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Disrupting the Status Quo in ECE: Business Ops’ Quest for Financial & Operational Efficiency

Hey everyone! Today we have Julie Blackhall, Head of Finance & BizOps (aka Business Operations) here at LineLeader.

Originally hailing from Michigan but now proudly based in the Windy City of Chicago, Julie leads a dynamic team dedicated to maintaining the financial integrity of our business. From providing analytical insights to crafting processes that ensure internal accuracy and consistency, we strive to enhance every aspect of our customer experience. 

Fun fact: Her mom wore many hats in her career, one of which was as a preschool teacher. Growing up, Julie was able to witness firsthand the amount of love and effort that every person in the childcare space devotes. It's this understanding that fuels her commitment to excellence in everything she does, both personally and professionally.  

Business Ops in ECE & Childcare 

At the heart of every company lies the business operations. In the world of early childhood education and childcare, operational challenges can often hinder organizational efficiency.  

And if the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that the time for doing things ‘as they’ve always been done’ or because a tenured executive ‘feels’ it’s the right move is over. The ECE industry is becoming more competitive, parents are expecting more from their caregivers, and if your organization isn’t focused on innovation – there's probably a competitor who’s willing and ready to take your place on the top 50 list. 

But with data-driven decision-making, proper documentation, and operational efficiency, your ECE organization can reach greater heights, faster... So, let's dive in! 🏊

Encouraging Collaboration and Consistency 

Business operations establish the structure and processes necessary to drive efficiency and foster collaboration across departments. This ensures a consistent experience for internal staff and external stakeholders, prioritizing the well-being of children and families. 

Aligning day-to-day tasks with the broader strategic vision of the organization is crucial. This requires fostering relationships, understanding initiatives, and communicating clearly to ensure alignment across teams.  

But the work doesn’t stop once the structure is in place. Continuous monitoring and adjustment based on data insights are essential for ongoing success. In fact, nearly 92% of organizations achieved measurable value from data and analytics investments in 2023. This means that reporting on performance is an important aspect of driving business innovation. 

Data-Driven Decision Making 

Enhancing Analysis Through Context 

In the childcare industry, data-driven decision making isn't just a buzzworthy phrase; it's a necessity. 

Effective data analysis can reveal whether operational decisions are aligning with financial and non-financial goals (inquiry response times, online review scores, brand sentiment, task completion rate, etc.). Throughout this process, your leadership team should be focused on key questions, like: 

1. Are changes in enrollment procedures impacting financial targets as expected?

2. Are families’ satisfaction metrics improving or declining in response to operational changes? 

3. Is staff retention improving as a result of adjustments to the onboarding or training process? 


Keep in mind that the magic happens when all your reports are combined with context, nuance, and “boots-on-the-ground" perspectives. Because when it comes to understanding what’s working and what’s not for your ECE business, there's a lot more to a good analysis than just the raw numbers or data presented in isolation. The true value emerges when you incorporate additional layers. 

This comprehensive approach enables decision-makers to make more informed choices, develop effective strategies, and better understand the implications of their actions. It also fosters a deeper understanding of complex issues and promotes more meaningful dialogue and collaboration among your organization’s stakeholders. 

Harnessing Insights for Individual & Organizational Success 

Key performance indicators (KPIs) serve as a common language, providing a standardized way to measure results and track progress towards organizational goals. And it's essential that these metrics are consistent, clearly defined within the organization, and contextualized with external benchmarks to gauge peer and competitor performance. 

At LineLeader, everyone across the organization has G&Os (Goals and Objectives) specific to their role, that contribute to the organization's larger initiatives. This keeps our team members focused and on track throughout the year. 

These G&Os are shared at the beginning of each calendar year and a formal mid-year review helps individual contributors understand how they’re pacing towards their end of year goals. This is nothing new to most organizations. But one thing we’ve started doing at LineLeader is NOT waiting until that mid-year review to track progress. Managers host weekly 1:1s with their team members and during that time, staff are encouraged to bring updated numbers and share any WoW successes or identify roadblocks that may be keeping them from reaching pre-determined targets. 

That, coupled with our monthly All Hands meeting where we address how we’re tracking towards larger company initiatives fosters alignment, transparency, and a desire to ‘win’ across the entire organization. 

Prioritizing Operational Excellence

In this rapidly evolving landscape, success belongs to those ECE organizations who are willing to embrace change, challenge the status quo, and drive consistency across their location-based and centralized teams.  

And instituting a business operations team that prioritizes data-driven decision-making and operational excellence could help you drive sustainable, scalable growth.  

And that’s a wrap!

Thanks for tuning into this week’s tips. Our Executive team will be posting new blogs on LinkedIn regularly, so be sure to subscribe for updates on more industry-leading topics. 

P.S. Follow our social media pages for additional tips and suggestions (we’ve even got blogs made especially for your teachers, your directors, and your specialized admins)! 👇 


Meet The Author

Asyah Jiron is a marketing intern with professional experience in field marketing, content, and advertising. She attends the University of North Texas and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a Marketing concentration. Asyah is passionate about growing her marketing knowledge and always tackles any new challenge thrown her way.

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