Today’s topic is part four in this multi-part series of marketing a business from scratch. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure how many parts there are going to be. But there are going to be quite a few. The reason is that I want to give all the steps of the process of marketing a business from scratch. These steps follow a logical order that I have followed for every company that I’ve started or I’ve advised. 

Our focus today is on building a painted picture for our childcare center. To recap:

Painting The Picture

A painted picture is a document that is going to look three years into the future and it’s going to be in my opinion, the most impactful document that you’ve ever written for your company. 

I’m going to walk you through step by step how to execute this. And what you’re doing is you’re bringing the future into the present, so that you can act upon it now. Based on what I found out, the best way to ensure your future happens is to put every single thing down on paper, as you imagine it folding out.

The Purpose

Now, the big difference here is that this document has nothing to do with the execution. This is not the “how do you make this happen?” but rather the “what is going to happen?” which is a pretty huge distinction. Our future episodes will talk about reverse engineering numbers and that’s going to be much more tactical.

However, today is more of the “what” than the “how”. What I love about this document is that it can be provided to potential team members or current team members as you start to hire. You can even broadcast it to the universe if you like.

Now the Asterix that I would provide there is that sometimes these documents are insanely confidential. So, you might not necessarily want to broadcast everything. But, here’s what I found is that when I started sharing this with people, people started to magically want to come in and help me make things a reality. 

Where You’re Heading

Now the other thing that I realized is that I have a terrible problem keeping things in my head. I don’t necessarily share everything that I’m thinking of. This is where I want to see things headed and then I just assume that my team is essentially a mind reader. So I would have all these ideas in my head and things that I would love to see happen, but I was never communicating these to anyone. So how could they make all these happen if I wasn’t communicating? 

If I was opening up a preschool childcare center from scratch, here are some of the things that I would include in this painted picture. 

  • What your child care center looks like three years from today

The trick here is that you’re gonna write this document as if it already happened. For example, you might say something like, the last three years have been nothing short of amazing—the results that we produced for our owners, the impact we made on the families and kids, and our team—were off the charts. Our culture kept us united and this painted picture kept us aligned. Our rally cry of wanting to be the best childcare center on the planet could be seen in everything that we did.

So that’s just an example of how you could start it. And then in this first section, you’re going to just give an overview of all of the things that happened. For example, you could say that you opened up X amount of locations, you had an amazing team, you’re just going to list out all the different things that happened three years from today.

  • List out your offerings

Are you again catering to all different types of families? What are you offering? What does your pricing look like? Are there any other products or services or things like that? Did you offer after-school care? I mean, what are all the different things that you did? Another section could be on giving back. How are you giving back to the community? Is it by doing community events? Are you offering scholarships to the less fortunate?

  • Brand

What is the brand of your childcare? And we’re going to talk about that one in the next episode in the next step in the process. But was there one brand or multiple brands? And what did that look like? You’re going to talk about the type of systems and processes. 

And again, you don’t have to have everything figured out. However, if you take a step back and think for a few hours, not 15 or 30 minutes, but a few hours, you’re gonna be able to start to envision the type of company or the type of childcare center that you want to have. Envision the number of families you want to impact, what your brand looks like, how much money you’re making, how much profit, how big is your business, the type of care that you’re providing—all of that stuff is already in your head. 

If it’s not in your head, then I’m really not sure why you would be going down the path of opening up that business, or in this case, opening up that childcare center. You don’t just open up a business for the sake of opening up a business. 

I want you to have that painted picture or vivid vision of what this looks like, in the best-case scenario. What I don’t want you to do is I don’t want you to start getting in your head saying, well, these aren’t going to happen or it’s not going to happen. 

Crafting Your Painted Picture

All that I’m looking for you to do in this document, is to again, list everything out—as if it already happened. Three years from today, list out everything that you want to see come true. It’s like that cliché phrase of all your dreams coming true. If all your dreams come true for this business, what does it look like? How does it feel?

Are you helping hundreds of families, are you helping thousands of families, and again, I don’t want you to say well, thousands I can’t even imagine. If you want to help thousands of families and that is what you envision, then you need to document that down. An example would be, “the last three years were nothing short of amazing.

We opened up 10 childcare centers across Rochester, New York, each serving about 100 families. And it’s been an amazing ride.”

Final Words

This document then is going to be leveraged as the high-level document and then action plans and things like that will start to come after. But in this case, you’re going to execute this document, you’re going to get it done so that when you’re looking to hire when you’re building out your brand or when you’re looking to make decisions, you can refer back to this document to make sure it’s in alignment with what you’re thinking.

Get out there, make a change, and take some action.