Monday Mastermind Movers and Shakers

Lately, I have been getting a lot of inquiries about my mastermind group, so I thought I would share my personal experience with my current mastermind group without divulging confidential information.  Everyone has different reasons for business masterminding. They range from networking, accountability, brainstorming, collaboration, support, guidance, sounding board, different perspectives, cheer-leading squad, inspiration, the list is varied.  The main reason I started my mastermind group was to help one another stay focused on building our business using social media. Focus is one of the biggest ongoing challenges many entrepreneurs have. A mastermind group is excellent because of the accountability factor.

Invite more than you want because not everyone will stick

The mastermind group I am currently in started in March 2009 and will continue until late August 2009, a six month commitment. We meet twice a month (every other Monday from 2:00-4:00 pm PST.) I invited 8 people and 4 people made the commitment. It is best to invite more people than you want because not everyone will be able to make the commitment.  At the end of six months, we will reassess to decide if we want to continue for another six months. We will also decide if we want to open up the group to others by inviting them to join. Ideally, it is best to have a minimum of four people and a maximum of eight. We meet in person, although some groups meet via teleconference or the web.

Mastermind Groups must have Focus

The focus of our Mastermind group is “How to grow your business using social media.” We rotate the location of the meeting each time as well so that a different member can host it at their location.  As the leader of this Mastermind group, my role is mainly a facilitator. I start the meeting by having everyone take three deep breaths so that we can get centered and focused. Each person has about 20-30 minutes to talk about their business.  Every meeting ends with the host providing an inspiring quote, video, musical piece, etc. It’s important to end the meeting with an upbeat tone so that people leave feeling good.

Mastermind Groups must have some guidelines

This is a summary of the agenda that I use as a guideline to facilitate our mastermind meetings:

1. Start with something you are grateful for. Gratitude is very important in a mastermind group. It is very easy to dump all your negative stuff on people you are close to but this is not the place. The purpose of the mastermind group is to help brainstorm solutions, not vent on everyone.

2. Review what you achieved from the last two weeks. What have you learned that you can share? What is your “aha?”

3. What are your major challenges right now? What can we do to help you move onto the next step so that you can reach your goals?

4. What is your action plan between now and the next time we meet?

5. What are you doing with social media to grow your business?

Mastermind Group should have members who are helpful

During the week that we do not meet. Each member checks in via phone (10-20 minutes) with a partner. It’s important to partner with people who have skill sets that are complementary to one another. For example, you don’t want to have two techie guys as partners. The techie guy will be better served with someone who has excellent sales and marketing skills and vice versa. The same principle should apply to your overall members of the group. For example, I don’t think it is a good idea to have all sales and marketing women in the group. There are plenty of other professional groups for saleswomen to network. It is best to mix it up with gender and professional skills set. Invite people who you think will bring balance, helpful, committed to their business, and is respectful to others.

What does it cost to belong in a mastermind group?

Lastly, I don’t charge for my mastermind group. I realize some group leaders do charge and that is part of their revenue model and that is absolutely okay. For this specific group, I have chosen to make it FREE. I have also decided that if we continue for an additional six months, I should not be the lead facilitator. I want to give other people an opportunity for a leadership role.   Are you in a Mastermind group? Perhaps your group is very different from mine. I would love to hear about it. If you are not in a mastermind group and would like to start your own, feel free to ask me a question.

Brenda Horton is the owner of Hware, a software company that desgins online business planning tools for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profits.

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