Then & Now: My Journey With Kris Murray

I am beyond honored to share my journey with Kris over the past 10 years to commemorate The Child Care Success Company’s 10th anniversary this month! It all started back in 2009 when I began to receive emails from The Child Care Success Company. At this point in time, I had already been a director of (seemingly) successful preschools for over 17 years. I was really tired of the same old thing but already having my center be known as one of the best around, I did not have much motivation to change. At that time, I ordered the Child Care Business Success System “Gold Edition.” I found Kris’s style to be very engaging and loved her personality.

The next year, I purchased the Extreme Marketing Makeover DVD set and loved it. I was beginning to realize that even though I had been in the Early Childhood field for over 25 years, I really did not know much about marketing at all! I continued to follow Kris and stay on her mailing list. I quickly became a member of the “Insiders Circle” and later purchased the “Done For You” membership.

When 2012 rolled around, The Child Care Success Summit™ sounded so exciting, but the truth was there was absolutely no way that we could afford the cost of the tickets, airfare and hotel room for myself, let alone any of our team. I did, however, purchase the set of DVD’s and found the Summit to be fascinating. I was thrilled when the next year the Summit was in Atlanta, which made it more affordable to be able to go (because it was closer to home and we could drive). It was such an incredible experience! To be at a conference with other owners and directors that truly understood the problems and challenges we face was so refreshing. The speakers were so knowledgeable about areas of our business that I had never even thought about.

We left that conference with notebooks FILLED with to do lists and ideas. I joined the Child Care Success Academy™ at this event, but due to unforeseen circumstances involving an ice storm forcing our center to close for 8 weeks among other things, I had to end my membership early. Unfortunately, with no one to be accountable to, we came back and talked a lot about the conference, but really only implemented a few things that we learned.

When the Las Vegas Summit rolled around in 2014, once again the cost seemed daunting. We purchased the DVD’s again and this time I took my admin team on a mini 3-day cruise out of Charleston and we watched the DVD’s on the ship! While it was a ton of fun to do, we still didn’t do much with the knowledge we gained, and it was nothing like being there in person. Looking through my library, it is crazy how much stuff I still have from the early days (see the picture to the left).

Summit 2015 in Orlando was a game changer. Once again, we were able to drive, making it affordable. I took my team and it was fabulous. I joined the Academy again at this summit and it has been life changing!!!! At this time, we were definitely just getting by week to week, sometimes borrowing money from personal savings or even retirement to just make payroll. As I said earlier, I thought we were running a super successful center… but I didn’t know what I didn’t know!!! We were leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table EVERY MONTH!!!

I think the biggest impact that Kris and her team have made is making me realize that we are running a BUSINESS. We let our hearts get in the way to the detriment of the financial stability of our centers. Without a stable budget, we cannot provide quality care or take care of our staff. Implementing systems, tracking our metrics, really knowing the ins and outs of our finances showed us how much money we were losing. We learned key ideas for improving our customer service and have improved our tour conversions tremendously.

Since joining the Child Care Success Academy™ in 2015…

    • We have implemented more strategies and systems than I could ever list.
    • We have been able to AFFORD to bring our entire Admin team to every Summit, and I have been to almost every Academy meeting (only missing due to prior commitments) which means traveling 3 or 4 times per year without ever even wondering if we can afford to do so… we now know we can’t afford to miss them!
    • Our revenue has more than doubled, our FTE enrollment is well over 110%. We now know we can fill an opening the minute we find out a child is leaving.
    • We have purchased our second location that will be opening June 3rd and are looking for land for center number 3.
    • Our culture has improved dramatically as we have implemented our core values into everything we do.
    • I have had the pleasure of growing personally as a leader and a mentor and have even had the privilege of presenting on stage at the Summit and at several academy meetings.
      The fellowship of the other academy members is unmatched. We are so blessed with such a phenomenal group of people willing to share EVERYTHING they do to help each other. That is so hard to find in a world that seems to always be competing with each other over everything. There is so much support and love from every single member and especially from every person on Kris’ team.

I am currently at the Empire level of the Academy and it has been amazing to be among people that are simply brilliant in our field. One of the most incredible aspects of the Summit and the Academy is how it continuously changes to be relevant to our current needs. When Kris realized we needed more than just marketing skills, she began to bring in experts in all other areas of our business as well. This has been so impactful to learn so much about the business side of childcare, team building, core values, legal issues, and many other topics.

If I had to give advice to anyone attending the summit, it would be JOIN the Academy! Do whatever you need to do, even if you have to open a credit card to do it. It will seriously change your life and will be worth every penny!

If you were to ask me then what our tour conversion rate was (after trying to figure out what that meant) I would have said we converted 95% of our tours. WRONG! When we implemented a tracking and follow-up system called ChildCare CRM (that I learned about at the conference), we quickly realized that we converted about 45% of our tours. On top of that, we did not have a system for replacing children when they left, so many times openings were vacant for weeks before being filled.

If you are already in the Academy, make it a priority to be at every meeting and be on every call. Even if you know the topic, you can help someone else and by helping them you learn more from doing so. Many times, I think a call will be a repeat or refresher but there is always something new to learn-especially from other members. I would say listen to Kris and her team and DO what they say! The most successful members IMPLEMENT what they learn as soon as possible.

Donna and her admin team at he Child Care Success Summit™ 2018

Congratulations Kris on a wonderful 10-year Anniversary! I have been so blessed to be on this journey with you from early on. Your encouragement and support through many hard situations has been invaluable. I am so honored to call you my friend and could never put into words how much your programs, and you personally, have changed my life.

You have given me peace of mind, financial freedom, more free time with my husband and kids to really enjoy life- (to be able to cruise A LOT), and the ability to grow and learn from the best. Teaching me to work ON my business instead of IN my business and not feel guilty has been a huge win. You have enabled us to have “A-HA moments,” awesome experiences (Disney, Cruises, White Water Rafting, amazing venues) and interactions with incredible speakers who are unforgettable. You have walked your talk every step of the way and never miss a moment to reach out to us, celebrate us or send fun little personalized surprises (unicorns) in the mail. “Thank you” seems so inadequate for all you have done; I wouldn’t be where we are today without you and our tribe by my side!

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