Time flies when you’re having fun!

But, time can also obscure the ability to stop and assess where are we compared to our intended path. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operation of our business and all of a sudden find ourselves on a dead-end path because there’s been no looking up and no planning being done.

Everything has been reactive and not much if anything has been proactive. Sometimes, we can be lucky enough to know we need a business plan. But here’s the kicker, it’s incredibly difficult to be objective when it comes to looking at our own business let alone being objective and analytical about it.

Why is that? Well, I believe it’s because we’re too close emotionally. I know I am. I found that to be true years ago when I’d go visit other non-competing shops around the country. It was amazing to me to see all the mistakes they were making. I came to realize that this perfect 20/20 vision was a result of my not having a vested interest in the outcome at their company. I was free to look at their company and not defend the status quo or get caught up in the business politics that go on at pretty much any company.

When it came to creating my business, Appleseed Business, I realized that it would be tough to stay removed enough to look at my own company. I needed a peer group of people I trusted to tell me what I needed to hear vs. what I wanted to hear. Plus, I wanted and needed people who were supportive.

It’s easy to get beat up by the day-to-day. If you don’t have an outlet to shake off the naysayers input it won’t be long before you become a naysayer about your own business, too. That’s why once a year I have a Business Planning Retreat with people I trust to look at my business who are more than happy to tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. I think of them as my GPS. They help me get back on track and make midcourse corrections. And I help do the same for them.


A.G.E. Business Planning Retreat

Like I said, “Time flies when you’re having fun!” Well, I’m pleased to share that the 10th annual A.G.E. Business Planning Retreat was held at my home in Arizona this July.What’s A.G.E. stand for? It stands for Al Levi; Gail Gudell, who is an accounting and business strategy whiz; and Ellen Rohr, the financial guru and author.

We have met faithfully every year since 2004 to review our respective business plans for the year ahead. And most importantly, it provides me the time to own up to what has gone on since the last annual meeting. We all get a chance to reflect on what went right, what went wrong and where are we headed to in the coming year. That’s one of the biggest benefits that this meeting does for each of us.

Having to make a presentation like this forces me to be more realistic about my goals and objectives. I do end up tweaking things vs. throwing them out and starting from scratch and that’s pretty nice. It also makes me stop for a minute and take a break from my focus on my endless to-do list to acknowledge and be grateful for all the good things that have happened in the prior year. To me, acknowledgement and gratitude are key to emboldening myself to take the next bold steps I want to take.


My 3 biggest takeaways from this two-day yearly session are:

  1. I updated my plan for future work with my clients when it comes to providing them with Financial Power and Sales Coaching Power!
  2. I will be ramping up the creation of the 12 Step Step-By-Step Program product that takes the highly successful live webinar series I did with Ellen Rohr and provide companies that are too small to afford to work with me one-to-one a more affordable way to learn from the work I’ve done with many clients.
  3. I will be ramping up a potential franchising opportunity with a long-time client, which will put my time-tested systems in the hands of those looking to belong to a winning franchise that has a complete systematic approach to business.

My suggestion to you is to find an outside support system of business people or business mentors who you trust. http://www.barebonesbiz.com/2013/07/02/3-aha-takeaways-from-my-business-planning-retreat/


Is your company what you dreamed it would be like years ago? Probably not!

It can become what you want it to be…but… don’t take my word for it. Here’s what just one client had to say:

“My working with Al has helped us manage our people and serve our customers better than I could have ever imagined. Here are just 3 of the many great things that have happened at my company:

1. We have been able to solve our Technician staffing issues by always recruiting, hiring, orienting, training and retaining with programs that ensures their success.

2. We created the Field Supervisor Position to help both our customers and our Techs.  It helps our best Techs stay motivated to be a part of an ever-expanding company.

3. We know how to make great Customer Service Reps because they’re trained on how to provide excellent customer-oriented sales in a systematic way.

Commit to the work with Al and it will radically change your company for the better.”


Mark Paup, Owner

Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating and Cooling

Grimes, IA


Go to www.appleseedbusiness.com and get started by getting your free 30-minute call today!



What’s the number one question I get asked? …

“How do I get my phone ringing NOW?”

I hear you and that’s why I took the highly successful program calledGet More Calls Now and made it even more affordable by making it a self-study program.

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