Alise McGregor - Founder, Little Newtons Educational Daycare

Alise McGregor began her professional career in medicine, however possessing an aptitude for the intellectual and social development of children, she was motivated to open her center, which became a highly profitable business endeavor.

Alise completed a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology specializing in cardiac rehabilitation which she received from the College of St Scholastica and a post-baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota. After completing nursing school, Alise was hired at The Mayo in Rochester MN, however, with the difficult commute to Eagen presenting itself as an issue, she was unable to accept the job opportunity and instead received employment from Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina. After the birth of her daughter Franchessca, Alise performed extensive research into local daycare facilities in the hopes of providing her daughter with a highly educational care program. After various unsuccessful efforts, Alise decided to open her childcare initiative where academic and social skills would play a critical role in the program. Little Newtons in Plymouth MN is an innovative daycare that recognizes the ages 0-5 as crucial in early childhood development. With the success of Little Newtons, Alise has expanded to two other locations in Minnesota. Early childcare and the importance of a strong educational background has become Alise McGregor’s area of expertise as she goes above and beyond to ensure the children who attend Little Newtons receive the best possible care.

How did you get started in the business?  Who inspired you?

After having my daughter my husband and I did our best to avoid utilizing outside care services. Having been a nurse, I understood that brain development was vital for the ages 0-5, so after extensive research and being unable to find appropriate care elsewhere, I decided to make it a full-time profession.

How do you make money?

The overall cost of operating a business is extremely high, and while we charge tuition for our attending families, we have very slim margins. Our main concern is providing a healthy and safe educational environment for the children and the fact we get to also see a profit is a bonus.

How long until you were a profitable business?

We opened in 2009 and I remember reading a financial statement in the spring of 2011 and seeing the print go from red to black!  Expanding can be a financial challenge however the long-term results outweigh the short-term struggles.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted your success?

To be completely honest there are still times when I doubt the success of my business, however, I believe this is a challenge most entrepreneurs face. We have extremely high expectations but that is also what sets us apart from other services.

How did you get your first customer?

Craigslist can be a useful business tool and it is something that my business has utilized. We received our very first customer from an ad and with so many services available through advertisements, taking advantage of acquiring business online can be advantageous.

What is one marketing strategy that you use? 

Word of mouth has been our most successful business tool and continues to generate profit.  Satisfied customers are the best marketing strategy because it reflects the overall quality of the services being offered.

What is the toughest business decision you have had to make? 

Changing staff is always difficult as individuals start at the center with an “I can offer” attitude which does not always work out. We offer an extensive amount of support but ultimately, I need to make tough decisions for the success of the company.

What do you think makes you successful?

I believe that both “drive” and “grit” are factors that make our business successful. We encounter our share of obstacles but for the most part any difficulties we face just drive us forward. Building your own successful business from the ground up is one of the most difficult endeavors to take on but persistence and a positive attitude will get you to where you want to be.

What is the most satisfying moment?

The most satisfying moment is watching the children succeed. Little Newtons aims to provide an extensive educational foundation, skills that will benefit the child for life. When a child begins to develop and understand what we are teaching it can be extremely rewarding.

What is a recent purchase you have made that helped with your business?

A recent purchase that has benefited our business would be notebooks. It appears trivial, however having the ability to write down ideas, follow up questions, etc. are necessary when it comes to reflecting on the day’s progress and activities.

What does the future hold?

The future for Little Newtons is continued growth and expansion. With more parents realizing the importance of early childhood development we are well on our way to opening more locations. The goal is to reach as many children as possible and by continuously aiming to improve our services we will only set ourselves apart from other child care programs.

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