By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
With the holiday season in full swing, let’s hope we can find time for a break to reflect on how much we’ve accomplished this year and start planning for 2020. I have friends who do this very deliberately at every year’s end. They’ll go somewhere warm near the ocean to review the past year’s performance and adjust for what’s coming for their businesses, themselves, and their families.
Okay, I understand that time away from your business can seem more stressful than it's worth. I’m not suggesting you hop on a plane and take off for Costa Rica and spend all your time lying in the sand – although, hey, not a bad idea. I’m talking about a long weekend break to let yourself and your team get a little R&R and maybe do some important planning.
A nice spot doesn’t need to be expensive. You can rent a local beach house or cabin for 3 or 4 days at winter rates. Start the morning with a nice breakfast, and maybe a walk a few miles to clear your head. Plan to spend 4 or 5 hours a day on your agenda. Break for lunch, and at day’s end leave all work talk and thoughts behind until tomorrow. This routine will allow you and your team to clear your heads and start fresh in the morning.
During your planning time, go over each area of the business and identify what’s working and what might have to change. Target some problem areas and discuss possible solutions. Review the year’s accounting reports and results from your company’s sales and promotions. Leave room for a brainstorming session where everyone can add any new ideas, including ideas for out-of-the- box promotions.
Yes, you might not get every question answered and every problem solved, but the time away will help you come up with fresh ideas for the new year. I’ve found during the business retreats I’ve attended that the scheduled time away was invaluable for the company and my own frame of mind and well-being.