Dear Readers – I was intrigued by a comment businesswoman Melanie McGhee wrote, mentioning how she takes an annual business planning retreat.  I asked her to share her process and insights with all of us.  For today’s New Moon, here’s a new idea!  What do you think?

Melanie writes:

One of the members of my mastermind group, Sue Painter, recently invited me to join her and a small group of incredible people coming together for a business planning retreat.  I very much wanted to go.  After all, she is a master businesswoman and marketer.  But the timing isn’t right for me.  

Melanie's business

As my work is about the yoga of relationships, I’m clear on the value of staying in alignment and ease in my relationship with my business and see retreats as one way to do that.  I’m a big believer in retreats.  I’ve facilitated retreats for more than 20 years and have written an award-winning retreat book, An Illumined Life ~ A Personal Yearly Retreat & Reflection Guide.   

Given my appreciation for retreats, I was bummed that I couldn’t go on this retreat.  After spending a couple of weeks grumbling to myself about how much I wanted to go, I finally got back in touch with the seed of my grumbling, the pure desire and recognition that I am long overdue for a business planning retreat.  

I’ve taken these retreats in the past and find them enormously beneficial – just me, a couple of packets of post-its, some sharpies and my open mind.  When I take myself on this kind of retreat, I find a place to go that is pretty close to home, book a room or cabin and play in the field of limitless possibility and uncover clear direction and focus for the year.  

Though filled with blue-sky thinking, I find that with some structure, I have greater clarity and success.  Typically, my schedule includes meditation, yoga, walking and work time.  During “work time,” I create a plan for my upcoming year.  I do this by following a format that suits me best with questions and prompts that I have designed to help me focus. 

The areas of focus includes:

  • Reflection on the highlights and successes from my previous year
  • Identification of challenges I’ve faced
  • Insights & lessons
  • Vision for upcoming year in each area of my business.
  • Goals that fulfill that vision.  This includes addressing goals in the specific areas of my business.  For instance, after visioning in each of the following areas, I create goals for each of these areas:  promotion, money matters, client care, care and feeding of my team, events, continuing education. 

After my visioning and goal planning, I’m ready to create a prioritized plan.  Each step of the way, I take a few minutes to contemplate and make sure that my goals are aligned with my Spirit.  With all this in place, by the end of my retreat, I have a book that I’m ready to send off to a print on demand service and I have a spiral bound business plan with specific goals to keep me on track for the year.  Some people like a 3 ring binder, I prefer a spiral bound planner.  To each her own. 

After reading Ellen’s blog for a while, I think my next retreat might include an astrological reading for my business!  What about you, what might your business planning retreat look like?  If you need any help, check out my friend, Sue’s retreat, or get in touch with me.