Ada Balint is running a business on a very crowded market, but she believes that what differentiates her from the crowd will also be the key to the success of her company.
Ada Balint, the owner and general manager of Micul Print kindergarten, put her fingers into many pies before alighting on her current line of work. She started to work when she was 19 and studying at the Psychology and Education Sciences Faculty in Cluj.
Her first job was as a journalist for Stirea (The News), a local daily paper specialized in cultural issues. Then she decided to work for Transilvania Jurnal, a regional daily paper. This, she says, was where she accumulated most of her current experience both on a professional and personal level.
But after that she decided that variety might be the key to her professional success, so she worked for an advertising agency, a recording studio, a restaurant, a club and a private kindergarten.
“I felt the need to pass through all of these,,” remembers Balint, who decided to set up her own business, Micul Print kindergarten, back in 2007. “I started this business with my soul,” she adds. The entrepreneur believes that both those who work in the private and public sector are involved in business processes. “This involvement is at different levels and scope,” adds the general manager.
The idea to establish her own kindergarten was in her mind long before she started her business, with the trigger coming in the spring of 2007 when a radio station announced a competition for kids to look for Micul Print (the little prince). “That was the crucial moment when I decided to set up the kindergarten Micul Print,” she says. And it seems that she was driven by a strong motivation as she decided to start working on the location of the kindergarten in June 2007. Its official launch took place a few months later, in September.
She decided to go into this business because of her experience. “It is something that I know how to do, I can do and I love to do. I don’t believe in businesses built in fields where you don’t have experience. You have to know exactly what you expect from yourself and from those involved in a specific project in order to be able to ask the maximum from them and to remain coherent,” says Balint.
As for the most difficult moments her business has faced, the entrepreneur says there have been plenty and she is pretty sure there will be plenty more in the future. But any problem simply vanishes when she has the satisfaction of a job done well.
“Each difficulty has its own solution when you see a smile on the face of a child or when you notice he or she is happy,” says the businesswoman. Balint has no regrets about the business decisions she has made. “I regret only those decisions I needed to postpone for different reasons,” she says.
Her approach is forward-thinking, with little time for dwelling on the past, as what’s done is done. “I want to think about improving our services rather than the past. The rest is history,” she adds.
According to her, the biggest challenge for her business is to transform every ordinary day into a memorable one for the kids in her kindergarten. “In addition, we offer psycho-educational consultancy services both at individual and group level,” she adds. The local kindergarten market is pretty crowded at the moment: there are about 160 stated-owned kindergartens and another 150 private ones in Bucharest alone.
“A about 40,000 children frequent state-owned infant schools while only 4,000 are registered at private ones. Therefore, the competition is very high. The figures speak for themselves,” says the young entrepreneur.
She believes that education through experience – which means that a child is directly involved in a serious game – is what differentiates Micul Print kindergarten from the crowd. And this seems to be more and more important as the majority of infant schools differentiate through proximity, monthly fees, number of children in a group, facilities, food, hygiene, medical supervisory, educational package and additional activities organized for the children, plus the expertise of the personnel involved in the teaching process.
In addition, the teaching activity at Micul Print takes place exclusively in English, with native speakers being involved in this process. “Plus, we offer an interesting range of activities, from sport, to arts and manners. We try to bring talented people in front of the kids, with Maria Radu as the music teacher being an example,” she adds. As a result, the children of Micul Print kindergarten have won several creativity awards in national competitions.
As for the future, Balint intends to remain coherent in her business approach and to adjust her strategy to the current economic conditions.
Micul Print kindergarten
Number of employees: 12
Initial investment: EUR 50,000
Number of children / teacher: up to 8