How To Plan A Quarterly Biz Retreat

How to do a quarterly business retreat as a solopreneur

Now that the beginning of the year has come and gone, do you have feel like you have a full-proof vision and super organized goals?

Still not there yet? That is totally okay!

My goals for this year started strong but then went way off the rails.

Mistake #1: I planned way more than I could actually accomplish. My deadlines were so not realistic and I was trying to cram too many projects in.

Mistake #2: Doing things out of order. I sometimes get these big ideas (like launching a membership site) but then forget that there are little steps that need put in place first (like uh…. marketing it? Oops.) I had to do some serious backtracking.

Luckily, all of these issues came up around the same time as my quarterly Biz Retreat and I could sort it all out!


Business Retreat Planner - free printable

What is a Biz Retreat?

A few years ago my sisters and I (who are also creative business owners) began taking a FULL DAY to strategize, evaluate, plan, and get organized for the season ahead.

if you’re a solopreneur, blogger, designer, etc. you don’t typically have a team to bounce ideas off of all the time. So spending the day setting goals with a few other creatives who just get what you’re trying to accomplish with your business is so helpful.

I usually create a quick biz retreat planner to keep us on track (get it here), but all you really need is a notebook, your calendar, and possibly a laptop or mobile device.


Where to do a business retreat with fellow creatives - The Mill - Lincoln, NE

When & Where to Have Your Biz Retreat?

Since i have little ones, I organize childcare and limit the retreat to one full day. But you could even do a full weekend away if that helps.

Choose a cozy environment or two where you’ll spend most of your time brainstorming and organizing your next quarter.

We usually do a cafe like The Mill Coffee & Bistro with free Wi-fi and with options for breakfast, lunch and snacks since we hang out for a while. But in past years we also bounced around to different restaurants and even just used my house for part of the day. If you have more time or can only do once a year, why not spend it out of town on the beach or at a cozy cabin in the mountains?

I highly recommend doing your retreat 1-2 weeks before the next quarter starts so you have a good amount of time to get organized and add items to your calendar.


How to have a business retreat for creatives

What We Discuss On Our Biz Retreats

Anything that needs a little extra feedback or organization is up for discussion. But we also try to address a few main things every time….

Last Quarter Review

It’s really important to note what has and has not been working. Ask yourselves what to keep doing and what hang ups you should avoid. That way you won’t just keep moving ahead with new goals and making the same mistakes.

New Quarter Goals

I like to choose a quarterly productivity goal for 4 main areas of my business. Any more than that seems to be too overwhelming for me to keep up with.

Then we take those quarterly goals and break them down into monthly goals within the quarter. This helps to make sure we don’t get distracted by busywork and actually make progress on those big goals.

You can even break it down further and do bi-weekly/weekly tasks if you want to be really detailed. I do this but they often get changed because my weeks don’t always go according to plan.

(My sweet stylish sister Amy from  New Nostalgia )

(My sweet stylish sister Amy from New Nostalgia)

Content Plan

if your business is online, you probably know how important it is to have consistent, sharable content to help your customers find you.

Maybe this looks like blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media posts, or an email list - it could be a mix of all of them!

We take this time to really plan out our editorial calendar for the next few months and key messages we want to communicate.

If you’re more spontaneous with content, it can be helpful to at least get an idea of what’s coming up on the calendar and what you want to share more about.

If you’re more detailed and have a lot of time, go ahead and get specific. I like to create a master list of content ideas and then later strategically add them to my calendar.

This is the perfect time to get feedback from your biz buddies on which ideas are good ones.

How to have a business retreat - project planning

Project Plan

In order to stay in business, you’ll have to make an income.

Depending on your business model, this may look a little different than your friend’s business.

If you have a product-based business, you’ll need to figure out which projects are the most profitable, how many of each product you’ll need to sell and maybe some different promotions for the year.

If you offer a service, your projects will be figuring out how to make your service more appealing, what prices/packages you need, and how to reach out to new and current customers.

If you have a subscription-based business, your projects will be planning out how to get more members, how to keep the members you have or some additional elements you can add to your subscription packages.

Marketing Plan

This is an area I’ve definitely struggled with in the past so it’s super helpful to hear outside opinions to help me create a plan.

You probably hear all the time that it’s so important to build your email list, have promoted content, create funnels, etc. I don’t know about you but it’s been so easy for me to push those things to the back burner and just create products.

So that’s why sitting down at least once a quarter and planning out the next steps is really helpful. It causes me to focus in and figure out how I’m actually going to get the word out about what I’m creating.

For our Biz Retreats, we discuss marketing with social media platforms, email campaigns and ad campaigns. We want them to be planned out in as much detail as possible for the next three months so it’s not something we have to keep rethinking.

Utilize Your Calendar

Goals and ideas are going to stay floating around in your head unless there’s an action plan. So now that you’ve figure out what you want to do, getting goals on the calendar is how you commit to them.

You may want to schedule time after your Biz Retreat to clean up your calendar and begin adding deadlines to the strategies you came up with. I personally love Asana for this, but you can use Google Calendar, a printed planner, or a simple pen and paper.

The dates can always change, but if you have a pretty good idea of when things are happening, it’s lot easier to take action without forgetting.

Pro Tip: Use different colors! If it’s fun to look at, you’ll probably utilize it more.

While you’re at it, schedule times for you to check in with your business buddies each month. If you can hold each other accountable, there’s a better chance of you all reaching your goals.

Have a blast on your retreat! Keep it fun with lots of snacks, photos and breaks so you can keep up the motivation. You’ll be knocking out those goals in no time!

xo, Laurie
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