Small business professionals all consider their clients valuable. The customers of My Small Business Pro client West Town Daycare, though, are especially precious: they’re the children the business cares for every day.
West Town Daycare provides childcare for kids from 6 weeks old to school age. While the clientele of this play-based daycare is somewhat unique among Chicago small businesses (and among the most adorable), they face some very common challenges. We chatted with Azra Hodzic, owner and primary care provider, about what makes her business special, and how MSBP helped them iron out some kinks.
Please tell us a little bit about WTD—what services you provide, the audience you serve, and the talented people that make up the staff.
WTD is a play-based nurturing daycare. We provide child care from ages 6 weeks to school-age children. My team is made up of some amazing women. We have a preschool teacher who is dedicated, passionate and creative. She does an amazing job at following the children’s interests and provides them with fun activities that expand their learning. Our toddler teacher is kind and energetic. She is always managing to keep up with the toddler’s energy level but can also magically get them to settle down and relax while she reads to them. Our infant teacher is sweet and patient. She has this ability to soothe them almost instantly. She plans age-appropriate activities and gives the babies lots of fun experiences. Our amazing chef plans a healthy, organic and seasonal menu with fun, exciting flavors. We have two more support staff that helps us with everything from crafts, meal times and closing routines.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The most enjoyable part of my role is watching the children play and develop social emotional skills; it melts my heart. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes opens up adventures I never thought were possible. There isn’t another career in the world where so many people are so happy to see you every single time you enter the room.
What sets you apart from other companies doing (or trying to do) the same thing?
We focus on building relationships with families in our care. We really believe it takes a village to raise a child and we work hard to be that village.
Tell us about your new location that is opening in a couple of months. What made you decide to expand and will the services between the two differ in any way?
The second location is in a store front about five times larger than our current location. Our main reason for opening the second location is to serve more families in our community. There has been such a lack of quality early education programs in our neighborhood. We’ve seen some drastic changes in the recent years. More families are moving in and need a safe, nurturing space for their children. The services will be very similar where we are focused on each individual child and their specific needs, but also on family involvement and building lasting relationships.
What were some of your biggest obstacles in getting your company off the ground?
Finding the right space that was large enough but not too far from the neighborhood that we love. When we started, we didn’t face too many obstacles. I took time to research and prepare myself to open a child care facility.
Let’s talk about life before MSBP—what was your financial situation, and what were some of your finance-related challenges?
It was a mess. A HOT MESS. I didn’t realize how negatively not having my financials in order would affect me until we were trying to purchase a property for the second location.
How has MSBP helped you since you started working together?
MSBP helped me by fixing years’ worth of bookkeeping errors and getting me switched over to QuickBooks online. Also, Daliah is patient and taught me how to use QB; before, I wasn’t even able to sign in. It is now something I use on a regular basis to keep track of budgets, invoices
What challenges have you faced since you first started the business? Is there anything that MSBP is doing to help you meet those challenges?
We faced a lot of challenges when we were working with a few banks in order to purchase a property for the second location. The banks asked for financial reports that I had no idea how to prepare. Now everything is up to date and MSBP is always available to help me find any reports that I might need.
What are your business’s goals for the future (both short- and long-term)?
We want to continue to grow and expand so we can serve more families in different communities.
What would you say to a small business professional who hasn’t yet engaged with a financial services outfit like MSBP?
Do it! It makes the world of difference in your stress levels especially around tax time.
Ready to talk to My Small Business Pro about what we can do for your company’s financial health? Reach out to me at Daliah@MySmallBusinessPro.com today!