovery – will help our own well-being and the well-being of our industry.
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