I have developed the Personal Retreat to be just that, personal. It is a journey of discovery with and for yourself. So, I’ve been asked how that can make you successful in business? What relevancy does it have to being an entrepreneur? As it turns out, quite a bit.
Building the Need
I started an IT services business in 2012. We were all about being the “IT Department for Small Business”. If a company were large enough to have technology needs, but too small to hire staff, they could outsource to us.
The first quarter was very quiet, had one large client and picked up a smaller one rather quickly. Things seemed to be on track with my estimates. The next quarter the news got out and we picked up another medium sized client, then another small one. Same thing next quarter. We were growing by 30% every quarter and I was getting very busy.
It was then time to hire my first employee. I did have a business coach who put together a plan for me so I could make good decisions on what to hire for. Then an HR professional helped me with our first employee handbook and job descriptions. My first hire was one of the best I had ever done thanks to that help.
Within 6 months of the first hire, we needed to hire again. It was clear we were enjoying a successful business plan, and that meant I had more on my plate. This business was growing 3 times faster than I forecast. I had an exit strategy but I didn’t have a stratospheric launch strategy.
You Might need a Retreat
Having a successful business is undoubtedly a good problem to have. I am humbled by how well my growing team did. At the same time, I was taking on a lot. When a client had a critical issue, it was all hands-on deck. My schedule was packed with meetings, networking groups, chamber events, and other efforts to grow the business. My off time was spent doing the books, measuring progress, doing invoicing, paying bills, and getting paid. We were not yet big enough to afford an overhead position, so I had a number of tasks to manage.
It was not long before the impacts of being busy took a toll on my health. Quick food is fast food and fast food is not good for you. Especially when you have it for 80% of your weekly meals. As you can imagine, most of IT work is done sitting down, as is quite a bit of the other administrative business tasks. Weight and blood pressure were rising as well as profits.
More time at work meant less time for family. I missed or had to cancel a few different family activities. The business suffered in other ways, with my busy schedule, it did not take much to miss a meeting or an event. Missed opportunities to grow further and maybe hire the assistant I so desperately needed.
A Retreat Delivers
Taking the day off to work on my retreat alone was a huge relief. Thanks to everyone around me stepping up, I was able to really focus on the steps. In this process, I learned a lot about myself. I also learned what I was good at and what I needed to stop doing. Looking back on the reasons I’d started the business in the first place. I could re-affirm to myself that mission and the values that formed the genesis of my company.
Having these quiet moments allowed for reflection that led to better goal planning for me personally. I could address my health, family, and business once I got my head cleared. It was not long after that my health did improve, I did make and keep family commitments, and sustained the success of the business.
Coming away from the retreat with a more defined purpose allowed me to readdress the way the business was formed. Changing these goals gave me the time and energy to focus on building the business and not miss any more meetings.
The path I created led to becoming an employee-managed business. I serve as president and a personal mentor to every one of our team. After understanding where a lack of purpose and self-knowledge can lead, I wish to ensure they are all well supported.
What problems are you struggling with personally that are impacting your business? A retreat is a great way to define them. Perhaps you would like to get a copy of the book? Drop me a note, I would be happy to share more of my story with you as well.