Funky Footsteps Day Nursery
With a business degree and a wealth of experience running and growing businesses, Claire Chapman set up Funky Footsteps Day Nursery in 2008 in Port Talbot. The business started as a small nursery but soon expanded to offer a full range of day-care services to children in the local community. Funky Footsteps currently employs 25 members of staff.
What they did
“The venture was not by any means a future goal or something that had been considered as a career choice. Due to the pressures of a very demanding job and raising a young family, I needed to find a balance that promoted my career along with allowing me to raise a family.
I sought support from local government such as Neath Port Talbot’s Economic and Early Years’ departments along with Business Wales and HSBC Bank. I also returned back into higher education to obtain a business degree.”
What would they do differently
"I would have employed an experienced manager to run the nursery to help overcome teething problems and remove some of the initial pressure."
Their proudest moment in business
“My proudest moment so far has been buying our own premises in 2012.”
Do they use Welsh in their business
"Yes, we do. It helps us promote the language, especially to those who attend Welsh-medium schools.”
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Claire was looking for assistance to drive the business forward and for financial support to maximise the facilities and improve the nursery’s overall financial position. She received help from Jayesh Parmar, a Business Wales Relationship Manager, who assisted with business planning and financial forecasts. He referred the business to further specialist support, including:
- Skills Gateway to discuss training needs and explore subsidised schemes to help with staff’s continuous personal development
- Claire was looking at ways to reduce operating costs and promote good practice within the business, following Business Wales sustainability support, she implemented a number of resource efficiency improvements in key areas such as lighting, vehicle usage, heating and raising awareness of the business’ good practice
- additionally, a HR adviser reviewed, updated and introduced new contracts of employment to ensure staff are recruited and managed correctly and compliantly
Following the support provided by the Welsh Government’s business support service, Funky Footsteps Day Nursery were able to secure £1,000 Business Wales Childcare grant and further funding from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, creating 5 new jobs.
Here are Funky Footsteps’ top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- get a good accountant – don’t pay over the odds though!
- don’t worry too much about what your competitors are up to – just concentrate on yourself
- don’t try and break the rules!
- all customers are important, no matter how little they may pay compared to others
- treat your staff well if they are an asset to your business, get rid of those who are only in on payday!