With more parents working than ever before in history, demand for quality preschools is on the rise in the 21st century. In fact, it’s one of the fast growing industries in the country today. And no one knows that better than Gail Johnson, RN, MSN.
Gail is the CEO and Founder of Rainbow Station, one of the most successful and respected preschool and after-school care franchises in the country. But Rainbow Station is more than just a school for early childhood education and school-aged recreation. It’s a special place where even children with mild health challenges can get what they need most.
In fact, serving the needs of these kids and their families specifically is what allowed Gail to find her true calling and begin her inspirational journey from simply being a nurse to also becoming a very successful entrepreneur.
Founded in 1989, while Gail was still a faculty member at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, Rainbow Station was initially conceived as a means of providing valuable assistance for working parents with mildly ill children. Its primary goal was to provide support for the entire working community, regardless of whether their children were enrolled at the school or not.
Since then, The Get Well Place at Rainbow Station—as the program came to be named—continues to provide families with unparalleled services, as do all other facets of the Rainbow Station franchise concept. From its school-age recreation programs to its leadership initiatives and its PLAYWORKS© curriculum, Rainbow Station provides a diversity of experiences designed to initiate and nurture a love of learning in all children.
Today, with more than twenty years of experience and success as a business owner and entrepreneur under her belt, Gail has much to offer in the way of insight and hard-earned wisdom when it comes to starting and growing a business. Here she takes a moment to share some of her thoughts on new business startup in particular with BusinessOpportunity.com’s Entrepreneur Exchange readers:
“My biggest challenge during the first six months in business was getting the capital necessary to get the company off the ground. That said, the single strongest piece of advice that I could offer to anyone starting a business would be to not go into the venture until you are fully-capitalized. After just a few months in business with Rainbow Station, I quickly realized that the funds we had might not get us through the first year. We were under-capitalized and risked not being able to make payroll or pay our rent—a terrifying thought for someone who has put so much time, effort and money into a new business. I ended up having to cash in my daughter’s wedding fund for payroll, told my landlord I wouldn’t be able to pay rent for a year, paid vendors last or a little at a time, didn’t pay myself for two years, and worked a second job at night for two to three years. Needless to say, it wasn’t the ideal situation for a new business.
“As you begin to lay the foundation for your new business, make sure you’re asking for a loan that accounts for working capital. This can be either a Furnishings, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) loan, a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, or, if you’re lucky enough to have the option, a loan from friends and family members. These loan options will help you ensure that your business receives the funding it needs.
"At the end of the day, if you have correctly organized your new business with realistic projections, you should know the gap between your business revenue and your overhead expense. This is what will help you determine the amount of funding necessary for the start of your business, as well as when your business will start becoming profitable. For instance—and this is being conservative—if your company has a 12-month business plan in place, it is wise to cushion these 12 months with three to six months, making it a 15 to 18-month cycle for revenue. In short, staying ahead of the curve and being prepared for just about anything is your best bet as a new business owner."
More about Rainbow Station and the Rainbow Station Franchise Opportunity:
Since its founding more than two decades ago, Rainbow Station has become a respected positive resource and support system for children, families and the community. The company is committed to advancing early education, school-age recreation and mildly ill child care through positive, meaningful partnerships with children, families and communities nationwide. Its truly unique approach focuses on meeting the needs of the whole child, blending learning and discovery in a nurturing environment that addresses cognitive, emotional and physical development as well as health and wellness.