Lucy Lewin on Showing Your Setting at its Best

In this interview, we learn what the best preparation for a show-round is and how can we best showcase our pedagogy.

Lucy explains how much time should be on the physical show round and how much on the paperwork as well as what you SHOULDN'T say during a show round. She has some great ideas for how to follow up a show-round with parents, even if they don’t say yes straight-away. Lucy has also embraced virtual show-rounds and has sound advice on their benefits, even after lockdown is over.
· October 15, 2021

Lucy Lewin is the founder of an 85 place children’s day nursery in Rutland which has been open for over decade.

Lucy tells us “owning a small business can be challenging, throw a global pandemic into the equation and you can quickly see how solid your foundations are and how effective your business processes and models can be.”

Lucy decided to launchThe Profitable Nursery Academy which supports single site nursery owners and childminders to overcome the overwhelm and understand how to create an efficiently effective and profitable nursery business with her 12-week roadmap to success.

Lucy used her time in lock down, whilst her own nursey had suspended services due to no key workers needing care, to support her sector with motivational trainings, coaching and support. “I am so proud of the sector I work in, we have passionate small business owners who really do deliver high quality care and education to families, however, what became apparent very quickly was that the business of business is often given a back seat. I know this first hand as for almost 9 of the 10 years I managed my own nursery all I cared about was the quality of care, pleasing Ofsted and the parents As long as I had enough money to pay suppliers and staff I felt I was doing ok!”

However, in December 2018 Lucy explains how having just had an Ofsted inspection, rent arrears and cash flow issues, she could not pay her staff! “this broke me, my team work so hard for just a little more than minimum wage, with almost half holding degrees in education. I had one job, to pay them and I failed! I vowed from that day I would do what ever it took to become the person I needed to be to have the business I deserved and that my team and I could be proud of! And I did!”

The next months saw Lucy undergo training on business, attending the FSB events in her area, networking with people so she could learn the skills she needed to grow herself and save her business. On 23rd March 2020 when lockdown was announced Lucy knew her business model, knew the key important numbers and was able to adjust quickly her strategic plan and cash forecasts so her business could navigate the storm. So confident in her business model and the processes she now had in place, Lucy was able to think in action and take her services virtually, offering daily activities, stories and a community for her families all on-line.

“If I had not learned all the lessons and built a strong sustainable business after that awful day in 2018, I would not have had the head space to lead my team, families and sector through the crisis. It was because I had invested in systems, processes and strategic planning that gave me time to think and respond and put my families first, without forsaking cash and processes!”

Lucy is now on a mission to help as many of her colleagues throughout the early years sector to understand the business of business and remove the overwhelm and fear. “If I can help just one nursery owner and childminder with my experiences and learning then I will be happy!”

Not to be one to stop learning Lucy is currently taking part in the Cambridge Judge Business School course How to prepare your business for the post-pandemic recovery and will start next month on the University of Leicester Small Business Leadership Programme.

The Profitable Nursery Academy takes cohorts of owners, via online webinars, through a 12-week programme to learn, what Lucy has identified as the 5 key steps to success in owning a nursery business. Once graduated, owners have lifetime access to the materials and remain as the alumni and part of the knowledge hub in weekly coaching sessions.


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