Business masterminds are all the rage these days, aren’t they?
All the top business gurus talk about being in masterminds. Some of them actually pay to be in one!
Should you worry about masterminds? How do you find one? Can you create your own mastermind?
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Is being in a mastermind really necessary, or are masterminds the smashed avocados of the business world?
When I hear the word “mastermind”, I think of a group of business people getting together to share top-secret ideas and the recipe for success sauce. Masterminds sound like an exclusive group, a cult perhaps? How do you join? Nope sorry, you need a personal invitation from the group.
Recently I was at a business summit in Brisbane where the experts said that being in a mastermind helped them reach their business goals. “Make sure you join a mastermind” was the advice of the day.
At this same summit, we had opportunities to network. I ended up spending the weekend with the same people, we sat outside at lunch and tea time and even went out for dinner together one evening. We were from different parts of the country, different ages and backgrounds but were all women who were on the journey to importing success!
By the end of the weekend, we realised that we had unintentionally created our own mastermind. There was thankfully no sacrificial lamb, no cutting our hands with the same knife, no secret codeword we had to find out first.
We met each other, got to know each other, discovered we got along well and were at similar stages of our business journey. What a great start!
Three of our group spent a week together at the Canton Fair in China. We had a blast! We spent our days at the fair looking at products, and then in the evenings we got together at our hotel and discussed what we had seen, and what products we were considering importing. We shared advice, struggles and questions, and had lots of laughs too. We arranged meetings with sourcing agents, and spent afternoons researching suppliers and products online.
It was essentially a week-long mastermind, and one of the most memorable weeks of my life!
I got to know two wonderful women who I was able to laugh with and work with, and form a bond that will continue as we take the next steps on our entrepreneurial journeys.
My week at Canton Fair taught me a lot about masterminds- what exactly they are, how they can help you, and what makes a great one. I’d like to share these tips with you, if you’re wanting to be part of or create your own mastermind but aren’t sure where to start.
Five Tips For Masterminds
Tip #1: Network first, mastermind second
Networking is important. It’s through networking that you’ll meet different people and create connections that could help you either in the short term or long term.
Networking is also a way to get to know people and find out who you click with, and to find out what stage of the entrepreneurial journey other people are at.
Tip #2: Similar entrepreneurial stage
Find people who are like minded and at a similar stage of their business journey. When you’re at a similar business stage, you can help elevate each other. If some of you are at the early stages while others are more advanced, there isn’t a fair balance in the group and this could disadvantage some of the group’s members.
Tip #3: Opposites attract
Differences in personalities, strengths and weaknesses within the mastermind can help all of you. One of you might be the motivational guru who inspires everyone, while another one in the group might have technical skills that can help the group. Don’t try to find people who are identical to you! Bringing different skills and experiences to the mastermind is priceless.
Tip #4: Set expectations
Talk about the importance of honesty and trust in the group. What goes on in the mastermind, stays in the mastermind. You will probably discuss confidential business information or maybe even personal circumstances that you need some advice on. Be open, honest and kind to each other.
Tip #5: It’s still on you
Remember that it’s still on you: you still need to do the work yourself to achieve your business goals. Your mastermind will help you along the way, but you can’t expect other people to do the work for you.
While it’s not compulsory to join or form a mastermind, a lot of people find it helpful to have a group of people to rely on when things are going tough, or when you want to share your successes. It doesn’t have to be a formal group- you might already have a group of business friends who haven’t formally called themselves a mastermind but behave like one!
What if you haven’t found a mastermind yet? Don’t worry, let it happen with time. Continue to network and meet new people. Form business friendships and when the time feels right, approach some of these business friends and ask if they’re interested in forming a mastermind. Make your own rules about how formal or informal you want the mastermind to be. You can set regular meetings with agendas, or you can catch up via a Skype session or on Facebook Messenger. It’s your mastermind, your rules!
What makes a great mastermind?
A great mastermind is one where the members of the group all lift each other, not compete with each other. You’re there to help each other succeed- to share problems and obstacles as they arise, and offer solutions when you can find one. A mastermind should be a place where you can share your business goals without fear of judgement or mistrust.
It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a mastermind to help raise a business.
Are you part of a mastermind? What do you think makes a good one?