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A few years ago it felt like everywhere I looked people were talking about their ‘mastermind’ group. I was a new entrepreneur and I had no idea what that term meant. Flash forward to today, and I’ve been a part of three mastermind groups myself. They have been incredibly helpful in both growing and understanding my business. So let’ talk about what a business mastermind is and why you need one.

What is a Business Mastermind?

A business mastermind is a group of people in the same business world who meet regularly and ‘mastermind’ their work together. Ideally you’ll have between 3 and 5 people in the group. That’s enough to give a diversity of experiences but not so many that voices get drowned out.

There is no right way to put together a mastermind. You can have one be really regimented, or more laid back. You can meet in person or online via something like Skype. It’s best to meet regularly (once a week or once every two weeks) so that not too much time lapses between meetings.

How Does a Business Mastermind Work?

The tone should be set early on so that everyone can decide after the first meeting if it’s working for them. Some people want a lot of accountability from their mastermind groups and will set goals within the meeting that they have to check in on at the next meeting. For example, someone might say ‘By the next time we meet, I’ll have finished editing the video for my youtube channel and sold 10 items in my store.’

Other styles might be a more casual meeting where the participants fill in each other on their business updates and ask for input or advice, rather than report hard data.

Why Do Mastermind Groups Work?

Mastermind groups can be a huge boost to an entrepreneur. For one thing, it’s wonderful to have a group of like minded people that you check in with regularly. They can offer personal support and encouragement as well as business advice. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. Having a group of people that check in with you about your struggles and successes with can make the experience less so.

Business masterminds can also be an educational resource. You can ask more intimate questions and receive behind the scenes answers. You can ask people for feedback on your products, or even for people to beta test things for you.

A mastermind is a more secure and intimate group of people who are invested in your business. Your group members want you to succeed. It’s designed to be a give and take. You give support and information when you can, and you ask for it when you need it.

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Kara Perez is the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. She freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel, and she eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

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