Designing a Business Retreat

Every small business owner needs time away from their business to reevaluate, recharge, and gain perspective on their business.  Sometimes we get so stuck in the every day of our business that we don't take time to plan the big picture.  Surprisingly one of the best things you can do when running an interior design business is to get away from it!  Learn how!

I'm going to introduce what is probably a radical concept to many interior design business owners out there.  A retreat.  To be more exact: a business retreat.  Know all those conferences that are held by very large businesses where they fly their star employees to a location, have meetings all day, then follow up with some band that hasn't put out an album in at least 20 years?  That's what I want you to do, at least yearly.  Better bi-annually. You can have a business retreat without the employees and without the band, but keep the meetings and the planning.  

This is a wonderful time of year to start thinking about it.  Look at your calendar, pick a day, preferably two and preferably not the weekend.  Why not the weekend?  Because you are business planning, and this is work and it shouldn't feel like the weekend.  I also don't want you to feel burnt out from working two weeks straight.  #worksmarternotharder

Why do you need a business retreat?

Taking time out is important for everyone.  It is even more important for creative interior designers who have to juggle running a business.  Running a business can be overwhelming.  To balance the overwhelm you need a little time out.

Taking a business retreat can bring you new perspectives and ideas.  When you continue to work IN your business, focusing on your daily task and serving clients, you never have to chance to poke your head up and look around.  You need to step outside these daily duties otherwise your business can stagnate.

By stepping away from your day-to-day work you can work ON your business.  You can start to shape it from the top down and guide it where you'd like to go.  Taking control of your business is also good for you psychologically.  It puts you in the position of power, of being and acting as the CEO of your company.  It will give you confidence.

So what do you do on a business retreat?

This is your business planning time.  Where you look at your goals and objectives and see if you're on track or if you need to realign.  Now is the time to dream big, create big projects and plans, and then put them into action.

A business retreat is high-level planning time.

You can work on your marketing, you can go back to basics and review your mission and vision statements, you could flesh out your branding or work on a New Client Packet.  Start setting up systems for your business or review past projects to make sure your pricing still makes sense.  You can tackle your top 3 business issues and brainstorm steps to solve them.  Decide what is working and what needs to be worked on or eliminated completely.

How to do a business retreat

  1. Get out of your office.  Rent a meeting space for a couple days or even better book a room at a hotel.  This is a retreat.  Retreat from your normal work space.
  2. Choose 1 or 2 days during the week.  I mentioned this above, don't make yourself work through the weekend.  It's okay to take a couple days to work ON your business.  It is still work and should be done during the workdays.
  3. Treat yourself, this should feel good.  You should want to go on this business retreat.  It should be relaxing and fun.  Plan a little indulgence into your retreat.  Room service.  A two-martini lunch.  Spa service.  A long walk.  A favorite cup of tea in a new mug.  A museum visit.  Do something that fills you up.  If you don't make this an enjoyable and special experience you won't want to repeat it.
  4. Unplug, while you still may choose to use your computer, don't take calls, don't visit social media, no emails.  This is about getting out of the day-to-day.
  5. Really no email. For a successful business retreat, you need to retreat.  You cannot be pulled back into the day to day running of your business.  Every time you check your email you are removing yourself from the purpose of having a retreat.  Don't waste your time.
  6. Have a plan.  Loosely make a plan of what you want to accomplish and when.  Plan in that treat.  Block out times.  Having a plan before you go will help you stay on track.

Take action:  Right now take out your calendar and write BUSINESS RETREAT over two days in the near future.  Then using the steps above start planning.  Come back and tell me how it went!  Happy retreating!

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