Look at local options for advertising your setting: Newsagents, local shops, Netmums, facebook. Try to be inventive and make your setting have irresistible curb appeal! Don't just rely on word of mouth - one unfortunate incident can have damaging effects, as it is almost impossible to stop people talking about it. For long term sustainability, you need a waiting list & a strong reliable budget in place.

Do you have a website? Do any of your parents run a marketing company, web design?

Are you in school grounds? Ask for a page on the school's website. However, make sure you keep it up to date!

Get someone to be a mystery shopper - what is their first impression of your setting? Who was their first contact with you? Were they made to feel welcome? I know it sounds funny, but what does your setting smell like when you walk in? What does it look like really? How noisy is it? Are the children engaged in their play or are you the most exciting thing they've seen all day?

How do the staff answer the phone?

Get feedback from parents who join your setting & also those that choose not to - why was it that they chose someone else? Location & price are usually deciding factors with most families but some families will travel for good quality.

Unique selling point

Does your setting have one? What makes it different from the setting down the road? How does everyone know about it? Sell yourself!!!!

Mission statement

A "statement of the purpose of a company or organisation, its reason for existing. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides "the framework or context within which the company's strategies are formulated." (from Wikipedia)

Is everyone, especially staff and committee aware of it? Does it form part of their appraisal? How do parents get to know about it? Is everyone singing from the same hymn sheet?


What are the fundamental values of your setting? Why are you here? What do you want to achieve? Sometimes, it's a good idea to re-look at what your setting is, what it has become and where you want it to go, as it maybe that your vision and values that were set 30 years ago are no longer valid and everyone needs an input to update it or to re-affirm it.