Using a Mastermind For Your Business

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If you’ve been in business for more than five minutes you’ve probably heard the term mastermind. Many online programs, courses and mentoring programs call themselves mastermind groups. And while these programs may be useful, informative and help you grow your business, they are usually not true mastermind groups.

So what is a mastermind?

It is generally acknowledged that the term was coined by the renowned Napoleon Hill in his classic book Think And Grow Rich.

Hill wrote that a mastermind is, “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

Furthermore, he wrote, “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

This third, invisible force is the mastermind.

One advantage of working for a large company is that when you come across a roadblock or are stumped as to how to proceed, you can pick the brains of your coworkers.

When you are a solopreneur, it’s not so easy. You don’t have someone in the next cubicle who can be asked, “Hey, do you know how to…”

Now social media can often take the place of the neighbouring cubicle. I often use LinkedIn or Twitter for quick responses to specific business problems.

But what about the bigger picture? Your overall vision, marketing strategy, branding, or other major business decisions? These are not issues you can casually toss out to your social network and expect meaningful responses.

This is where a mastermind group comes in.

By getting together with a group of business people and presenting your question, problem or stumbling block, you not only gain from each member’s own experience and knowledge, but you gain wisdom from the “third mind” Napoleon Hill referred to.

How Does a Mastermind Work?

Meeting regularly with your mastermind group, you should bring forward a specific problem you want help with. If there are supporting materials they need beforehand (such as your current marketing plan) be sure they are distributed in advance.

Then the group brainstorms to come up with solutions to your problem. Or they can critique your plan or strategy, give feedback on a new campaign, note flaws in a new product. The key is they give you the help you ask for.

When you are so focused on running your business, it’s easy to have blinders when it comes to what you’re doing. That’s where an outside set of eyes, not to mention experiences, can aid your business. A trusted outsider may instantly spot something you missed because you are too close to the situation.

And often, just by articulating the problem to another person, you begin to see it in a new light. You may come up with innovative new ideas that eluded you before.

A regular mastermind group also provides you with some outside accountability. You may not have a boss to report to, but having to show up at your mastermind group and report on your actions can really help you stay on track.

Of course, all this only works if you gives as good as you get. This means showing up prepared to give your best to help other mastermind members, reading any materials they distribute in advance and keeping to the rules of the group.

Another benefit of a mastermind group is the validation you receive. I’m amazed at how often another member’s issue or concerns are exactly what I’m experiencing at that moment. Too often I feel that problems I’m having in my business are the result of a personal failing or flaw. But when time and again I hear others struggling with the same issues, I begin to realize it’s not me, it’s part of the process of running a business.

I really believe that anyone running a business can benefit from a well run mastermind group. Join me tomorrow when I give some tips about running a mastermind and choosing members.

Andrea J. Stenberg

Have you ever been part of a mastermind group? Was the experience positive or painful? Please leave a comment and share your experiences.

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