Stacy Mafera New 2013Hello friends!

Boy, do I feel motivated and ready to take on the world.  This past week I had the pleasure of taking part in our Building Business retreat down at the Inn on Onset Bay along with ten other women, facilitated by our very own Jacquie Collins of Partnering for Performance.  I have got to tell you, this was the best time and money I have spent on myself and my business in a very long time.

Pre-trip I had created a list (shocking, I know), of things I wanted to get accomplished — the basic things that most business owners can never find the time to do, such as mileage tracking, analyzing my expense reports, and tweaking my budget for the end of the year expenses, to name a few.  I packed up my bags, a box of supplies, paperwork, and a few books that I wanted to review and went on my way.  Now when you really look at this, could I have gotten this work done at home over the weekend?  The initial reaction would be yes … but alas, ten and a half months into the year and I had not done it yet.

Taking this time away from my normal surroundings encouraged me to act differently and be more productive — I did not have to worry about whether or not the dog had been let out, or if the mail had arrived yet, or about fighting that eternal battle of “do I throw in a load of laundry?  Or do I continue working?”
The retreat environment gave me the space to really focus on my business, Errands Etcetera, and on what the future looks like for my company.  I had the ability to bounce ideas off of others, and ask questions — a benefit you do not get when you work on your business plan at your dining room table.  I was able to fully immerse myself, and it felt AMAZING.

For the first time in a long time I felt myself considering the hard questions, and really taking my thoughts from inside my head and putting them down on paper (or, more literally, stored in my laptop).  I thought about what would happen if there was an accident and I could not work — what would be the next steps?  What kind of clients do I love to work with, and what types of clients/projects am I less excited about?  How many hours do I really need versus want to work each week, and how can I make those two values balance?  Where do I see myself in five years — am I still doing the bulk of the work?  Do I have employees?  Am I still living in Quincy?  Why do I see value in my business?  Why do I love what I do?  Having the time and space to step back and start to answer these questions are going to be the key to the success by design of my business.

During my weekend escape I might not have accomplished all I set out to do … but I was able to work on things that were just as important to running my business, and which cannot be delegated out (unlike my mileage report).  My business plan is still not complete but I can say that now I have a more definite direction, and I have a guide to help me remember when I’m feeling lost.

Stacy Doherty is the President of SSWBN and the owner of Errands Etcetera.