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Early years business support

Starting and running any business is challenging. We can provide guidance and support to access tools and resources which childcare providers may find useful to run a successful, high quality and sustainable early years childcare business.

Find out if there's a demand for your childcare business

We undertake an annual childcare sufficiency assessment to identify any areas where there may be a gap in the market.

For a more localised analysis, our sufficiency team can provide a sufficiency assessment of the need for childcare in your area. The assessment takes account of the current childcare market.

For further information, please email:

Although the data can provide an indication of the sufficiency of provision in an area, it's advisable to undertake your own market research to further establish if there is demand.

Market research

In a marketplace where there is a growing selection of flexible, affordable and accessible childcare services on offer, it's important that you undertake your own market research.

As well as providing you with an indication of the demand, market research is also an important tool to ensure your setting is meeting the needs of parents and carers in your area.

You can search our families information service to locate existing provision within a specified area to see what other providers in your area offer.


Marketing creates opportunities to:

  • fill vacant places
  • promotes how unique your setting is
  • deliver the short and long term objectives of the plans you have for your business
  • raise awareness of what you offer with existing and potential parents and carers to positively influence their decision to find out more about your provision

You'll need to make sure parents and carers are aware of the services you offer, hours of opening, costs, activities, pick up and drop-offs, security, facilities, location, any unique selling points.

Successful and well-planned marketing means knowing;

  • who your parents and carers are
  • where they are
  • how to access them through social media and with eye-catching marketing materials

To support marketing around the government childcare offers please use the communications toolkit.

You're also encouraged to update the information held by families information service and ensure that the following points are updated termly. This information is available to parents when searching the families information service portal and is free marketing of your provision:

  • vacancies
  • prices
  • SEN availability and experience
  • school pickup and drop off
  • description about themselves and their setting
  • what age ranges they take

Financial forecasting

Financial planning and management are important business-related activities for operating any successful childcare provision. Ongoing monitoring of your finances supports with identifying any financial concerns which may arise with your setting and helps you to operate a viable business.

Business planning

A business plan is a clear, concise, professional document. It details the aims and objectives of your organisation, setting out how you plan to manage, deliver, develop, and sustain your provision.

Business planning is therefore an essential process that helps you to react to challenges and adapt to new circumstances.

Having a good business plan will enable you to identify not only where you want your business to be but also how you are going to get there.


To achieve long term sustainability in the childcare sector you need to ensure you are:

  • providing good quality childcare
  • communicating with parents
  • managing employees
  • handling administration
  • making sure that the business generates sufficient income to cover costs and make a surplus

Guidance from Department of Education

The Department of Education has provided insights from successful providers, which may help you to continue to provide high quality early years care and education over the long term and meet the changing needs of local parents.

They also have support and guidance for early years providers of all sizes to build sustainable and successful businesses to help you access the business support you need.

More information and support

There are other organisations that can offer guidance and support:

If you'd like more information please contact the early years team, email