We founded Ready Steady School after successful careers in Early Years teaching. As two highly experienced Early Years Teachers who have worked in education for over 20 years we have witnessed first-hand the challenges children face in their first year of school. We believe that education is a partnership between both school and parents/carers. We are used to advising parents and it was whilst recommending products that they could use to support their child at home we noticed a gap in the market. Our Ready Steady School boxes contain high quality resources and comprehensive step by step instructions to give parents the skills to support and prepare children for school and learning to read and write.
As with any business we spent a lot of time and energy identifying and analysing our customer base and target market. We realised early on getting the balance between informing your customer base and advertising your product is important.
Our Customer base is fairly narrow as our products are aimed at children age 4 to 5 years so we are targeting parents, grandparents, carers and Early Years providers. Also every year our customers have grown beyond our product so we are constantly searching for new customers but we know it is possible as so many other small businesses achieve this very successfully. Within our limited self-funded budget we initially tried a range of methods to expand our customer base including trade stands at fairs, visiting nurseries and similar preschool providers, contacting head teachers, social media including working with mummy bloggers, running competitions, paid and free advertising and trying to infiltrate public-sector organisations which we quickly concluded were equally underfunded! Each method met with its share of positive outcomes and pit falls.
Our mission is to help every child develop the necessary skills to feel smart and confident from day one at BIG school. Getting ready for this milestone and progressing through Reception is not just about turning up on the first day. The beginning of the year is an important time for Ready Steady School as the school applications for places have to be in and therefore starting school is at the forefront of parents/carers minds. With this in mind and with Facebook announcing only recently it was changing its recipe for the news feed in favour of ‘meaningful social interaction’ our latest drive is to create a Starting BIG School Facebook page. Here we can journey with parents in the weeks and months ahead with specific blogs, suggest top tips and activities and aim to develop relationships with group members so they feel able to ask specific questions, discuss or share opinions and ideas.
More recently too we have decided to turn towards putting our energies into developing mutually beneficial working relationships with companies that target preschool children. Sharing links, cross promotion, and quite simply sharing strengths and skills is all such valuable support. We have found the Theo Paphitis #SBS closed group a real treasure box of skills, quite recently a fellow SBS member shared her tip with us about posting funny videos on Facebook that parents of little ones would find funny or that resonates with them – it may sound simple but an idea that for her is successfully tried and tested and for us an invaluable snippet of FREE advice! (Thank you @DanielleBayes)
…and on we stride with that ultimate goal being to cultivate and grow a customer base!