Name, title & company name?
Mary Haynes, Owner, Under The Willow Ltd.


In five words or less, tell us what your business does?
I run a lovely day nursery in the Dulwich area, looking after children from three months to five years of age.


When did you know that you wanted to set up your own business and what made you finally take the plunge?
I saw a real business opportunity in my local area for a childcare service. I live in a very family friendly part of London and often used to see a large number of mothers and their babies stroll by my house. After carrying out research with parents and local businesses and initiating the planning permission process for the land at the side of my property I set my nursery up and have not turned back since.


What’s the best thing about your job? 
I love being in control of the direction of the nursery. Having worked in sales previously I’m used to a risk or reward type of environment.


And the worst? 
Recruitment and retention can be quite challenging particularly if you’re new to the people management side of the business. Keeping on top of that as well as nursery finances does get to be quite a task.


Why did you choose KPMG Small Business Accounting?  
I found out about the service from the National Day Nurseries Association. They always do their due diligence when it comes to the service providers they work with and as a result I’ve received a great service from everyone they work with. The impression I got after speaking with an advisor made me feel as though I would be working with my accountant to get the level of support and training I needed.


How have KPMG Small Business Accounting and your dedicated KPMG accountant helped you? 
Knowing that my dedicated accountant is always available to help is reassuring. My accounts were completed very soon after I came on board too, which was incredibly impressive.


What are two industry specific challenges your business is facing? 
Because of the increase in qualification requirements for nursery staff, turnover across the sector is quite high.


What one thing do you think the Government could do to help small businesses? 
Review and adjust the qualification requirements for nursery practitioners.


If you could give one piece of advice to small business owners, what would it be? 
It’s really important to get into a system with your accounts. With everything that you need to juggle as a small business owner, it’s so easy to get busy and take your eye off the ball. For new nursery owners, starting with the right manager is key.


What’s next for your business? 
I’m in the process of looking for new premises so expansion is definitely on the horizon.


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