The CFMGs arrived throughout the afternoon and evening, one having travelled by plane and others having driven for 12 or more hours. The weather wasn’t cooperating the way I would have liked. It was overcast and windy, a big change from the clear sunny days we had enjoyed prior. No matter. Everyone was excited to be there. And I was excited to have them as my guests at the shore.
It was first come, first serve on the bedroom choices. Before long everyone was settled in and dinner was almost ready to be served. I baked chicken and roasted veggies with a spinach tortellini salad on the side. For dessert, one of my family’s all time favs: German chocolate upside down cake served with some freshly brewed coffee.
Five hours after we first sat down at the table to stick a knife in the chicken, we were all still sitting in our seats, engrossed in conversation. Time was flying by, it seemed. I started out by telling the group about our Wild Idea Club launch the previous day and walked everyone through how they could start a club of their own, even those who worked alone. By gathering people each business owner knew with various personality types and skills sets, their own Wild Idea Clubs could be started and used in mighty ways to grow their existing businesses.
The people at the table that night were a perfect representation of the grooming industry. From mobile to salon to vet practice to house call, we covered it all. Some were dog groomers with cats on the side and others were feline-exclusive. Some were long time groomers and others fairly new to the industry. Some worked alone, others had assistance. A little of everything. This meant there was a lot of great information to share amongst the group – stuff that we could all learn from and implement in our own unique business settings.
One CFMG brought her husband to the retreat, and another brought her boyfriend. Neither of these guys are “cat people” (YET!), yet they live with women that are extremely dedicated and passionate about changing the world one cat at a time. And each of these guys come from a different background and different vocation that provided more unique perspectives into our endeavors as cat groomers.
The conversation around the table migrated from one topic to another as we discussed marketing our businesses, gaining new clients, changing the way veterinarians think about cat grooming, and getting our clients to care about their cats and maintain regular grooming appointments. We talked about what to do to resolve difficult employee situations. We went on to discuss numbers – revenue and expenses, and how to use the reality of our stats to become more profitable. Everyone had a notebook. Ideas were jotted down, concepts underlined, “to do” lists made, visions defined. It was a productive first night!
One of the CFMGs is dealing with some old policies in her salon that are causing her to lose money. She is frustrated. The issues run deep and will require some serious undoing before she can rebuild something more sound, something with more profit potential. We talked about this situation at length. Together we made a plan. There was a lot of scribbling in the notebook, jotting down ideas, plans, and business principles meant to empower and maintain focus. This particular business owner has work to do, no doubt about it. But things were off to a good start by making a plan to tear down an old structure and rebuild a new one. I am excited for this CFMG as she works out her plan. And we’ll be there to help her out along the way however we can. I look forward to next year’s retreat because I believe this CFMG will be back with an inspiring progress report.
At close to midnight, I finally said goodnight to everyone and headed upstairs, leaving them to keep talking shop as long as they wished. I’d been up since 4:00 that morning. My brain was fried and ready for some sleep. As I drifted off to the sound of the ocean just beyond my bedroom windows, I thought about how the people downstairs were part of a movement. These folks are true professionals, operating in ways that present them as such to everyone they meet. They are educated, smart, and cutting edge. They are definitely not “just groomers!” They make me proud to be one of them!
Day one of the CFMG Beach Retreat was a wrap, and I was happy with the outcome.