In January, UpBuild had its 8th annual Team Retreat in Orlando, FL. As has become customary to say after every retreat, it was our best one ever!
What is the Team Retreat?
Ruth and Laura have given past recaps for our retreats in 2017 and 2018 so I won’t rehash this in detail. In short, we have a team retreat 1-2 times per year so that we can discuss where UpBuild is currently and where we’re heading, discuss different trends and strategies we may want to implement for our clients, and to get some face time and just have fun together.
Team Retreat 2019: Orlando Edition
This year, the time for our team retreat landed in mid-January. Since the majority of our team lives in cities where winter is an actual thing – I’ve been in south Florida for 5+ years so I know nothing about that – we thought it’d be fun to bring everyone to my neck of the woods for a reprieve from the weather. We hosted the retreat in Orlando, FL: home to Universal Studios, Disney World, and weather that does not include snow.
The team arrived on Wednesday, 1/16 and we spent the evening settling in and catching up with each other. This was also most of the team’s first time meeting Nick and Ila in person, which is always a fun part of these retreats. I know Ila through mutual friends and Nick and I worked together in the past at a different agency, so it was great seeing them again as part of the UpBuild team.
The next day after everyone was up and around, we started our official retreat agenda at 9am and dove into the following topics:
- State of the Build
- Mike’s review of UpBuild as a company, where we stand today, and plans for the future. This transparent overview goes into everything from how Mike spends his time, to UpBuild’s financial performance, to a reminder of UpBuild’s values and reason for existing.
- Team Activity: Fluxx
- A day stacked with back-to-back work discussions isn’t the most productive for anyone, so we like to break it up. If you like group card games and aren’t afraid to be ruthless with your colleagues, I highly recommend Fluxx.
- Discussion on Enterprise and Small-Scale SEO
- Led by Ruth, we discussed ways we could tailor our service offerings and engagement structures to better serve large- and small-scale clients.
- A screening of a presentation from TechSEOBoost 2018, followed by a discussion.
- Another break where we took a walk around the neighborhood we were staying in, with the intention of getting some exercise while simultaneously avoiding any alligators.
- Presentation: Getting the Most Out of Attending a Conference
- Ruth is a well-known speaker in the SEO community, and she gave everyone some tips on how to maximize their experience at a conference through networking, note-taking, and building authentic relationships.
- A roundtable discussion on preserving the UpBuild brand as we grow and identifying any opportunities for improvement that would benefit the business and our clients.
- An introduction to UpBuild’s fantastic new SEO Audit template, spearheaded by Will and Alex.
After we’d finished with our discussions for the day, we headed out for a pirate-themed round of mini golf. Some of us were surprisingly good, some of us were…not good. And all of us were having a great time! We then went back to our AirBnB where Will graciously cooked us homemade pasta and we had a few more hours of conversation, talking about anything from music to movies to (most importantly) The Bachelor.
UpBuild Goes to Epcot
Typically, the third day of the retreat is a travel day for most of us, although some team members opt for a long weekend to explore the city where the retreat is located. This time, Mike wanted to do something different. He offered a free ticket to Epcot, along with a hotel + food stipend, to anyone that wanted to stay an extra day and visit the park. While I wasn’t able to attend due to a prior commitment, it was fun to keep up with the different Slack messages throughout the day while the team was exploring Epcot. UpBuild had a good year financially and we were fortunate to be in the position to give back to the team.
This was my 2nd team retreat and as we continue to say, each retreat seems better than the last. It’s so nice to be around everyone you work with on a daily basis and have some fun together while working toward an even better business. While agencies may typically set a growth goal for the coming year, we’ve decided to make 2019 the “year of optimization” for UpBuild. We’ll be focused on optimizing our services, processes, and skills so that we can better serve our clients and prepare for any growth the future may bring out way.
I think the team and Walt Disney would agree that this retreat was a success.