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Step 1. Set your Goals

If you don't set a goal then you will never know if you have achieved. Its also important to make sure that you are setting the right goals for you. Many people set goals they never achieve, however there are several proven methods, backed up by research that you can use when setting your goals to vastly improve your chances of success.

Here are just a few of them :

Make your goals SMART goals, this is a commonly used acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed.


Create micro milestones! If we are always looking at a goal in the far off distant future its hard to stay motivated, its important to break down the journey into micro milestones and congratulate yourself when you reach the top of each peak.


Monitor what motivates you! Its far easier to motivate yourself and the end goal is far more rewarding if we are motivated by intrinsic rather than extrinsic goals. 


Step 2. Do Your Market Research

Sometimes we can be so excited and in such a rush to get started on the fun part of designing our retreat that we can miss this crucial stage.


Questions that you will want to know the answers to before you get started on anything else include :

Who is my competition in that area? What are they charging? What do they include? When is the peak season?

What can I expect to pay for accommodation? The main cost for any retreat and a vital piece of information

Who are my target demographic? Its all too easy to design a retreat the way we would like it, but we have to think about getting it right for our target demographic.


After gathering all of the necessary information we will want to make a profit and loss forecast. Into this forecast we put the expected generated revenue and deduct our fixed costs and operating costs. We want to establish where our break even point is and what the potential profits or losses are before committing to anything. 



Step 3. Develop your Brand

By this we don't mean create a logo or decide on a font and colour scheme, although these are important details that can help convey the personality of a business it shouldn't be your starting point.

We think its important to start with the Why?

As Simon Sinek explains in his book 'start with why' what separates good companies from great companies, is that the good companies don't start with what they do, but why they do it.

As part of this identify what your core values are and why it is that you want to run retreats? This will help you identify what your USP will be and clearly define how you will differentiate yourself from your competitors.


Also equally important is to tell your individual story. When people buy into something they don't just buy into the business, they buy into you! Clearly communicating your own personal story is one of the most powerful tools you have in creating a unique and long lasting brand.


Here is my own story of why I decided to start retreats...


Rock Maze


Step 4. Design your Retreat

As well as the day to day stuff such as what will be included, the menu and what roles you will play at the retreat, we would encourage you to take some time to think about how you can create some powerful defining moments within the retreat. Its these small and special moments that people treasure and remember long after they have left.


At our retreats we spend a lot of time thinking about the small details. So for example when people arrive at our retreats they find an envelope on the bed with a red ribbon tied around it and a flower. When they open the envelope they discover their own personalised horoscope along with the itinerary for the week. When they come for their first yoga class they find a personalised journal which we gift to them. We ask people to use the journal to keep a gratitude list and to write daily their thoughts and feelings during the retreat. On the last evening of the retreat we drive high up the volcano Mount Teide to over 2200m, we climb up to the top of a peak and sit perched above a fluffy sea of white clouds. Here in this awe inspiring location we have a closing circle where anyone who would like to can share their thoughts and feelings from the week. Its a beautiful closing moment that often moves people to tears.


The experience we create is filled with dozens of these big and small defining moments, which I believe is one of the reasons our retreats are so highly rated.


If you want to get more inspiration about creating your own unique defining moments I would recommend reading 'The Power of Moments' by Chip & Dan Heath 


Step 5. Market your Retreat

Now for the part that most people struggle with, how to reach your target market? While we believe that social media obviously plays a crucial role in marketing your retreats and it may be sufficient for running 1 or 2 retreats a year, if you are running them regularly it simply won't be enough.


We sell out 16 retreats a year and we simply couldn't do this if we solely relied on our social media presence. Here are some of the best ways we have found to market our retreats :


Create a free google business listing, you will come up on the first page of google when people search for you by location and you would be surprised how many people will find you this way.


Build a community on your website by offering something free. Attract traffic to your website by offering a free video library, audio of free guided meditations or free vegan cooking recipes.


Build your reputation on booking sites. Around 80% of our bookings come through just 3 booking sites. These are Book Yoga Retreats, Book Retreats and The Retreat Company. We spent time creating quality content, are always super responsive and quick with replies and always remind our customers to leave reviews. There are lots of other things to consider when using booking sites and best practices to rank highly on their sites, the same way as doing SEO for your website will make you rank higher on google. If you would like to learn more about these you can book a coaching package with us.

Team Talk


Step 6. People Management

Not everyone is a natural leader, but everyone has the ability to learn. If you are going to run retreats regularly and not exhaust yourself you will have to know how to delegate responsibility and manage a team of people effectively.


When I first started running retreats I had little experience in managing other people and a great desire for everything to be perfect. This manifested itself in me being overbearing at times, micro managing and not creating an environment that encouraged people to be creative or offer ideas. Over time I have improved my management style to be much less autocratic and to allow people freedom to add their own creative touches. I still have a long way to go, but I have faith in my ability to continue learning and improving. I can't imagine now running the retreats without our small, brilliant and faithful team.


Its a broad topic to cover but some of the books that have helped me and which we reference in our coaching includes :

Messengers - by Stephen Martin 

Leaders Eat Last - by Simon Sinek

Ego Free Leadership - by Brandon Black

Emotional Intelligence - by Daniel Goleman



Step 7. Book Keeping & Administration

Undoubtedly one of the more boring jobs of running your own business, but undoubtedly a crucial part of any organised business and something that you need to make sure you get right is your book keeping and administration. 


Open a separate business bank account to make sure that all of your retreat revenue and costs is entirely separate from any personal expenses. We would advise automating as much of the accounting process as possible by using accountancy software such as Xerowhich will automatically link to your bank account and Dext to upload receipts and invoices.


For collecting customer data we recommend you make a contact form on the website with all of the info that you need for the retreat as well as the customers email and phone number. You can then download the submissions before the retreat and have all the customers details in one spreadsheet. Add the customers emails to a Mailchimp account which you can then use for sending future offers and promotions. You can create a completely free account that holds up to 1000 email addresses. 


Understandably when people make enquiries they often asks the same questions. Make an FAQ section in your notes on your phone and computer, so that you can reply as quickly as possible with a detailed response that answers their questions. The faster you reply to enquiries the higher probability you have of that person making a booking. 


7 Steps to Success

“A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.”

Want more inspiration for your retreats?

Many of my ideas for the retreats come from books that have given me inspiration or ideas around marketing, creating experiences, people management and more. If you enjoy learning through reading here are some of my favourite books that have given me inspiration in creating my retreats.

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