Mastermind groups can offer accountability and peer guidance and support on an ongoing basis, placing business leaders like you in direct connection with other accomplished business leaders. Mastermind groups can be where excuses go to die and accountability reigns supreme.
Understanding what mastermind groups are, and how they can help you, may help you explore possibilities for a brighter business future.
The Benefits of a Mastermind
Mastermind groups are king when it comes to accountability. Most groups meet on a regular basis, typically monthly but sometimes weekly with peer-to-peer meetings.
Getting insight from third parties can be invaluable. It can be refreshing to bounce your ideas off someone who’s not mired in the day-to-day of your business. Before you go diving in, however, it’s often smart to consider the caliber of your fellow group members.
When you’ve been in business for a while, it's generally most helpful to have conversations with other leaders who've also been in business for a while. And it can help—though it's not always necessary—if your fellow members' businesses are part of the same or a complementary industry. For instance, leaders in compliance-related industries like health care and financial services might welcome input from other professionals who understand the regulatory nuances of their business models. On the other hand, owners of marketing or business services firms may benefit from the perspectives of leaders who own unrelated business. For these reasons, peer caliber can be a key criteria for evaluating the right mastermind group for your needs.
Many masterminds are purposely set up so that no two members share an industry or niche. This may also make the potential for referring business to another mastermind member easier since competition isn’t an issue—you’re all contributing to one another’s success in the mastermind and out. Be sure to find out the makeup of the group before you sign up.
There are several mastermind groups that vet the basics for you (such as annual revenue and number of employees) like Vistage and EO. Before joining any mastermind group, it may be wise to inquire as to the average experience level of the other participants to help ensure you’ll be challenged.
Once you’re satisfied about the caliber of your fellow mastermind members, it’s likely time to consider your own goals.
Aligning Groups with Goals
Mastermind groups typically work better when you know what you want to get out of the group and what you have to offer. A mastermind group is a truly collaborative engagement, where all group members lend advice and guidance to every other member at some time. It’s not a place to sit back and just let the advice conveniently roll in while everyone else does the problem solving behind what ails you.
Additionally, you may be less likely to get much out of a mastermind if you haven’t sat down to consider the goals and challenges you have for your business. If you approach a mastermind with a whimsical a-la-carte attitude, you may be unlikely to find satisfaction (or a better business) at the end of line. Having a clear set of goals for your business, along with identifying problems you wish to no longer be problems, can help give both you and your fellow mastermind members something to sink your teeth into.
There’s also the issue of costs.
Considering the Costs
Groups such as Vistage have monthly fees that start around $600.Groups such as Vistage have monthly fees that start around $600. Other mastermind groups often have flat fees for the duration of the mastermind that may range from $3,000 to $100,000. The bottom line for any fee-based mastermind group (which many are these days) is this: What are you getting for your investment?
The answer could be close to nothing if:
- You and your fellow group members don’t offer the same level of commitment and resolve
- You feel you’re buying a brand name and not investing in a relationship
- You waltz in with no goals and no idea why you’re in the room
But there’s a brighter side. Whatever the fee is for your mastermind, think of what it would take to recoup that fee and make the group pay for itself. At $600 per month, it’s easy to look at that figure and think, “Hey, that’s $7,200 a year. What would I have to accomplish this next year to look at $7,200 as a drop in the bucket compared to the value I received from the mastermind’s guidance and support?” Is it signing one new (and bigger) account? It is hitting the revenue goal you outlined?
Having run a wildly successful short-term mastermind for more than a year, I can tell you that no two participants came into my group with the same goal. However, they all left with new relationships, a better business and a group of peers they can consistently rely on for no-holds-barred truths about their biggest business concerns as well as their most celebrated victories.
If that sounds like something you’d like to have in your business world, consider looking into masterminds. Better yet, ask for referrals from your current peers. They can often be the best resource of all to guide you to a group with the commitment and gumption to get you and your goals crushing everything that needs crushing in the years to come.
Read more articles on leadership.
This article was originally published on January 5, 2015.