Many of us like to set goals for different areas of our professional and personal lives. As you set goals for 2011, be sure to include those for marketing and enrollment building in your early care and education business.  Here are some tips for making your goals clear and achievable:

  1. Write them down. I agree with what Mark Victor Hansen, my speaking colleague and co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, says about goal setting, “Don’t think them, ink them!” Once down in writing, you have a blueprint to follow and a guideline to check your progress throughout the year. Remember the study of Harvard graduates that found that those few graduates who wrote down their goals year after year made more money than all the others in the study combined!
  1. Make them specific. When you note your goals for enrollment growth or capacity utlilization, be specific. How many toddlers, school-agers, infants? If you offer revenue-generating ancillary services such as dance classes or dinners-to-go, what are your goals for revenue generation in each of those areas? Break it down into goals per month and/or quarter of the year, if that makes it more achievable for you. Then go beyond enrollment growth and maintenance to specific marketing actions. Will you implement an inquiry and conversion tracking system? Will you update your website? When and how often? How many community events will you attend? Which ones? How many positive articles about your center or company will you generate to help you cost-efficiently market your image and generate inquiries? What will your volunteer role in the industry be this year? Will you do a new center brochure, start a customer appreciation program, run local ads, get a new sign, market your pending center accreditation? Think carefully about what, when and where, and note it.
  1. Mark them with a “V”. When you accomplish a goal, go back to your original list and put a big “V” right beside it, for Victory. Each victory will help motivate you to work on the next one. Challenge yourself to getting so many goal victories per quarter. (Another reason it’s important to have them written down.)
  1. Examine what’s holding you back. If you’re great at writing down a certain goal, but never seem to get there, take a close look at what’s been holding you back in the past. If you get lots of center visits, but not as many enrollments as you want even though you have a quality program, terrific staff, and qualified prospects; what could be the cause? Could it be discomfort with asking a closing question, procrastination on follow up that causes the prospect to go elsewhere, registration or payment methods that need to be restructured to make it easier to enroll, or something else? Once you identify what’s keeping you from your goal, make it a new goal to work on overcoming that stumbling block and freeing yourself to achieving. Seek out people and resources to help you, if necessary. If you do not already own a copy of  The Enrollment Building Success Library, that is a great place to start. Call or email me if you need one.
  1. Review and revise. Set your goals knowing that as the year progresses, you may change them to adjust to your situation. This is not the same as reducing them because you just didn’t get around to it. This is adjustments, based on opportunity or uncontrollable situations. Maybe a corporation opened near your center, you sold them an employer sponsored child care program, and now you need to adjust your enrollment goals. Maybe one of your family members became ill, and you need to adjust your business goals to delegate more marketing actions so you can give more attention to personal needs. Whatever your situation, it’s a good idea to review your goals quarterly, making adjustments where needed – and of course, count all the “V’s” you’ve been able to achieve thus far.

Setting goals and then working to achieve them is an effective way to help you get motivated and to jump start your efforts on all those marketing actions you need to put to work in your center and the surrounding community!

Good luck and Happy marketing!

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
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