- Mastermind groups can enable many entrepreneurs to become more successful much faster than they would have otherwise.
- Operational benefits include new business opportunities and insightful advice.
- Psychological benefits include increased motivation and accountability.
As an entrepreneur, the job of running and growing your business can be a lonely one. Even if you’re surrounded by lots of employees or other team members, you might be the only person in the company who truly has a deep-level understanding of the challenges of building and maintaining a great enterprise.
That’s one reason—but hardly the only one—why we see more and more business owners joining mastermind groups.
These groups provide an environment in which business owners can learn from the collective experience of fellow members and group leaders, test their business ideas, and build profitable relationships. Ultimately, mastermind groups give entrepreneurs the opportunity to both learn from and give back to their like-minded peers in the business world—potentially resulting in win-win outcomes for everyone involved.
Here are some key reasons why you should consider joining a mastermind group—or perhaps even creating your own group.
Help reaching business and life goals
The term “mastermind” is often credited to Napoleon Hill, author of The Law of Success. In his book, he defined it as “a mind that is developed through the harmonious co-operation of two or more people who ally themselves for the purpose of accomplishing a given task.”
Today, mastermind groups—which are also commonly called CEO groups—are much more than two or more people who connect with one another to complete a task. They are designed and managed with the specific intent of enabling entrepreneurs to reach their most important goals in both their businesses and their lives.
There are a number of different types of mastermind groups. But in general, mastermind groups have at least these two characteristics:
- They have an executive director. While the person or persons might have different titles, the executive director is responsible for running all facets of the group. Sometimes, the persona of the executive director plays an important role in defining the group.
- Entrepreneurs pay a fee to be members of the mastermind or CEO group. These fees vary significantly. Regardless, part of the formal nature of these groups is that participants pay to join them.
Why mastermind groups?
We’ve consistently found that elite mastermind and CEO groups enable many entrepreneurs to become more successful much faster than they would have had they not been mastermind group members. In fact, 75.9 percent of entrepreneur members of mastermind groups surveyed by AES Nation said that the experience was very or extremely valuable, while 22.2 percent rated the experience as valuable.
Put another way: Just 1.9 percent of entrepreneurs in Mastermind groups rated them as not valuable.
That raises an obvious question: Why mastermind groups, exactly? Of course, turning to other entrepreneurs is a time-tested way for entrepreneurs to learn new things, understand how to handle obstacles and problems, and make connections that can be instrumental in moving their companies forward.
That said, there are numerous ways for entrepreneurs to seek out their peers. Many of these are informal and unstructured—such as attending industry events or simply placing phone calls to friends who are business owners. Others involve creating company boards or joining trade associations.
What we’ve found is that mastermind groups, because of their formal and highly organized structure (as noted above), do the best job of providing a number of benefits—both operational and psychological—to their members.
Key operational benefits
Mastermind groups tend to deliver powerful benefits to help a business operate better, such as these:
Mastermind groups can give you the ability to connect with other driven entrepreneurs like yourself in ways you can’t find at more typical group events (like forums or conferences, which often consist of some driven entrepreneurs along with a lot of people who just want to get out of the office for a day). In mastermind groups, members commonly introduce other members to people who can help them achieve their goals. They also tend to find ways to work collaboratively with other group members to further each other’s success.
Mastermind members rate the business opportunities created by connecting with other members of mastermind groups as the greatest benefit of these groups. Indeed, all said the opportunities they derive by connecting with other members are valuable, very valuable or extremely valuable (see Exhibit 1). None said those opportunities were not valuable.
Drawing on real-world business experience coupled with an ability to be objective, mastermind members can play a significant role in helping each other come up with potent, viable solutions to their respective professional issues and concerns. Often this is a function of their ability to see things through fresh eyes and introduce diverse viewpoints.
The opportunity to receive advice from accomplished peers can be instrumental in helping you profitably grow your company. Here again, all the entrepreneur members of mastermind groups find the experience-based insights and guidance of other entrepreneurs either valuable or very/extremely valuable (see Exhibit 2).
As you become more business-savvy, you can use your knowledge and insights to make your company more successful. There are times when fellow members share their wisdom and experience with the mastermind group. Commonly, the other members of the group are experiencing problems and concerns similar to yours and dealing with similar possibilities and uncertainty.
Very often, the executive director will bring in outside experts to provide new understanding and to introduce new information and insights. Some of these external experts will probably be very “on target” for you, and others less so. Still, if they make you think, they will be beneficial.
Most successful entrepreneurs devour insightful and useful information. They are looking for ways to enhance the lives and futures of their companies and their clients. At the same time, they are interested in how to better do their jobs and how to improve their own lives.
Nearly all the entrepreneur mastermind members—96.3 percent—find the educational nature of mastermind groups very valuable.
Key psychological benefits
Mastermind groups also provide important psychological benefits that can have tangible impacts on profits and other quantitative success metrics. For example:
Having other driven peers call you on your performance—in effect, pushing you to be accountable—while simultaneously being supportive and constructive can be a very significant benefit for many entrepreneurs. Having your peers remind you of your goals and the bigger picture can be a powerful way to defeat organizational inertia and the tendency to get bogged down in the day-to-day.
Additionally, members of a mastermind group can provide psychological support during times of stress and setbacks, which are part and parcel of being an entrepreneur. It is almost guaranteed that you will experience business reversals, but these can be easier to deal with and work through when you have other entrepreneurs you can talk to. Who can better understand an entrepreneur than someone who has had the same experiences and challenges?
The motivational benefits of mastermind groups are valuable or very/extremely valuable to 98 percent of entrepreneur members (see Exhibit 3). This is especially impressive when you consider that the entrepreneurs who join mastermind groups are already highly motivated to act.
Mastermind groups are highly supportive environments built for sharing and mutual trust among members. In that environment, other members can provide useful viewpoints and viable help—making it easier to push forward. These groups are places to address questions, problems and challenges that you are unsure or unclear about. They can be places for you to experiment with ideas and concepts, as well as business strategies and tactics, to ascertain whether you should put your experiments into action.
The new perspectives that mastermind groups can deliver are seen as very or extremely valuable by close to 100 percent of entrepreneur members.
If you are driven to accomplish serious goals and take everything to the next level, a mastermind group may give you the road map you’re looking for. That’s because mastermind groups mirror and support the success of first-rate entrepreneurship. Their substantial contributions in fostering the entrepreneurial spirit and facilitating greater achievements in business, and in life, are making them increasingly essential to those who want to truly excel.
VFO Inner Circle Special Report
By John J. Bowen Jr.
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