I wanted to write about a small business retreat but can we just have a moment for this photo? Isn’t it the most hilarious thing ever? We all just stood around at HQ dying laughing over our individual and awkward posing… also, it looks like the album cover for your new favorite band. I mean, I can’t even with this thing.
Back to it. Those of you who follow us on social might have seen that we headed out to Palm Springs a couple of weeks back for our annual company retreat. We rent a house and spend a couple of days planning out our year, brainstorming and playing a lot of board games. Since I know some of you own businesses as well I thought I’d share some of my best tips for planning your own company retreat.
- Get Away – I personally believe it’s super important to get away from your norm for a small business retreat. In the old days when I didn’t have the budget for a rental house in Palm Springs we’d rent a conference room at a local hotel. I use my retreats to get my employees fired up about the company and the next year and I think a big part of that is making it feel special. It’s hard to feel special when you’re meeting at the same place where you usually eat your lunch.
- Make Sure You Have a Plan – At Chic, we’re pretty hardcore about our retreat timeline. The retreat planning committee starts mapping it out months in advance based on what we did the year before. We schedule in time for everything from morning workouts, to breakfast, to ice breakers, to root beer floats at night. As a business owner the cost of a retreat can be pricy so you need to make sure you’re using your employees time efficiently.
- What do we go over? A review of our employee manual, branding, marketing, PR, new business development, publishing, brainstorming, and goal setting for the next year.
- What do we expect? If you haven’t ever done a small business retreat before I’d suggest you research what other companies do to pull together your timeline. Also, make sure your employees know what you expect out of them before you leave. If you’re expecting a focused working weekend and they’re expecting a booze cruise there’s going to be a whole lot of trouble.
- A Chance to Bond – One of the most important elements of a small business retreat is a chance to bond as a team. Everyone at Chic gets along really well but the retreat is a great chance for more connection. It’s easier to get through the stress of a chaotic deadline with a team that you laughed your head off with over Apples to Apples a couple of weeks before.
- Consider Competition – This year, for the first time, ever we included a little competition at our retreat. Teams were drawn out of a hat and each one had to come up with a “big idea” for chic. They were tasked with presentations and presenting and the result was so much fun and gave us a ton of great ideas for 2016. Think about what this might look like in your own team.
- Gift Bag – Part of building up excitement for the team is our Chic Retreat Gift Bag. It’s always filled with fabulous things to pamper Chic employees and is a thank you for all their hard work. This year’s included: AHAVA hand lotion, Pixi Beauty products, goodies from Island Goddess, loads of essential oils from Aura Cacia, plus a water bottle, coupon and hair band from Tribe Hummus. Now that’s what I call a gift bag!