The soloist ‘away day’

If you’ve been around a corporate environment, you’ll be familiar with the concept of the ‘off site’, ‘away day’, ‘strategic review’, ‘conference’, or ‘executive retreat’.

Apart from an excuse to over-indulge at the gala dinner, hug your work colleagues and sit on the photocopier, there’s a good reason all major companies do this – because it works.

Whatever you choose to call it, it boils down to the same thing. It’s a chance for the business to review what they’ve achieved over the year, identify improvements, set goals for the coming year(s) and map out a plan for achieving them.

January’s a great time to do this before the routine kicks back in. So are you game to have your very own ‘away day’?

Treat the day as a fully productive work day, except that there is no email, no phones and no client work. This is one day per year where all your energy and creativity is focused on improving your business.

Find an inspiring place where you can spread out, well away from your home or office. Write a detailed agenda beforehand with specific topics and time to be spent on each.

You could dust off your business plan (if you have one) and update it. Review your marketing material. Rewrite your home page. Revisit your pricing strategies. Explore ways to delight your most valuable clients. Set some bold goals. Write your elevator statement. Research your competition. Brainstorm new business ideas. Create a marketing plan.

Yes, it’s a chance to get cracking on your “as soon as I get a second to think” list!

The key to making all this worthwhile is to come away with a list of specific actions with completion dates next to them. That way, next January you can see exactly what you have or haven’t done.

So book a day in your calendar, write the agenda, divert the phone and you’re ready for your annual away day.

Do you already do this? Do you see it as a valuable exercise?

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