written by Racheal Cook MBA
At this point in the Unsexy Secrets to Sustainable Success series, it’s pretty clear that the creating – and sticking to – a strategic plan is the key differentiator between women entrepreneurs who thrive and those who are stuck in survival mode in their business.
But… there’s another challenge many entrepreneurs struggle with.
Us entrepreneurs tend to be AMAZING at coming up with the big dreams and ideas…
… and not so great following through.
That’s why simply planning isn’t enough.
We need to integrate systems into our businesses that help us to stay focused in implementation mode while also helping us to be agile and resilient to whatever the world throws at us.
That’s why these two practices – a weekly CEO Date and a quarterly CEO Retreat – are so crucially important to building self-accountability so we can see the consistent clients and cashflow we want!
A weekly CEO Date is a simple practice that I’ve had for over a decade. It is simply an appointment with the CEO of your business – that’s you! – to check in with the progress of your 90 day plan, adapt and adjust as needed, and prioritize your upcoming week.
It’s one hour that holds you accountable and helps you stick to your plan!
When I first started talking about this, a lot of people at first were like, “Sounds nice Rach… but I don’t have an extra hour or two every single week to plan!“
But research shows that for every hour that you spend PLANNING your work, you SAVE 10 HOURS IN IMPLEMENTATION!
Think about how much time is wasted each and every day when you sit down to your computer only to take 30 minutes to get organized and figure out what really needs to be done that day.
Or how much effort is wasted when you get interrupted with another client email or phone call… then can’t get back into the deep work that will really help move your business forward.
That’s why The CEO Date is so important – it saves you HOURS each week trying to get yourself organized and on task. It also forces you to check in regularly to see if you are on or off track with implementing your 90 Day Plan, so you catch challenges earlier and adapt faster.
Once I started sharing The CEO Date with my clients, they started sharing with me incredible results simply because they were able to be more focused and flexible in their planning – and actually stick to it!
Then we took it all a step further with The CEO Retreat.
There is no secret formula to the CEO Retreat.
We’re letting go of the day-to-day distractions by dedicating time to come together and map out exactly how we want to achieve our goals.
By the end of The CEO Retreat, each CEO has a list of action items to achieve each goal and has even planned out the timelines for each action step. When they leave, they stick to their plans with the help of The CEO Date and their CEO Planners.
Watching the women at The CEO Retreat has completely transformed my work. I was seeing women step up, and after hearing the feedback from others, after hearing the encouragement from others, they felt more confident in their plan.
And when you feel more confident in your plan, you make that executive decision and just do the darn thing.
No more procrastinating. No more waffling around our decisions or saying, “I’m going to research this even more,” or, “I need to look into how this happens,” or, “I need to look at how someone else did it.“
That was no longer happening for these people attending the CEO Retreat. They were quickly making moves in their business and stepping in to a self-leadership role that I haven’t seen in other programs that I have delivered.
Not very sexy, right? Blocking out time to actually plan out your next 90 days?
It sounds so basic – but this planning process has transformed the businesses of the women who are implementing it consistently. They’re not only seeing amazing business results, but they’re also transforming their lives, which I never thought I would say because it does sound so cliche.
I’m literally getting text messages from people saying…
“I was able to take the weekend off and I haven’t done that in so long. This system is working for me!
I never thought I would be able to take a week away from my business and it would continue running without me and my team could keep things going together.
I never thought that I could do these things!”
…but they’re doing them because they not only have the plan, but they know how to work the plan and how to make sure that they are running their business instead of their business running them.
What was most interesting about the CEO Retreats was watching how people implemented after The CEO Retreat.
I know my community is filled with lifelong learners – but no matter how much I did to try to help, many times I would see people get stuck as they went through the course trying to learn EVERYTHING before they would take action. They would go through not just my program, but other people’s programs and feel like they were never ready because there’s always more information out there.
I had people like Margaret Cogswell, a website designer who attended the very first CEO Retreat, who figured out the most important strategies to implement in her first 90 days.
She learned how to raise her prices through conversations with other entrepreneurs at the table. She quickly implemented a new pricing strategy.
She realized where her clients were coming from and she let go of all of the busy work of social media and content marketing when she realized her referral sources were generating way more business for her.
When she just got laser focused on those things, she didn’t need a ton of other training. She just needed clarity on what was most important right now.
When you understand what strategies will make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort, you don’t need to have a PhD in marketing or business. You can truly get the maximum return on energy, time, and investment.
That’s what we all need to be doing in our business. As CEOs, we need to be looking at what are the actions that take the least amount of effort but get the maximum results. That is what ROI is all about.
Within the first year of hosting The CEO Retreat, I started questioning how I was supporting entrepreneurs. What was truly the best way to help them get results?
Don’t get me wrong – I love creating trainings and content. That will never change! I’ve spent a decade creating a vault of useful trainings, systems, and frameworks for entrepreneurs.
But when I overlay that content with the planning processes of The CEO Retreat, CEO Date, and CEO Planner, true magic is happening for people’s businesses.
They don’t need to first press pause and invest hours and hours and hours trying to learn all the things before they go out and implement. They can clarity on what they actually need with a support system there to fill in the gaps – and then cherry pick the information they need. My team and I are there to help by directing them to exactly what they need instead of wading through tons of trainings and content.
I was seeing something that I hadn’t seen before… and it was clear as day that the key to success wasn’t just about access to information. We had TONS of information inside all of our online trainings!
The key to sustainable success was truly about IMPLEMENTATION.
When we added The CEO Retreat on top of all of our content – and provided a quarterly and weekly approach to self-accountability, self-leadership, and implementation – it changed everything.
Suddenly, our clients were sticking to their plan.
When I saw that magical combination of strategic planning + just-in-time consulting and training, I knew that it was in everyone’s best interest to bring it all together.
Before you take the next step, it’s essential to know if you’re ready to step into the next level of success in your business.
That’s how powerful this approach is.
And it’s my RESPONSIBILITY as a strategist and consultant to only offer this to the women entrepreneurs, leaders, and small business owners who can truly benefit from this work.
If your business isn’t ready and you won’t be get a positive ROI for your time, energy, and money… I want you to start with our free materials first.
So let’s make sure you’re ready::
» If you’re ready to get out of that top secret entrepreneur lab where you feel like you are never ready because there is so much information and so many different ways to approach your business…
» If you’re ready to let go of perfection, let go of the need for everything to be shiny and polished before you release it to the world…
» If you’re ready to get out of the creative cul-de-sac where the only people who see your work are YOU and you know it’s time to get your amazing ideas in front of the people who are searching for someone like you to help them…
» If you’re ready to stop the information overload and start getting into implementation mode…
» If you’re ready to create a plan that gives you the focus and the flexibility to grow your business to consistent $5,000, $10,000, and $15,000 months no matter what curveballs are thrown your way…
If you answered “YES RACH, I’m READY!” to the bullet points above… then I would love to invite you to learn more about how The CEO Collective can help.