- Suzy Wakefield
Offsite to Insight
Whether you are a one-person show or a small team, working day in and out on your passions, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. We all go through it. Ongoing tasks and how we approach them can become rote and uninspiring. At this point, we inadvertently stop thinking about why we do what we do and how it could evolve. In doing so, we can also lose sight of what innovations or a different perspective could move us forward in the collections we are creating.
This is why we recommend that at least once a quarter, you have an offsite; an occasion when stakeholders go somewhere away from their office together, specifically for a meeting or for team building. Even if you’re a mighty team of one, it’s a chance to take stock.
Here are #10tips for making this activity as effective and inspirational as it can be.
Rules for Engagement
1. Put it in the calendar for a four- five-hour block recurring 4 x/year. During which you will be off the grid with heads down into what’s next. Have a prepared agenda and materials relevant to reviewing the original, current, and future state of your brand.
2. Do it in a space that is not the one you are in every day, even if it’s someone’s living room floor. This change in environment will in and of itself help you to think differently.
3. Phones down (and off!) and Sharpies out. This is a time to go old school with large pads of paper, pens, and tape to make lists, sketch out ideas and think on your feet rather than be limited to what you can google or type. Plan to keep all these documents recorded for posterity.
Challenge yourself and your beliefs
4. Encourage a mindset that is both directed and curious. Challenge yourself to define your brand’s vision now, compare and contrast it with when you began, and discuss your 1-month, 6-month, and 1-year goals for it. Now add 3 small actionable steps for each goal to get you there. Write them down and be prepared to look at them every day until the next offsite to keep track.
5. Review your target customer, your current product as well as what is in the pipeline, along with your most current brand vision materials. Do they all make sense together? Are you walking the talk? If not do some creative brainstorming on how this could change. Review every aspect of the customer experience and see why they are doing what they are and how can you make it more frictionless. This includes analyzing returns, reviews, and qualitative data from your customer. Additionally, think about what are some high engagement, low spend grassroots of learning more about them and getting your ideas out there.
6. Review a SWOT for your brand. Nothing takes the place of a simple, factual manner of breaking down what is going on. Here is a template you can use to start yours.
7. Play the magic wand game and see where it leads. If you had one what would you do-give yourself more money? To do what with? How could the collection be better? Fabric, innovation, an array of colors? Marketing to the customer? Now go back and see what your muggle not-magical wand can do with the people and parameters that you have now.
8. Let everyone have a chance to talk about their focus, impact, and any challenges they have been experiencing either internal or external to getting their jobs done.
9. Wrap up the time with a recap of where you got and where you are headed. Every time won’t necessarily have a huge epiphany but more often than not, you will probably have an impactful insight or outcome that would never happen from being in the office. With the added bonus that you will get closer to each other, everyone
10. Don’t have a large team? Don’t let this stop you. All the above steps are just as effective with a one-person show. It’s about stepping back and thinking through. If you are a solopreneur, use part of the time to think about if there is anything you could be bringing someone into your org for, so that you can work on bigger priorities. Also a good chance to see if you can get a personal board of advisors or mentors to take 30 min of this time and do a zoom for feedback on what you have come up with. No doubt they will be happy to do it.
We’ve seen huge strides in brands of all sizes when the key stakeholders come together and talk about the things in your company that matter most-the what, how, and why you do what you do. And the most important one, What If….
Need some help making this happen? One of our superpowers is our expertise in mentoring creative and strategic decision-making, followed by supporting founders to take action steps that improve the bottom line of their brand. This includes facilitating an Offsite that will deliver huge insights. Reach out here to learn more about how our comprehensive services can help you.