4 Advantages of Mastermind Groups for Founders
No matter what challenges your business faces, you don't have to tackle them alone.
Knowledge doesn’t grow in a vacuum. Whether you work in finance or fiction writing, you can't grow if you don't challenge your status quo and expose yourself to new ideas -- and new people.
Mastermind groups provide incredible benefits to the business leaders who attend them. By mingling with other founders and experts, you can get help with your most stubborn problems, hold yourself accountable to your peers, and take inspiration from the successes and struggles of others.
If you’re on the fence about joining a mastermind group, consider these advantages:
1. Access to uncommon knowledge.
No matter how many business books you read or TED Talks you watch, nothing can replace the value of face-to-face interactions with brilliant people. Mastermind groups put you in a room with executives who've faced the same challenges you face -- and some you have yet to face -- so you can have detailed conversations about your troubles.
When selecting your next mastermind group, think about the value the organizer brings to the table. “I have now been involved in three masterminds, additional to the one I’m running, and have decided to join them for one reason: I wanted to learn from the person organizing it,” says Eric Rozenberg of Event Business Formula. “I didn’t know who was coming, and I didn’t have any agenda, and…it has always proved me right.”
Find a group with a good leader, and the other pieces will fall into place. You won’t be the only person eager to pick the brain of someone you admire.
2. Networking opportunities.
Attendees of mastermind groups tend to be successful people looking to mingle with others who meet the same qualifications. While you shouldn’t go into your mastermind looking to sell your services, the connections you make could open new doors for your business.
“I met many business owners and leaders that I wouldn't have been able to access otherwise,” says Anne Sugar, executive coach for Harvard Business School. “I met an author from Denmark, an owner of a storytelling company, a founder of a brand consultancy, and other like-minded executive coaches.”
Mastermind groups exist to help you solve your problems, not to help you discover new clients. Keep your focus on the purpose of the group to create real connections that will stand the test of time. If people think you’re there to source prospects, they won’t engage with you. But they'll happily open up about the struggles they face if you provide context from your own experiences.
3. Increased accountability.
You set plenty of goals, but do you hold yourself accountable? When you talk about your ideas with your mastermind group, your colleagues will want to know whether you followed through on what you said you'd do.
“Mastermind groups let us share our collective experience and wisdom to help each other solve problems together or keep us accountable to achieve the goals we set for ourselves,” says Jordan Rothstein, CEO of King Tide.
If you've gotten used to brainstorming solutions and not following through, a mastermind group could set you on the right path. Fellow attendees can help you decide which tactics to use and which metrics to track. When something doesn’t work, your mastermind colleagues will hold you to your commitment rather than allow you to succumb to setbacks.
4. Reassurance of your value.
Imposter syndrome affects everyone from frontline employees to CEOs. Sue Bhatia, a CEO with nearly three decades of experience, experienced plenty of self-doubt as she built her company:
“When I was building my company, I was uncomfortable with the title CEO,” she says. “Software analyst was the career I most identified myself with -- not the CEO of a rapidly growing, successful business.... Even though my organization continued to grow at a tremendous pace, I couldn’t embrace my role authentically because I was second guessing myself.”
By joining a mastermind group, you connect with people who have seen both sides of success and failure. You might not feel like a capable visionary leader at every moment, but when you get into a room of people who understand that feeling, you recognize that you're not alone. People you respect have dealt with their own imposter syndrome, and you can, too.
Mastermind groups offer incredible advantages to their members, but don’t rush it. Take some time to learn about the groups available to you, research the people who lead them, and consider what you want to gain from membership. You might not want to share your insights with others in your industry -- that’s fine. Look for a group where you would be the only representative from your niche to keep your trade secrets safe.
No matter what challenges your business faces, you don’t have to tackle them alone. Find a mastermind group, and see what it’s like to pick the brains of other experienced business leaders. You'll be empowered to overcome -- or completely avoid -- the problems that have plagued so many others.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor