With our founders and leaders away – enjoying a very well-deserved break somewhere sunny. We thought we’d take a moment to reflect on Hilary and Peter and Next Chapter Retreats over the last 18 months.
When we asked Hilary and Peter why they started Next Chapter Retreats they said…
“Someone once said to us, ‘Many people die with their best music unplayed’ and we think that’s a tragedy. We’ve been running retreats for CEOs of SMEs in peer learning groups for some years and were struck by the extent to which they were valued. New people joining the groups were told ‘Listen up, you mustn’t miss this. This is the highlight of the year’. One person even changed the dates of his wife’s surgery because it clashed with the dates of the next retreat.”
“We thought to ourselves, ‘We’ve got something really important here and it’s too valuable to be restricted only to people who have signed up to a peer learning group.’ We wanted to take them to a wider audience.”
Both Hilary and Peter have suffered their fair share of crossroad moments in their lives, including cancer diagnosis, divorce and redundancy. They didn’t want their best music to go unplayed so they embarked on Next Chapter Retreats in 2019.
How have the last 18 months been?
Next Chapter Retreats are designed as residential breaks, so when the pandemic hit in our 2nd year of trading, it railroaded our growth plans. We had to switch to virtual delivery almost overnight and it took its toll on us. We’re people people and not being in front of our audiences was very difficult. But we were not defeated. We focused on business planning, growing and engaging with our audience, business development, and personal brand growth. We signed up for and participated in many webinars, speaking about the importance of self-development and looking after yourself mentally and physically during the pandemic.
In August 2020 we saw a glimmer of hope and the possibility of retreats returning in Q3 but that was quickly dampened by lockdown #2!
In the Autumn of 2020, we designed and implemented our first App. The ‘being your best’ sense checker – have a go if you haven’t already: Click Here
We developed our brand and vision video. Watch Here
We spent a long time testing our concept, reiterating, preparing new content, stress testing it and refining what we do.
We didn’t embrace virtual because that’s not the nature of our retreats, we were strong enough to know our product and our audience and survived the pandemic by being true to ourselves and using it as time on the business to get everything business ready.
We formed long-lasting partnerships with like-minded businesses, and we wrote and wrote and wrote, posted and posted on social and added value to people through our wealth of life experience when they needed us most.
We embarked on an entrepreneurial programme to become key people of influence.
We implemented our brand pillars Uncover / Create / Change.
Returning to our first live event in July 2021, we ran a very successful retreat for a small group, in the wonderful setting of Cowley Manor. The feedback we received from participants was excellent and their response demonstrated that we had succeeded in pioneering a different approach to personal development. No one else is running retreats like these. They are not wellness retreats as such, we don’t offer yoga and detox, but they can make a significant contribution to mental health and wellness. What may take a life coach a year to achieve, we do in 3 months.
Our next 5-day retreat starts on 31st October 2021 – click here to join. By booking a place you will start to feel better, have something to look forward to and a sense of taking control of your next chapter.