As of this writing, there is only one Center Stage in physical existence, but when I refer to it in my journal or notes, I write CSA, Center Stage Ashburn. I specify “Ashburn” because I KNOW that I will open many others, and it reminds me of my goal to grow bigger than just one location. And so, this morning, I was making a list of all my businesses and projects and creating my weekly action plan for each, and I got to add something completely new to the list! CSL…Center Stage Lansdowne! The possible second location!
Here’s a quick rundown.
I received a call from a realtor about two weeks ago out of the blue, and she said she knew we were new and up and coming, and heard that we were interested in growing into additional locations. I agreed to meet with her and her partner last Friday, and a week later, they brought me to the site of a closed down child care facility in the neighboring city of Lansdowne. And it’s absolutely perfect.
The original buildout was done by a national child care chain about three years ago, and apparently there were four partners whose relationship went south, and so the franchise folded. Then last year, another chain, smaller, took it over, but unfortunately went out of business within the year. And now, here I stand. Ready to step up to the plate and conquer the world.
So what makes me think I will do it differently and better?
- Marketing. I’d like to think I am a better marketer than either of the chains that tried to run it. I am a better storyteller, and I know how to use my personality with video and other mediums to connect with our audience, and drive people to our school. I say this fro the experience that I’ve had over the last year…the only marketing that I see from really ANY child care provider is direct mail. Nothing else. No creativity, nothing that truly catches you.
- Operations. The operations at CSA are on point. We have ironed out how to run a successful child care center. Our systems are in place, from hiring the right team, to communicating correctly and effectively with parents, to complying with DSS, we are solid. We run a tight ship. And we will do it again.
- Interior design. It’s vitally important. Heather Carboneau is the director of the Ashburn location, but she is also responsible for the design and layout we currently have, and will be in charge of every center moving forward. When I brought her with me on Friday to see the place, we both cringed. The colors. The feel. It was awful. We both know that there was more inside the place when it was operating; however, you can’t hide ugly. We left and one of the first things she said to me was, “Did you noticed how crazy your insides felt walking through? Those colors are horrible. Now compare that to our facility where it makes you feel calm, soothed, and nurtured, and you will understand why I chose what I chose.” The reality is, people make buying decisions based on “feeling”, and if the feeling is wrong, then they buy somewhere else.
- Cash On Hand. I may not know the full story of the last two schools that made an attempt to build their business there, but I do know this: there are two main reasons that businesses go out of business. One, their monthly cash flow isn’t covering expenses, they have no money to pay their bills, and they fold. Two, their monthly cash flow isn’t covering expenses, they deplete their savings or have no other source of income, and they fold. Either way, they go out of business because they have no cash on hand. I sat at dinner once with a millionaire business coach and he looked at me and my friend Sam and said, “The biggest reason why businesses fail isn’t a lack of ideas, it’s a lack of cash. Something happens in the marketplace, they take a hit, and they don’t have enough liquid cash to recover or wait it out.” So for a new business, “something happening in the marketplace” means “you’re brand new.” And you absolutely must plan for that. Most companies are turning profit within the first 2-5 years. So if your savings (cash on hand) isn’t big enough, you might not make the cut. How will CSL be different? Investor funds. I will raise enough capital to go into it and turn it into a beautiful Center Stage preschool, and I will also secure enough funds to keep in reserve in order to weather through the first few years. And simultaneously create a lucrative opportunity for my investors.
And, who knows? Maybe this coming week I will learn something about the property that makes me want to turn my nose up to it. Maybe there’s a bigger reason that I’m unaware of, that has caused two preschools to come and go. Maybe I have it all wrong, I know nothing, and I’m about to be schooled.
Or maybe…just maybe, the universe built this building for me. And it’s been waiting. For Center Stage. For us. For right now 🙂