This isn’t the first time this Stamford, Texas small business has applied for the Nav grant, and we’re glad they applied again. We’re really excited for them to receive the $5,000 grant.
BriTanya Bays, CEO and owner of Our Loving Village, started her business because there was a lack of high-quality childcare and education services in her community. “As first-time parents of twins, my husband and I wanted to cultivate a community of like-minded parents who wanted more than just a daycare service for their young children,” she says. “It takes a village to raise a child and Our Loving Village takes our inspiration from that. We’re a metaphorical village network for parents striving to raise emotionally intelligent children who understand the importance of community.”
Our Loving Village Is Not A Typical Daycare
Bays’ mission is to provide an exceptional early childhood program that incorporates learning principles that help children and their families understand what is developmentally appropriate for their children. “We offer play and nature-based activities that provide multiple sensory experiences that help children perceive the world around them,” says Bays.
With flexible hours of operation, that aren’t otherwise available in their community, they are providing consistent childcare and a community for young families to support the emotional, social, and economic growth of future generations in a way that also meets the employment needs of their parents.
“The most rewarding part of Our Loving Village is the daily opportunity we have to positively impact the lives of many children and families through education, encouragement, and empowerment,” she says. “I am very fortunate to be a nurturer, educator, and a wealth of resources for the future.”
Although the work can be hard, Bays feels it’s incredibly important. Showing children, who aren’t your own, the world around them is no small task. Treating them with respect and dignity without question is a conscious choice we make every day.
Nav Wasn’t a Stranger to Our Loving Village
Bays has been subscribed to Nav’s newsletters and learned about how business credit and personal credit work together as a small business owner with the free resources available at Nav. “I’m subscribed to Nav’s emails and love opening them because they are usually very relevant to what I’m facing in my business,” she says. “I read articles on the website to understand more about being a small business owner and love how the content is relatable and the video content is easily digestible.”
Overcoming Business Challenges
Like every small business owner today, in the midst of the pandemic, Our Loving Village has felt the impact of COVID-19 and how it’s impacted how close children and caregivers can be. Emotionally and socially, young children don’t understand what’s going on and Bays feels that providing a safe, warm, and caring environment is more important than ever. “Every day of 2020 I worried about what I should or shouldn’t be doing to keep our business going and provide for the families we serve, and despite how difficult it was, I feel like we’ve navigated the obstacles gracefully,” she says.
She does believe the most challenging thing about running her small business is keeping her dreams for the future grounded in reality. “I have so many novel ideas about what my business could offer,” she says. “I”m trying to pace myself to do one thing well at a time so I can develop these dreams in a concrete way—to help ensure our financial feasibility.”
Running a business is no small feat. As a first-time business owner, she stumbled with a lot of the things many business owners face. She says the biggest mistake she made early on was forgetting that her business was a real business. “I made a few judgment calls about missed client payments that weren’t good for either Our Loving Village or our clients,” says Bays. “I’m a lot more firm about my pricing and client satisfaction, without discounting my services.”
Keep Your Vision Clear
The thing she’s probably most proud of is that she has been able to keep her vision for Our Loving Village always clear and front and center. “I feel destined to pioneer a successful, high-quality, affordable, early childhood educational child care center,” she says. “Being able to reflect on that vision for the past five years gives me insight into my values and how to incorporate them into my business.”
It also has informed what she plans on doing with the Nav grant. She intends to use the $5,000 to help launch a healthy garden initiative for young children in the community. The #villageblessing garden will complement her current business model and commitment to nature-based instruction. “I will be able to source my own local, organic produce in the meals we serve the children and be able to sell at local farmer’s markets. She exclaims, “This will literally change lives.”
What’s Next for Our Loving Village?
“Exiting the pandemic into 2021 will be a year of tweaking our service delivery and adjusting to the post-pandemic economy,” she says. “The biggest focus will be quality childcare and the garden project to ensure sustainability.”
As a local small business ambassador and volunteer with the local Chamber of Commerce she’ll continue to be active in her community. She also plans to work closely with her local SBDC to help gain even more perspective on how to build a successful business.
Her advice to other small businesses includes paying attention to your successes—no matter how small, appreciate and acknowledge your resilience and commitment, and always remember to value what you’re doing.
Nav offers both a $10,000 and a $5,000 grant every quarter to small businesses all across the country. Your business can also apply for a Nav grant.
This article was originally written on January 21, 2021.