Room To Grow

business people group at officeThere is a certain saying that goes “If you’re the smartest person in the room … then you are probably in the wrong room!” Being an entrepreneur does not mean you have to go it alone. Just like every doctor needs a doctor, every mentor needs a mentor, every coach needs a coach, and every entrepreneur needs a mastermind or two! If a fast track to being a success existed, someone would already have packaged the formula and be selling it for millions. In reality, success takes time and requires surrounding yourself with some awesome people. And that, my friends, is what a mastermind is all about.
Masterminds, sometimes called think tanks, are meetings used to help you see your business from various angles and perspectives. They can help you solve problems, avoid pitfalls and even find new ways to make money! The important thing to understand is that everybody needs help, including you. So what exactly is the mastermind?

What Is A Mastermind?

A mastermind has various components, however the key one is you will learn from other business peoples’ experiences, trials, tribulations and expertise.

What can you get from the mastermind?

  • Brainstorming, which will lead to answers and ideas from the group
  • Learning from the experiences and skills of others
  • Confirmation that you are making the right (or wrong) decisions and are taking the right (or wrong) actions
  • An accountability group that helps you progress in your business and personal life
  • An instant and invaluable support network
  • A positive mental attitude about you and your business
  • Grow your network

Different Kinds Of Masterminds

businessman hand draws solving problem diagramMasterminds come in various flavors, platforms and prices. They can be simple, local, small groups that get together and meet once per week or once a month to discuss local business matters. They can also be highly sophisticated groups that are nationally managed by organizations or chains. Professional coaches or mastermind leaders can also facilitate them. No matter which type you choose, you need to match your goals and expectations with the time, commitment and cost.

Here are the three most common types…

  1. Local – These groups tend to be run by local business leaders, chambers of commerce or business people who specifically work with local small to medium-sized businesses. They tend be low-cost, and are also the easiest to join and leave, because of the minimal time and monetary commitment. Don’t count these out as being an effective way to learn about masterminds and how they can help your business. Local groups tend be industry-specific, meaning that there won’t be two real estate agents or two marketing people in the same group, and are based on your community boundaries.
  2. Regional – These groups include national and international organizations, for example Vistage, Renaissance Executive Forums, and C-12, which all have charters, standards, rules and regulations, vetting processes, and more, to keep their members in line with the national brand. Professional facilitators run most of these groups, and members are generally C-Level business professionals. Regional groups run full or half day face-to-face group meetings based on geographical locations. Organizations like those mentioned above could have multiple meetings and leaders in your area.
  3. Specialty – Specialty groups are generally run by business coaches, who focus on specific aspects of business including: sales, marketing, procurement, international trade, finance, etc. These groups tend be more highly focused, and can utilize web or telephone conferencing with quarterly or annual face-to-face meetings.

The Cost Of Doing Business

Business meeting room interiorThe cost of these groups varies widely. They can run anywhere from free, to hundreds or thousands of dollars per month, to even tens of thousands of dollars annually. Obviously, it has to make good business and financial sense to join one of these groups. If you can’t afford a half-day or full day away from work, then a regional group is probably not a good choice for you. If you are a solopreneur making $50,000 a year, then chances are you probably can’t afford a $10,000 per year specialty mastermind group to help you grow your business.

The best way to find a group is to simply ask. Do any of your friends or business associates know of a great group in your area, or have they had any experience with some of the more formalized ones mentioned? Do your research, attend some meetings, and try to sample as many groups as you can before deciding to join one. Occasionally, a leader will be hesitant to invite you to join, because there is already a member in competition with your business. If this is the case, see if the leader knows of any other groups in the area where there’s not competition, so that you can attend a meeting to see if it would be a good fit for you and your business.

Masterminds are great way to grow yourself and your business. If you can’t find one in your area, then I strongly suggest you consider starting one. I actually run a competitive mastermind group, which means that most of the members in the group actually compete with each other, but we don’t take it seriously or personally. The goal of this group is to help us learn from each other’s best practices and the mistakes we’ve all made to help grow our businesses.

If you have any stories or tips about masterminds, I would love to hear your comments and feedback.