Someone once told me that you become most like your five closest friends, so make sure that you choose carefully with whom you spend most of your time. I believe the very same can be said when it comes to business. The best way to become successful is to surround yourself with like-minded people who have the same goals, beliefs, ambitions, and attitudes as you—so much can be said about how Child Paths started, and how we continue to operate today.
At Child Paths, from the very beginning, we focused on not only creating a system that would reduce reporting time on each child for childcare practitioners, but one that would give parents a greater understanding and insight to their child’s world of learning and development, and one that would inevitably help towards giving children the best possible start in life. We also focused on building strong relationships with people who are experts in the childcare industry or other areas directly linked to children. We knew these people would be invaluable when it came to building the best system possible. And still to this day, we have never built a function in Child Paths without first gathering input from our customers and partners and seeking their professional advice—on how it should function, how it should look, how it will help the teachers with compliance, how it will benefit parents, and how it can solve a frustration or pain point. We continue to follow this process and I believe that it has been instrumental in becoming Ireland’s leading childcare software provider. Build what they need, not what you want, and you will not go far wrong.
Children are honestly always at the heart of everything that we do, every decision we make, and I really mean that. This company was built because our founder, Ciaran Flynn wanted to understand more about his first child’s early learning and development, however, he didn’t know where to start or how to get more involved. He set out on building Child Paths so that parents all across the country didn’t have to face the same frustrations he felt. Ciaran started by sitting down and talking to the child’s teacher, the person who could tell him everything he needed to know about what her pains were as a practitioner/manager of a childcare setting, why she felt it was becoming difficult to keep parents in the loop, about how her job was becoming more of an administration job, rather than an early education career, as intended. Ringing true to our commitment and to our process, we continue to ask questions, we listen to the answers, and we set out on fixing problems. And we may not always get it right. When we don’t, we make every effort to listen even deeper and wider to our customers and our partners on how we can resolve issues or improve their experience.
So what is my advice? My advice to anyone looking to start a business is to listen. Listen to the customers as they are telling you the answers, they are telling you what they need. It is true what they say, the customer is always right, and let’s face it, there is no business without the customer. We have so many customers who came to us from competitors who stated, very clearly, that their needs just were not being met and their feedback was not being heard. I really cannot understand why? If one’s main objective is to make customers’ lives easier, why choose to discard customers’ feedback?
I am not just saying this, but I can honestly say, and this might sound cheesy, but most of my customers have become like friends at this stage. I believe that it is because I listen to them and respond to them promptly when they have any questions or issues. So I suppose what I am going the very long way around about saying is thank you—because without the partners, customers, and parents who have helped and continue to help us grow, we could not have created a product that serves so many customers.
Thank you to our partners and customers, the people who are always at the end of the phone if we have questions, the ones that will always find the time to fit us into their busy day if we need to pick their brains, the ones who will find us answers if they do not know the answers themselves, those who help promote what we do and why we do it. Above all, thank you for giving us the opportunity to listen. The best is yet to come. Stay tuned!
About the Author:
COO Rob Carey has twenty years of experience in business development and is a father to three children. He shares the same passion as Child Paths’ customers—to drive success in an industry that supports children’s education and development. For any enquiries, Rob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.