If you haven’t heard of a mastermind group yet, here’s what it is: a mastermind group is a support group that helps its members brainstorm and educate each other. With an influx of entrepreneurs in recent years, forming a mastermind group could be one of the most beneficial (and free) tools for you and your business! If you are looking to start your own, there are a few tips and tricks you should know first, though.

Choose Your Topic

First things first, in order to connect with like minded people, you have to know what you are looking for. Do you want to network with online entrepreneurs? Do you want to connect with other parents who understand your lifestyle better? Are you in the personal finance niche? Or, do you want to connect with millennial women with beauty blogs?

You don’t have to narrow down your topic to be too specific, but you should keep your ideal type of person in mind when brainstorming who you want in your mastermind group. This will help you avoid pouring your time and effort into people who aren’t compatible with you. It will also help you grow your outreach and business if you choose others in your field or something closely related.

Name Your Mastermind Group

Every successful venture is named! Businesses, products, and even war operations have names. So you should name your group too so you can build camaraderie. It doesn’t have to be super clever or witty, but it should be something that will seem inviting and show what the group will be about.

If you already have a few people that are interested in joining your group, you can ask for their opinions or brainstorm a name together. If not, try to think like someone who hasn’t joined yet. What name would draw you in and make you want to participate?

Advertise

When I say “advertise” your mastermind group, I really mean to reach out to people you know. The mastermind group I’m a part of, for example, started because I friend and I wanted to keep each other accountable with our business, and we decided to bring an extra person in. I don’t advise advertising it wisely or inviting a ton of people into your group. You want a nice, small group of a few people who have the similar goals.

Once you know the topics that you want to cover and what you hope to accomplish as a group, you can start your mastermind group together. If you want to keep your group strictly online, start it via Facebook or email (or whatever platform would work best for you and your group). Eventually, it’s beneficial to also have a once a month mastermind call so everyone can brainstorm ideas.

Choose The Right People

Not everyone will be the right fit for your mastermind group. Also, you may not want your group to grow too big. That’s okay. Deciding these items ahead of time will save you a ton of headache.

The whole point of a mastermind group is to share ideas, get feedback, and help other members in the group when they need it. If you are looking for diversity, that’s fine, because a diverse group will add a ton of information and value to your business. However, don’t allow negative people or slackers to get involved in a group if they are going to weigh others down. It isn’t worth it. What you’re really looking for is people with giving hearts who are willing to help others selflessly even if it means they get nothing in return.

Share Information & Documents

Once your mastermind group is up and running, you can create rules, topics, and documents to help your group communicate and support one another. Not only is this helpful for the members, but it’s great for you too.

The easiest way to do this is to create a folder for every member of your group. If you are online, you can create shared documents online or in the cloud. You can add every document to this folder, and add to them whenever you create new ones. A few documents that you may want to include in the beginning are: a membership list, scheduled meetings list, procedures and guidelines, and team member roles.

Once all of the documents are created and shared, every member should be organized and ready to start sharing ideas. The documents created will be an integral part of your group, so make sure to make changes to them when needed and fine tune them to fit your group’s purpose as much as possible.

Hold Successful Meetings

You can have the most amazing members in your mastermind group, but you can’t hold a successful meeting if you aren’t prepared. Of course, having a document that structures your meetings can help, but it may take trial and error before you nail down your group’s perfect routine. Some mastermind groups are extremely structured, focusing on one member’s business each week, while others are more flexible and act like a think tank with everyone updating each other on ideas, struggles, and successes.

You also want to choose a time that works for most (if not all) of your members if you do a phone call. Will you hold your meetings every week or once a month? Will you hold them in the mornings or evenings? What about weekends? These are questions you need to ask your members, keeping in mind that the majority should rule.

When holding a mastermind meeting, you can start off with struggles and successes that your members have faced since the last meeting. Then, you can move on to your topic for the meeting, which will vary based on the group and what you’ve already covered. Finally, a quick 10-15 minute wrap up so anyone can ask questions and share upcoming plans.

With a successful mastermind group, you will find ways to grow your business, and having a group of like-minded people to bounce ideas off of can be beneficial when you are growing your business. While getting started may be a little rocky at first, the benefits of gaining business success can far outweigh any bumps you may have. Just remember, the best mastermind groups are those that work for the members. If you put a significant amount of effort and time in, you should be able to glean incredible value from it.

Are you a part of a mastermind group? If so what do you like about it? What could be improved?

Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, her writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media.

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