Nursery Management: Case Study - Building a brand

The downturn has favoured Dizzy Ducks Day Nursery, which is expanding its business, reports Karen Faux.

Dizzy Ducks Day Nursery - which currently operates two sites and is inthe process of acquiring a third - says that the banking crisis ishelping, rather than hindering, business.

'In our area of Essex, from where it is easy to commute into the city,we are seeing more parents going back to work to help with thefinances,' says nursery owner Sian Nisbett. 'Demand for full daycare isgrowing and parents are looking for top-quality provision.'

Ms Nisbett, who originally worked as an accountant, got into the nurserybusiness after she had her first daughter. Dissatisfied with most of thenursery services on offer, she then decided to set up her own children'sdaycare business.

This first nursery, which is located next to Buttsbury Infant School,caters for up to 30 children. Ms Nisbett describes it as an 'intimate'setting. In contrast to this, the second nursery, located within thegrounds of Mayflower High School, is spacious, with a large outdoorarea, and accommodates up to 56 children at any one time.

A big selling point for both of these nurseries is the fact that theyare open for more hours than the local competition and allow forparents' travelling time into the capital.

The third nursery will be another small proposition, and as it has beenestablished for a number of years, Ms Nisbett does not intend toradically change anything. 'From a business point of view, it does nothave to be a huge money maker,' she says. 'The priority for us is toextend awareness of our brand in Essex.'

The expansion of the business provides a good opportunity for staff toprogress. Ms Nisbett currently employs 47 practitioners and intends toemploy an additional ten at the new site. 'A member of staff in ourfirst nursery will be moving over to manage the third,' says Ms Nisbett.'We have good staff retention, and promoting someone to the new sitegets the message over to all our staff that there are lots ofopportunities to grow with our business.'

Ms Nisbett says she values the strong rapport she has with the workingmothers who use her nurseries, and it all adds to Dizzy Ducks' goodreputation.

'They appreciate that I am a working mother myself and they relate tome. By the same token I understand they want the best for theirchildren, and they know they can always ask me for advice.'

She adds, 'We have created an environment where it is apparent that allthe staff are here because they really want to be. Parents feelconfident that staff have got to know their children and genuinely enjoybeing part of their lives.'

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