It takes a village to run any successful large venture or implement ambitious ideas. That’s why business owners need a group of people to bounce ideas off of, critique, and provide invaluable feedback to each other. They may be a group of C-level executives, or simply some trusted individuals and peers from various companies who are qualified to run a business. This is called a “mastermind group,” a term coined by author Napoleon Hill in the classic self-improvement book “Think and Grow Rich.”
There aren’t any specific parameters that you have to worry about when joining or assembling your own mastermind group, but it helps to use your own discretion on how you put it together.
No matter the size of your business or industry, a variety of operations can be improved by running decisions by a group of like-minded, trusted individuals with unique experiences.
Countless entrepreneurs, from small business owners to Bill Gates, have benefited from this methodology. It’s a tool with an extremely low barrier to entry and has the potential to bring improvements and profits to your company. All you need is anywhere from three to 10 people and a good conference room (or virtual meeting space).
While putting together this group of people may seem like a disorganized mess that leads to the dreaded “too many cooks” problem, it has a variety of notable, immediate benefits when done properly. Peer-to-peer accountability and testing is an excellent way to gather innovative new ideas and combine the strengths of everyone in the group while mitigating and keeping an eye on any blindspots someone may bring.
To start, let’s dive into some of the many benefits you can expect from being part of a mastermind group.
1. Increased Accountability
No matter how high someone is on the corporate ladder, it’s important that there’s some amount of accountability to be had and people to answer to.
According to a study by The American Society of Training and Development, your chances of completing a goal increase by 65% if you are held accountable to someone. By having a brain trust of individuals who have somewhat similar experiences in their entrepreneurial journey, you make sure that few bad ideas (or worse) slip through the cracks.
Decisions can be made more democratically, and responsibility falls on more people’s shoulders (none of whom want to fail). It shows greater transparency and integrity throughout the company, which will result in long-term business successes and a more satisfied customer base.
2. Instant Feedback
Having the benefit of instant feedback from someone who’s “in the same boat” as you can prove to be invaluable. Another expert in your field who may have more business acumen, or a different perspective than you, can provide important insight into a tricky problem or an exciting new idea.
This type of feedback can also prove to be essential in weeding out less-than-stellar ideas and keeping people humble. No matter how high-up someone may be on the corporate ladder, bad ideas can always slip through the cracks. It’s important to avoid “yes men” who may not care about stopping them.
A great way of staying receptive to feedback is by creating an atmosphere that allows anyone to freely run their ideas by you without hesitating to tell you what they think. You can even go a step further and use an appointment booking software to allow anyone who wants to grab a few minutes of your time to discuss important issues and give feedback.
3. Greater Synergy
While mastermind groups certainly don’t need to be formed from people in the same company or industry, there are certain benefits to keeping your crew close to home. By allowing multiple people from various departments or arms of your corporation to come together into a mastermind group, you allow yourself to open up to synergy. This collaboration enables both individual branches to grow, and eventually the entire business as a whole.
For instance, if you’re a restaurant that primarily focuses on dine-in service, you can work with your merchandise department on selling sauces or other specialties unique to your business that customers may want to be shipped out to them.
4. You Think Bigger
By encouraging a little bit of collaboration and cooperation, your mastermind group will eventually lean into improving and expanding on each other's ideas. This leads to bigger, more ambitious, well-thought-out plans that directly improve your business.
Everyone has unique strengths and perspectives that allow them to come up with creative ideas and solutions that someone else may not have thought of. Plus, a little bit of natural, friendly competition tends to get people to do their best and be a little bit more driven. To get the best results, make sure that every member of your team has equal representation while providing them with the chance to properly brainstorm and present their ideas.
Note: If you feel like your business is in a bit of a rut, this kind of team is an excellent way to create movement and get some exciting things rolling.
5. Increased Overall Support
Being expected to shoulder all of the ideas and mechanisms that run a company is incredibly difficult, and downright impossible the bigger you get. So, with the help of a mastermind group, gathering the resources you need becomes much easier.
Getting important advice and receiving moral support can mean the difference between success or failure in some cases. Of course, it can be tricky finding people who you can properly rely on for consistent support. That is why it is especially important to thoughtfully and thoroughly vet people who will be in your group in the end.
6. Remove Inefficiencies
By gathering various people in your group that are actually on the “ground floor” and involved with different parts of their industry, you get important insight into any issues that may arise with your process. This means revealing any potential inefficiencies that may not have been apparent to you.
For example, a former or current manager in a similar industry can reveal anywhere that job titles and responsibilities are overlapping too much, which may require some later restructuring. Regardless of the issue, it’s important to be able to develop a solution with someone who has first-hand experience with whatever may be going on.
7. Have an Easier Time Making Sensitive Decisions
Often, simply having someone available that has a different perspective from yours can help in making time-sensitive, important decisions. While it might seem like observing and weighing someone’s input might take a bit more time than making an executive decision, you will want to take into consideration the time you will be saving by researching something you may not be an expert in, or mulling over a decision that you may not totally understand. By receiving a clear, concise answer from someone who may know better, you will have the confidence in knowing you made an informed decision while still being expeditious and efficient.
Some of these time-sensitive decisions may include:
- PR moves that need to be enacted quickly
- Potential security issues
- Changes in suppliers and vendors
- Restructuring your business
8. Stay Competitive
By utilizing all of the natural advantages that come with joining a mastermind group, you will be able to outshine your competition in a variety of ways with minimal effort. Your operations will be more organized, synergized, and everyone from your employees to customers will love all of the creative, out-of-the-box methodologies that you have worked hard to implement as a group.
With the information you can now leverage from your group, you will receive important insight into what is giving you expected returns on investment, and what might not be working out so well. While this may seem like it stagnates experimentation, it does the opposite, giving you a clear idea on what to stay away from while allowing you to focus on exciting things that have a better chance of giving you proper returns in the short and long run.
By doing this, you will have all the tools you need to be disruptive, innovative, and see new growth for years to come while still ensuring that you make educated and thought-out decisions.
9. Create Opportunities
By taking intelligent, informed risks and implementing advice from your mastermind group, your organization has the potential to grow more than ever before. Because of this, you will be able to create new opportunities for your employees and operations. Whether you’re a small business looking for a new storefront or a larger organization that needs to expand its workforce, growing creates new horizons for your people. Overall, it will benefit your own internal finances and success (especially if you have a smaller, more community-centric business), as well as contribute to the economy on a macro level.
10. Get People Excited
If there’s one thing that causes stagnation and lack of creativity in a company, it’s boredom. By giving different people an important seat in your mastermind group, you open up the possibility of new, exciting ideas that invigorate everyone in the room. By giving certain people a greater stake in how things are run, they will also feel an increased drive to do well and come up with effective solutions.
If there’s one aspect of business management that’s essential throughout all industries, it’s cooperation. Mastermind groups are simply an easy-to-use tool that can help you facilitate and implement collaboration and cooperation.
One huge advantage of this kind of group is that it takes minimal effort and financial investment to assemble or join. Simply gather some of your more trustworthy business peers or employees. Preferably, take time to look for and vet people who may be able to access certain tools or connections that you may not have and have more experience in an industry that might be a bit of a blind spot for you.
By choosing the right people, allowing yourself a bit of patience, and strategizing realistic goals for the team, you have the best opportunity to set both yourself and your company up for success in the short and long term.