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First You Have to Pay the Bills

by Louise Stoney and Susan Blank
September/October 2012
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/first-you-have-to-pay-the-bills/5020708/

Early care and education is an industry comprised of small non-profit and for-profit businesses. However, many ­people working in the ECE field, and many of the field’s leaders, have trouble viewing early childhood work through a business frame. They stress that their focus is on children and on nurturing early learning, not on budgets and spreadsheets. True. But children can’t pay the bills. And if someone doesn’t focus on the business side of ECE, a ­program risks not only an erosion in the quality of its services but, all too often, outright failure. ECE program directors, including directors who are experts in child development and know how to provide high-quality services to children and families, may fail to see the warning signs of a business in trouble until it is too late.

Those concerned with the need for ECE providers to become better business managers routinely call for business-­oriented training as the solution to the problem. Yet relatively little has been written about what kind of training strategies and techniques do the most to help ECE programs operate as financially viable businesses. To help answer that question �" and to stimulate further discussion about techniques that work �" we conducted ...

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