‘Discover, Learn & Grow’ Cultivates the Classroom | Small Business Revolution – Main Street: S2E7

‘Discover, Learn & Grow’ Cultivates the Classroom | Small Business Revolution – Main Street: S2E7


– [Narrator] On this episode of Small Business Revolution – Main Street, Discover, Learn and Grow
is an early learning center and one of the newest businesses in town. – Being new to the community, a lot of people don’t
know that we’re here. It’s kinda hard. – [Narrator] Can the Small
Business Revolution team help make them a lasting
part of this town? – The first thing you have
to help is the business. – [Narrator] And, will the
owners learn to value themselves as much as the community does? – Right away we said we’ve got
to rebuild this from scratch. – [Narrator] Small towns across America are fighting for their survival with the odds stacked against them, but what happens if we join that fight? – The Small Business Revolution
– Main Street makeover … – [Reporter] The second year
in a row for the competition. – [Reporter] One community is getting a half a million dollar makeover. – Thousands of small cities
and towns taking part … – [Narrator] What started as an idea became a national movement
with over a million votes cast throughout the country
and finally one winner. (cheering) – Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. – The bureau will get grants,
publicity, and advice. – [Reporter] The town went all
out to win the competition. – I know I voted. – [Narrator] Now, marketing
expert Amanda Brinkman and her team at Deluxe are going to work for the people of Bristol
Borough, Pennsylvania and they brought along
entrepreneur Robert Herjavec and a cast of small business experts to help revitalize the town. – [Reporter] This is a story we’ve been following all summer long. – [Reporter] Bristol Borough residents hoping for that big boost. – [Narrator] Every
episode, we’ll be working with a new small business. Bringing marketing
expertise, financial advice, and decades of experience,
strengthening the town’s economy, one business at a time. The team has only a few short months to see if they can change the odds. If together we can start a revolution. (music) (slow music) – I really do love my job. To have them read for the first time. To have them say oh I love you. To see them embracing each other, it shows that you have an
impact on the children. It’s just in the joys of seeing these little people grow up. That makes it all worth it. – Ready, count to ten. (children counting) I was a teacher in the Philadelphia school district for 25 years, and I saw that upon entry of kindergarten, children that did not have
the strong academic piece as well as the social
piece, they come in behind. They then began to feel less important or they begin to not
have as much self esteem. That is what really drove me to begin a early learning center. We started Discover, Learn
and Grow, October 2016. – When I graduated college
she had started the school so when I came home I
figured why not stay home and help and get to work together. Being raised we were
always a close family, we always stuck together. – This is really a family venture. We’ll do it all together from the finances to even setting up. – When you step foot in
here and you see the kids meet you at the steps and
they’re jumping up and down and they’re screaming, and
they have so much excitement you can only help but to
mirror that excitement. It’s happy, you know, no worries spot. – I get greeted by kids every morning. My children, other children, “Oh good morning CeCe’s and
Caty’s dad, how you doin?” It’s like one big happy family. – The kids don’t see color,
they all love each other, they want to play with each other, they can’t wait for each other to come. If one’s missing they ask about them. – My daughter love it
there, she love going there, and she actually cries when
she don’t get to go there. – The children, they get
that, you know even when you wanna say, now go to time
out, they’ll do something and make you wanna say, I’m
not laughing, but you’re really laughing, like really. Okay go get the toys from the clock room. How bout you Simon what do you wanna do? Our children today are
demanded to know so much so we do a lot of reading
readiness activities with the children as well as the math readiness, as well as play. (indistinct talking) – We also try to incorporate
them into the community. We do community walks, let them appreciate this is where you’re
from, these are the people that you’re gonna live with and grow with. So it’s not just sticking
them with abc’s and numbers. We try to grow them into respectable kids. – [Ramona] Say thank you. – [Girl] Thank you. – Guys look at that. – Any of you guys know who this is? – [Boy] Harriet Tubman. – We try to, at a reasonable
price, give you great service. We want them to be safe, you
know, learn, have a good time and grow, we feel like that should be affordable to everyone. It’s kinda hard being
new to the community, a lot of people don’t
know that we’re here. Getting our name out
there, letting people know what we do, what services we offer, and just building that
trust with the community. That’s one big challenge. – Well said. – Discover, Learn and Grow
has a beautiful mission and Ramona and Marcelous are
incredible with those kids, but teaching children
and running a business are two totally different skill sets. So I’m meeting up with
them at one of my favorite Bristol Borough business,
Calm Waters Coffee. To see if we can turn things around. What’s it like working with your son? Should we talk about him
like he’s not even there. If we go like this, he can’t see us. – He has so much to offer
and his relationship with the kids is great and they love him. – Did you always want to go
into early childhood learning? – You know, like growing up
my whole goal was to please my parents so, my mom and my dad, so I couldn’t see myself
working anywhere else. Trying to help her live out her vision so. – How do you guys split up the duties between the two of you? – I do more of the academic
piece and the structure. – She’s kinda teaching me
the financial part of it and what needs to be done, so. – That’s the area I’m trying
to let him have control of. The realistic thing of it is
that you need to make sure that there’s a constant income coming in. – Is it harder to keep
those two things in balance, the heart and the mission
and the running the books? – Yes, because you know we
want to see the families come together, we want
to make it affordable, but a lot of times that
doesn’t cover the bills and the and the payments that we need to. – What I love is you’re
doing so much more than just caring for children while
their parents are at work. Just because perhaps their
parents can’t afford a certain level of education they
shouldn’t be denied it. So it’s wonderful that your solving for that right here in Bristol Borough. – Thank you. So, making ends meet,
there’s always bills to pay. – You know we’re, I don’t want
to say pay check to pay check but in a sense it kind of is. – There’s always things
that you have to do and you just learn how to prioritize. You have to put up with a loud refrigerator for a little bit. Any weekend events we
try, everyone’s here, my daughter, my
daughter-in-law, and my sons and stuff so there there for the weekend and just to have everybody sacrificing it just makes it more worth it. My husband just thinks he’s
a handyman so he comes. – Comes in and sweeps and cleans. – But at the end of the
day if I can help a parent make it affordable for a child to come then come on and I’ll
deal with the finances. And really it’s who we are. – How many kids do you need at the center to break even as a business,
and by breaking even, I’m including your salaries in that. Because you should be paying yourselves. – I would say 20. – 20 full time. – And you’re at six now, okay
so we gotta get that to 20. Mission accepted. The more we learn about
early childhood development the more we find out
just how important it is. Those first years are a huge
part of why so many kids from low income families fall behind. And Bristol Borough is a
working class community, where seven out of ten
students qualifying for free or discounted lunches, so what Discover, Learn and Grow
does is vital to this town. So we’re bring in Ron McGuckin to help make sure they succeed. Ron provides legal and
administrative counsel to early learning centers
all over the country and we would’ve gone across
the country to find him, if his office didn’t happen
to be two blocks away. Hi, Ramona, how are you? Ron is also practical
in a way that’ll balance out Marcelous and Ramona’s all heart approach to running the business. He isn’t overly sentimental
or as he says it, he loves kids, in theory. – I’m curious about how you
determined what you charge. – The price is based
on what suggested price that is given to providers in the area. So that you make yourself
affordable or reasonable so that. – I get that you gotta fit
within the economic structure of the community but I’m
talking about the cost to care for one child for one day. I’m talking about what it’s costing you to run your facility, to pay you salaries, to pay your insurance, all of those costs, because you might be selling your services for less than what it’s
actually costing you. – Right. – I think quality should
cost people something, but you need to know what it costs first. – What we loved about
Discover, Learn and Grow is the fact that you don’t want resources to be the barrier to
education for those children. Can she look at something
like scholarship options? – Absolutely, certain exceptions
for categories of people that might need assistance. – Interesting, I’m taking notes as well. – She’s writing it down. – Well it must be important. (laughing) Do you charge late fees
if the parents are late? – We do charge a late fee. – Can I ask what that is? – $1 a minute per child. – Okay so that’s cheap,
right now a lot of agencies that charge $5 a minute. – Wow. – Do you charge a security deposit? – No. – Most agencies in
Pennsylvania take a two week security deposit, so that
if the parents do get behind you’re not chasing the money. If they can’t pay after two weeks then it’s, you know, bye bye. – Yeah, it’s hard. – I’m a lawyer. – And that’s where I have
to get a little tougher so that’s where I’m having him, he’s gonna have to pick up that. Because I’ve had experiences. – You’re gonna be good cop, bad cop. (laughing) – But that’s one of the
things I’ve been guilty at because we’ve had parents
who will come and say, “Oh I’ll bring, I’ll pay tomorrow.” – Right, tomorrow doesn’t come. – We see this with so many business owners that we work with. You have a heart for what
you’re bringing to the community and to these families but
you are running a business and so you gotta. – You gotta do it. – I know that’s fine. – The way I like to approach it is, you that you have to
get yourself to a place where you can afford to be generous, to be able to say, I
understand your situation, I’ll give you more time, but in the mean time, it’s business. Which kind of brings me to the point of how do you see yourself
differing from other early learning centers that are
right here in the Borough? Okay, that was a question,
that was for you guys. – What are your differentiators? How is it different, when
you’re trying to convince someone if they say well I don’t know how are you different from
than this one over here. What would you instinctively say is different about this place? – So just looking at the whole child, being able to take them
from where he is and moving him on to prepare him for school age. – I wanted you guys to be more
passionate about it though. – That wasn’t passionate enough? – No, it was articulate,
when you’re talking about differentiators and when
you’re convincing people to come here, they have to hear your passion for the kids and the education. What are you bringing that
no one else is bringing. And so you gotta let that come through. I mean we’ll make it, we’ll
make sure it shows up online, but what I wanna encourage
you, when you’re out there talking to these parents
is let them see how much you care about these kids
and we can work with you two on kind of an elevator pitch, we call it. How to talk about your mission, what they can expect to hear
in a short amount of time. You wanna be able to say
in two or three sentences so they’re left with that impression. – A lot to do, a lot more to learn. I didn’t know that and
I should’ve known that. – There was a lot of information but it’s information that we needed to hear and gives us positive outlook. It has to change to be successful, so I think that it will help us out. – Right. – I wanna make sure that
they’ve thought through their strategy of how they’re
going to approach outreach. Are they gonna go to
churches, are they gonna go to businesses, are they gonna
go to First Friday events, how will they introduce
Discover, Learn and Grow to this community in a bigger way, because right now they’re kinda waiting for people to come to them. – They have all the right
bones already in place. I think they have a
great chance for success. I’d put my money on them, and
I’m not even a betting guy. – Our work over the next few months, is basically going to
fall into two categories. One, telling people about the business. That’s mostly going to be
our job as a marketing team. And two, getting the numbers to add up, which is their job as owners. But Ramona and Marcelous
didn’t have answers to a lot of the financial questions Ron raised. So we’re bringing them
to Deluxe to meet with me and Robert Herjavec
for some more tough love and a deeper look at the books. – We’re excited to head to Deluxe and meet with the team and everybody. – Can’t wait to see you. We’re very excited, a little nervous. Anticipating some tough love, but we’re here to learn all we can. – I think we should be on the right track. – [All] Hi. – [Ramona] How are you? – Good, nice to see you. What’s the name of the business? – Discover, Learn and Grow Center. – It’s a autobody shop. – Absolutely not, early learning center. – And what do you charge,
tell me how you charge. – We have, our rates, our average
is about like $150 a week. – Per kid. – Yes, our capacities at 22 kids. – So that’s $3,000 a week. – [Amanda] If they’re at capacity. – Oh you’re not at capacity? – No. – Okay, where are you at? – We have 12 full time kids. – Wait, say that again, since SBR, you’ve doubled the amount of kids? – Yes, we have six new
students that are starting since we’ve been on Mill Street, since we’ve been working with you guys. – That’s really good. – The only thing about that
is, is that we have children who are flexible, so we have
kids who are two days a week and some parents only come half day. So, even though you may
say you have 12 kids, they’re not paying that full price. – Why do you allow that? – Trying to meet the needs of the parents, we allow the flexible rates. – So you have 12 already, out of the 12, how many are full time? – 10 are full time, two are part time. – So the data tells me, the flex rate only attracted two people. You know today, because
you need the revenue, sure let’s take everybody,
but I think you have to tell people that, look we’re
gonna do it for now, but when we get to a full time basis, we may not be able to
take flex rates anymore. How can they add other income? – The space is beautiful,
there was another child oriented, it was a play center before you bought it right? – Yes. – So, you could have birthday parties, and then use the same kind of math, like over time how many of
those would you have to run to get it to a point where it’s generating what you need it to. It’s not just a additional
revenue, which it can be, but it can also be crazy lead generation. I mean if it’s full of kids
around the age that you want. This would be the math exercise
that you two should do, where do you need to
take your rates in order to get to where you need it to be? So for instance, what are
you monthly fixed costs? – Per month it’s around
$4500, just under $4500. – But we do have to have more
employees based on your ratio. – And what does each full
time person cost you? – $1200, biweekly. – You would need at least
four full time at 22. – So you need four full time staff? – Yes. – Including you guys? – Including us. – So an extra two. – Yes. – Assuming you’re not gonna pay yourself unless there’s a profit kinda thing. – Extra two, absolutely. – Alright so let me just
figure something out. You said $150 per kid, per week, times four, times 22, times 12. The maximum amount of
money that you can make on this location in sales is
$158,400, that’s your max. If you were at 100% capacity all year, you’re fixed cost is $4400 a month, so that’s $52,000 and each
full time person is costing you $2400 a month, times two is $57,600. So you’re basically gonna
be left with $40,000 in profit between the two of you. So you gotta pay tax on this, you’re gonna pay about 20%, $8,000, so you’re left with $32,000 to live on between the two of you. That’s what the business
can generate, max. – Your rates have to go up,
they absolutely have to go up. – If you raise your rates to $200, instead of the business
spitting out $40,000, it spits out $90,000. – Oh I see. – So now after tax, you’re
each making $40,000 a year. You can live on that well in
Bristol, compared to $16,000. Now you can afford to get married. And you can afford to kick him out. (laughing) You guys are awesome,
like you’re so friendly, you have such a great energy about you. You have to raise your rates for sure, I don’t think that’s your challenge. – What’s my challenge? – The first thing you have
to help, is the business. You gotta get the strength,
the business has gotta get the strength and then you can
help those that need help. The promise land is 22 full spots, that’s what they have to focus on. – At the new rate, now it’s not down to how much should they charge someone, it’s how much do I need to charge someone to be able to run this business. – You have to be strong in your business and in your service before
you can help others. That was like a 30 second aha. – We’re not gonna be in
business much longer, we gotta really make some
changes and step it up. – [Amanda] With Ramona and
Marcelous heading back to Bristol to do their homework, it’s
time for us to make good on our end of the bargain,
helping Discover, Learn and Grow fill every spot in the center and that starts with
overhauling the website. – So when we first started to explore Discover, Learn and Grow online, the first thing we saw was
the website that they had. Right away we said we’ve gotta
rebuild this from scratch. – I’ve got two kids and my
wife and I are literally searching for a preschool right now, so content wise I wanna know
that my kids are gonna be safe. I wanna know that they’re gonna
work on letters and numbers. – The website did not
reflect that industry. In terms of building a
site, this is probably the biggest site of all the
businesses that are in Bristol. – A site can get people
to visit the preschool but it’s ultimately gonna be
up to Ramona to close the deal. She is working on
something that does’t come very naturally to her,
bragging a little bit, and selling parents on
all that she has to offer. These new parent pitches are
great practice for Ramona and they’re also providing
us with some really valuable information about how to craft the site. – This is a very heavy
researched type of service that parents need to know about. We talked about structuring the site that answers all of these questions that these customers are asking for. – It’s not like a repair shop,
it’s not like a restaurant that can build themselves up on reviews. Early learning centers
have to just create this tremendous amount of trust. – We’re putting a lot of time
and energy into this site so luckily Discover, Learn and Grow already has a great building
so we can focus on just a couple smaller items
that they’ve been wanting. – Inside, you don’t have
a lot of storage space, so we’re gonna put in some new storage. We’re gonna help them with a kitchenette. They don’t have a real actual
working kitchen right now. Put in some new appliances
and just help them retrofit the space a little bit. It’s already great, there’s
just some little things that they need that
would really help them. – That kitchenette makes that
building a more versatile space, which should open
up additional revenue opportunities and give them another way to find new customers. – Yeah, you can see there’s space. It’s perfect for kids’ birthday parties. – So we looked at some
kinda fun little party bags and went all bright colors,
put their logo on the bag. – A holiday card, would
be a great way to offer that gratitude to thank the
community, thank the parents. – All of these pieces are
going help Ramona and Marcelous get more kids in the building but as our back of the
napkin math quickly showed, they have to be charging those
families a sustainable rate. – So have you guys been
able to make any progress on a few of the other homework items? – We were able to solidify
our prices and have a concrete price that will be doable so that we can see revenue. – [Ron] How about late fees? – That has already been incorporated. – Having Ron based in Bristol
Borough is such a huge help. He’s guiding Ramona and
Marcelous through a lot of these big changes,
bringing the expertise to make sure they do it right, and the toughness if they
waiver on things like pricing. – So you can see what
you’re charging and whether or not your profit margin
is acceptable to you. – Marcelous really seems to be taking all this to heart, it’s inspiring to watch. With Ron as a resource,
he’s building out contracts and firming up operations,
you can tell he’s starting to think of himself
not just as an educator but also a business man. – Discover, Learn and Grow. – Everything’s coming
together and we’re even getting close on what’s definitely the most complicated website
we’ve had to build this year. Our last step before applying
the finishing touches, we need to land on a logo. – So here’s their logo
that they’ve got right now. A lot of color means
higher production cost when you’re trying to reproduce
it on different elements. So I think we need to simplify it, and we’re also trying to
convey that learning piece. So we have a few concepts. – Did you have a particular
favorite, because we do. – I like the red one, that was yours? – Yes. – Do you know what I like most about it? It says early learning
center at the bottom. – Now that we’ve landed
on a logo, we can apply that design to the
outside of the building. The new awning’s gonna make a big difference for their visibility. We hope that all of these changes will. Now Robert, Ron, and I are heading back to Discover, Learn and Grow
to check out the new look. Hi guys. – Good afternoon, hi, welcome back. So you like our new stuff? – [Amanda] I love it. – Thank you. – Now when people drive
by they know there’s an early learning center here. – [Ramona] There’s no question
what we do and there’s more on this side, let’s come over here. – [Amanda] I love it, I love
that we put birthday parties and events on there too. – I love that, so there’s no question. It’s just bright and sunny right? It’s like come in see
what we have to offer. – [Amanda] See the changes inside too. – We have some other stuff as well. Notice anything different? – Oh my goodness, look at. – Look at the kitchenette. The kitchen working
space is such a blessing. To be able to serve
the kids healthy meals. They’re getting vegetables
and fruits and stuff and so I’m excited about that. – Have you changed your service agreement? – Yes, I did, we have updated our manual, we have updated our service contract, as well as adjustment to our
pricing as per your advice. – And you blamed it on the lawyer. – And I blamed it on,
because I have no choice. – We’re so proud of you though,
for increasing the prices and to adhering the advice, I can’t wait to show you the website but we really emphasized the curriculum. Do you wanna see it,
wanna see the website? – [Ramona] Yes. – Alright, so I have some
fun stuff to show you. I wanna show you your website
but just as a background if you remember this was
obviously the current logo. We worked through the
logo design and felt like this modern font had some fun
to it, it’s nice and bright. So we carried over that kind of branding to your new website. – [All] Wow. – [Robert] That’s great. – [Ramona] I look nice. – We want people to see you right away, so for sure you’re in the hero shot. We wanna, here this is
where young minds flourish. – Awesome. – We also wanted to
make sure the right away we hear about the differentiators, we wanna know that safety is a priority, that there’s a preschool curriculum. The biggest call to
action and the thing that we want people to do as a
result of visiting the site, is to come in for a visit. So you will notice this call to action exists on every page on the site. – Fantastic, it’s fantastic. – So let’s dig into the site. So this goes into the preschool
program and curriculum. People were saying what
is the difference between preschool and daycare, they were typing in can I afford preschool, so we want to lead with those questions. It’s very important that
we invested in that really great photography to show you and to show real kids learning from you. Then we want to talk about
the birthday parties, right, we wanna make this as easy as possible. We have optimized this page,
so this is gonna show up when people are searching
for birthday parties. – Awesome, that is absolute beautiful especially to see the kids and it kind has your written form of all the you wanted to say that I couldn’t say. – Your vision of what you wanted to be is right there, makes you so proud. – We also wanted to
make sure that you had a Facebook business a page so that anything you’re posting is from the point of view of the business not you as a person. So we worked on creating a
professional Facebook page. – Wow, they have such a
jump start, that gives them a great advantage, all
the other marketing tools puts them way ahead of everybody else who are just starting out. – Alright, I have some
other things to show you. You ready? – [Ramona] More? – So, you got new t-shirts for the staff. Alright so everyone has these
brand new vibrant colors. – I love that, I do. – The nice new logo on
the front and having, it’s something consistent is great. So what birthday party is
complete without a little, some gift bags, so one of the
things you’ll want to make sure you include in the
birthday party package, are these new brochures
that we made for you. This is essentially a printed version of the website, right so it
has the same information. Gives you that same feel. – [Robert] Man you guys hit
it out of the ball park. – [Ramona] They did. – How about, some business
cards, Chief Education Officer. – I sound important, yes. – Alright, Marcelous, Director,
including your contact information, and your email address. – [Ramona] Now I see why
the logo change helps, because it’s so easy to put,
it looks nice on everything. – Yeah and all the colors
tied together, right. – [Ramona] I got it, I got it now. – Then we got you, holiday cards, okay. So we even included a message
that’s true to who you are and what you believe, and thanking parents for sending their kids here. – “Thank you for all you support our first year in the Borough.” That’s nice, beautiful. – One of the things I
remember talking about when we were at Calm Waters,
was just a little bit of a sticking issue with
only having one computer. So let’s just, let’s solve for that, okay. Here is a second computer. – [All] Wow. – Thank you so much. – You’re welcome, who gets the new one? – [Marcelous] I’ll take it. The other thing I love that you guys do here is dance parties,
but dance parties are always better with
really great music, right. So we wanted to get you a set of wireless speakers for the kids. – [Robert] Wow, that’s awesome. – That’s beautiful, thank you. – And Amanda will come back and teach the children how to dance. – [Ramona] I bet you she will. – I got some moves. Okay and then we were able to work with the AELL, which stands for. – The Association of
Early Learning Leaders, it’s the leading organization for you, in the country, in this industry, and they were kind enough to provide for you a year membership. – That’s right, isn’t that incredible? And what better way to learn than to go to one of their conferences. – Yes. – You guys need a break
so they’ve given you registration, and Deluxe
is gonna pay for you to go to San Diego, you get
to go to the conference, have a little r and r, relax,
celebrate all this hard work that has gone into this. – I will be there to introduce you to all of the other owners
from around the country. – It’s just been the
blessing that you couldn’t even script for yourself
so I’m just grateful. – I think it’s bittersweet. We hate to see you guys
leave but we’re excited to start to put those tools
into practice and utilize them and see our business grow. – We have something for
you all too from the kids. – You do? – We could never ever repay. – I love that. – Aw, look at all the great photos. Aw this is our first visit. – [Robert] Oh wow. – Oh they’re outside,
Saturday is our dance time, we have open party, say hi. (cheering) – You never know what
the long term benefit of giving a child hope,
encouragement, and love is. You can’t always assume children
are getting that at home. If I was here and I had a child, absolutely I would send my kids there. – When the way these
children are being raised, there’s the future, so
I have hope, great hope, and that’s what’s right there. – One thing that I personally learned, this is your business, this is what you live by so put
yourself fully into that and you can’t go wrong. – That has been the aha for us. You know, not that this
has to be a sacrifice and okay and we’re happy with it but we can be happy and make it work. – Ramona and Marcelous have a true gift for teaching children, but now that they feel like they’re rooted and solid in the business, the weight has been lifted off their shoulders. They’re capable of anything. (upbeat music fades) – [Narrator] On the next
episode of Small Business Revolution – Main Street. – It’s been an amazing journey, it’s overwhelming, but it needs to be. – [Narrator] The Small
Business Revolution team has spent the whole season working with Bristol Borough’s small businesses. – It’s so much more than just marketing, you really do build us up. – [Narrator] Now they’re turning their attention toward the Borough itself. – You guys deserved this. – [Announce] But how
can they move the needle for an entire town? – This place is really going somewhere. – Like many startups we work with, Discover, Learn and Grow was
shy about actively marketing putting the survival of
their business at risk. Visit Deluxe.com/Revolution
to learn how the marketing team from Deluxe taught them how to get found online,
by the right audience.

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