This past January at the Child Care Success Academy™ quarterly mastermind meeting we had Nan Rikard, owner of Big Blue Marble Academy, present to our members. The room was blown away and filled with inspiration and ambition as they listened to Nan share her story of how she grew Big Blue Marble Academy into a multi-million dollar company from 0 to 26 locations in the past six years with very little financing underneath her.

In the video below I share with you the secrets to Nan’s success and how she utilized her years of experience and acquired wisdom to build her brand. I also expand upon’s Nan’s thoughts and share examples and tips of my own for mastering the art of the deal.

Here are the key takeaways from this video: 

If you are a multi-site child care owner trying to grow and build your empire when making a deal it is key to…

– never hold back any questions
– check in with your gut to make sure you feel good about the deal
– take time evaluating it, weigh the pros and cons
– figure out how you will successfully finance it
– think about how you will successfully integrate the new location into your brand

The secret to Nan’s success was her ability to use her wisdom and experience to master the art of the deal when acquiring new locations and discovering how to utilize the natural strengths of her team.

When looking to expand, don’t keep employees in their boxes. Not only should you be open to unique ideas of acquiring new locations, but you also should be open to unique and creative ways to utilize the staff members that you have before you bring on unnecessary new hires.

When expanding your child care, you won’t always have an increase in A player staff members to match that growth right away. Leverage the natural strengths of your team members and have them wear multiple hats occasionally. As long as you keep their workload realistic and give them the tools to successfully perform their new duties, they will appreciate the trust and empowerment you have given to them.

Some questions to ask yourself when buying a new location are:

– What is the approximate return on investment going to be?
– How much can you charge for tuition in that region?
– If already operating as a child care center, what are the current tuition rates? And what are the current enrollments of that center?
– What renovations can you do to increase the properties value?
– Can you make this location seamlessly fit into your brand?

Keep an open mind to out of the box expansion ideas and ways to pivot to bring more income into your business to make it profitable, even if that means financially taking a step back and not being as profitable as you want for a short period.

Your schools’ current financial success is based on your end of the year EBITA numbers. On average, when a business is purchased it is purchased for 3 to 4 times the multiple of its’ EBITA. Although this purchase rate is standard, people forget that they can also include the future value (about half of your current EBITA) when negotiating with buyers.