Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business. Small business owners need to know a lot about many things – not just producing their product, but marketing, advertising, bookkeeping, financing, customer service, fulfillment, and more. It helps to bounce ideas off other entrepreneurs who have some understanding of your business, but few business owners have that luxury.
I’m fortunate to be part of two mastermind groups. An idea first championed by Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, a mastermind group is a small team (usually 4 to 7 individuals) of fellow businesspeople, who meet regularly to exchange information, keep members on track, provide accountability, brainstorm, and challenge one another to reach their goals. The group serves as an informal board of advisors – a team of objective outsiders – who understand you and your business and serve as a sounding board in an atmosphere of total trust.
Mastermind groups work best when members come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. One of my groups consists of a retail store owner, an event director, a realtor, and a professional organizer. The second includes a business coach/motivational speaker, a chiropractor and a toy inventor. The first group has proved invaluable in helping me crystallize long-term goals and business strategies. I rely on the second group for advice on resources and technological answers I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.
If the idea of a Mastermind Group intrigues you, look around for fellow entrepreneurs whom you admire, and give it a try. It often take six months or a year to really “gel,” but the results are well worth it!