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Bell Curve


Your day care career begins with three squalling neighborhood kids crammed into your dining room and kitchen. You feed them PB&J sandwiches because that's all you can afford. Their educational entertainment consists of grainy VHS videos you bought at a thrift store.


Your first rented day care facility is sandwiched between a hair salon and a convenience store. You've got one large playroom, a small kitchenette, and a separate bathroom for some semblance of privacy. A microscopic play yard gives kids a place to blow off some steam.


You've graduated to a stand-alone facility in a middle-class suburban community. The kids have a spacious play yard, a nice DVD player with a collection of animated flicks, and a quiet room for afternoon naps. You reach your 30-child capacity most of the time, which is okay because your three capable assistants can run herd on the little delinquents.


You snagged a co-op deal with a local community college's early childhood education program. You get energetic students to chase after the children, and students get college credit for each semester they survive. Your co-op facilitator has developed a program whereby co-op students introduce the kids to computers. You're laying the groundwork for a franchise operation.


Your regional franchises are growing like weeds, and you're planning a national rollout next year. You regularly speak at franchise and entrepreneurship expos, and you've helped numerous community colleges duplicate your co-op program. You've even found time to complete an online bachelor's degree in social work.