A retreat is a time to step away from your life and be open to quiet reflection and hearing what your life is saying to you. It is also a time of renewal and learning and can be a time of rest and restoration of the heart and soul. Often women come to a retreat having rushed through their week/life only to arrive exhausted and depleted. Sometimes, due to commitments and work/family responsibilities, retreating is the only time to get a true break. As a Retreat Leader we learn to work with women in the retreat process to help them look at their lives and discern what the next step is. But this is just a part of what we do when we start a retreat business.
It’s easy to start anything, to get a fun idea, be excited about a project, or start a business. To keep it going is another thing. To create something that lasts is what sustainability is about. Developing your business systems along with your leadership skills will help create a business that is profitable and sustainable.
There are many systems that need to be addressed when offering retreats to both men and women, business teams, organizations and companies. Pricing, tracking income, cancellation policies , working with service providers ( e.g. bed and breakfasts, meeting spaces and food service) are skills that you will need to learn. Being a Retreat Leader truly is about being a leader but it also is about being a business owner. Training, planning and working with a business mentor and coach will help shorten your learning curve.
When working with day vendors it is helpful to language to them “Who” you are and “What” you are looking for. Asking the right questions so you can get the info will enable you to create a budget so you will charge the correct fees for your retreat. It also allows you know what you are getting for your rental investment and if this is the ideal location for your retreat group.
When talking with locations to hold your retreats the following language examples and questions will support you in showing your professional persona:
“I am a Retreat Leader in Private Practice and I lead day long (overnight, etc) retreats for women. I am interested in finding out more about your facility and to see if it is a good fit for what I offer.”
- Do you have a meeting room and what is the fee?
- Can you describe it to me?
- Who do you often rent to?
- What type of groups?
- What are some of the perks you offer? (Refreshments, etc?)
- What is your availability?
- What are your reservation and cancellation policies?
- Would you be willing to offer me a discount on your regular price as a way of trying out your facility a first time?
- If I were to book it for multiple dates would you offer me a discount on your regular booking fee?
As with all small businesses, remember the principle “casualness creates casualties.” You will bypass many challenges at your retreat by being prepared in advance and being clear about your vision and mission in leading retreats.
This article was contributed by Helene Van Manen, Master Certified Coach. Helene is the Founder and Director of www.RetreatCoaches.com – the premier training company for women wishing to lead retreats. She offers certifications through a variety of programs both in person on location in Colorado and distance learning. She also offers the Certified Nature Retreat Leader designation for men and women who love the outdoors and wish to take people on journeys. Check out her upcoming program: Become A Retreat Leader Colorado Training.
To contact Helene:
Colorado Nature Retreat Leader Certification