Last week, I tucked away with my team in a gorgeous home in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia. Melissa, Shannon, and Eileen flew in from three different states so that we could huddle together to make grand plans for the coming year. Our Strategic Team Retreat has become an annual fall tradition, offering us a chance to look back on the year that was and plan what’s next for ourselves (and for you, too).
The retreat itself is preceded by a solid month of data collection and planning. Aside from finding digs which are both comfortable enough and swanky enough to keep us happy, there’s a mountain of research that needs to be done: each Lucky Break teammate reviews themselves, giving me important insight into what they love about their job, and what they find less thrilling, I discover what skills sets I’ve left untapped, how I can make their work more efficient and fulfilling, and how I can communicate with them more effectively. There are dozens of reports we pull to discover data trends: revenue figures, sales-by-product, Google Analytics for our website, MailChimp email marketing stats, month-by-month social media analysis… the list goes on and on.
And then there’s the most important piece. You might not have realized it, but I saved a seat at our table for you too! I designed a Client Survey and sent it out to my email subscribers, asking them to share their thoughts with the Lucky Break team. We explored what you’re struggling with, which facets of your business you feel the most confident it, and what you’d like to see us create next. We wanted you to have a seat at the table, too, and we poured over all 142 survey responses with a keen eye toward understanding how we can best serve you in 2017.
We spent an average of 12 hours a day in meetings: data review, brainstorming, and schedule plotting, punctuated by the occasional dance break. We tore apart a giant desk calendar, taping it to the walls of the dining room, loading each month with dozens of brightly colored Post-it notes to mark every open enrollment period, every new product launch, and every speaking engagement. Melissa typed as we talked, creating a 57-page roadmap of the next twelve months (complete with an alphabetical index, because that woman is a goddess!).
And there’s no possible way that you could get the four of us together in one room for a week without some serious shenanigans happening. Between meetings, we feasted on crab cakes in a sunny restaurant by the river. We noshed on goat-cheese-stuffed artichokes in a historic mansion. We hosted a wine-fueled pajama party on Periscope and survived a Moscow-Mule-fueled ghost tour in a pop-up hearse. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…
By the end of the week, we had a fresh perspective on our ideal customer, a list of things we’re discontinuing in 2017, a whole host of awesome new things we’re bringing to the forefront, a list of cool peeps we want to play with, a robust calendar that’s going to keep us hella busy, and a set of revenue projections that make me slightly terrified… in the best way possible. If you’re not stretching, you’re not growing, right?
Though I can’t spill all the beans, I’d love to give you a sneak peek at a few of our key plans for 2017…
- After dedicating more than 150 hours to free Periscope business trainings in 2016, I’m pulling up stakes and refocusing my efforts on an eventulal podcast. I’m wildly excited about this project and we’re in the midst of the naming-branding-booking process. It will be an interview format aimed at empowering business-minded makers and product designers with twice-a-month releases. Stay tuned for more details, but I hope you’ll listen in.
- I’ve spent the past several years working deeply with makers on product pricing. I wrote a detailed ebook about it, developed a software program to help you crunch your costs of production, and consult weekly with makers to identify smarter pricing strategies. I’m ready to go deeper… much deeper. I’m working on a paperback book which dives into the psychology of pricing, the re-release of my Price-O-Matic software (you’ll no longer need Excel to power it… hooray!) and my first-ever pricing class. I’m hell-bent on getting your pricing where it needs to be to keep your profitable and happy!
That’s just a taste of what’s to come. I’m deeply grateful to my team for their passion and insane work ethic… they want to see you succeed every bit as much as I do, and it’s such a blessing to have them in my corner (and yours, too). I’m grateful to you, for trusting me to help grow your business and for reading my blogs, watching my Periscopes, investing in my classes, and telling your friends about my work. Launching Lucky Break has been 13 times harder than I imagined, but the work is 87 times more fulfilling than I could have ever hoped for. Knowing that what I do every days helps makers and product designers build their entrepreneurial muscles, boost their confidence, provide for the people they love, and dream bigger for themselves is the very best kind of work, and I’m honored to be able to do it every damn day.
Buckle up, kittens… 2017 is going to be a special kind of wild!