You know that two heads are better than one, so imagine what it would be like if you had 6 or 8 other minds where you could draw wisdom, knowledge and experience. I’m talking about the power that like-minded yet diverse people can have in helping you build your business. As entrepreneurs, we can put our heads down and think we can do it all ourselves, sitting behind our desks and trying to work it out. But the input of others can be so important to move ahead with an idea.
Napoleon Hill circa 1937
One way to get this input is through a Master Mind group. It all started with Napoleon Hill in the early 20th century. He was inspired by Andrew Carnegie, who built his successful steel business through strategic collaborations with others. Hill’s books, Think and Grow Rich and The Law of Success outlined the mindset for being successful as well as the process of the Master Mind. Hill interviewed the likes of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Charles Schwab and other business leaders of his day and found that they all had cooperative alliances with fellow business people (ok, they were all men at the time) that helped increase their energy, power and fortune.
Nearly 100 years later, the model stands the test of time. Think of a Master Mind group as your personal board of directors – people with diverse backgrounds, strengths, and areas of expertise all focused on helping your business grow.
I became involved with Master Minding through Victory Circles, first as a participant, then a facilitator. The program started as a stand-alone monthly group, based on Hill’s principles, such as self-confidence, leadership, concentration and establishing your definite chief aim. We apply these to business development and provide accountability to each other with check ins and celebrations of our success.
The program has now evolved into customized business development programs that incorporate business planning tools, templates, Master Mind groups and individual coaching to meet each entrepreneur’s needs. Just last week, I held my first ever full day Quarterly Master Mind Intensive. Part of the Victory Circles Acceleration Coaching program, the purpose of the intensive is to come up with an action plan for the different aspects of our businesses for the coming quarter. People came in with questions and a lot of blank spots on the action calendars we provided ahead of time, but each of them left with a clear focus and concrete plans for marketing, sales, customer touch points, financial literacy and more for the next three months. I was inspired by the quick cohesion of the group, the free sharing of information and resources, and how much we accomplished in a day.
If you’re thinking about joining or starting a Master Mind group, here are 6 things to consider:
- The Master Mind Principles. Hill outlined 16 principles of success, some listed above. Victory Circles focuses on 12 – 11 of Hill’s and one of our own: Honoring Time (so essential for entrepreneurs). Decide if you want your Master Mind group to use them as a guide.
- Industry. Some groups are industry-specific (e.g., realtors, coaches) and others intentionally comprised of diverse business owners. Do you want greater focus on what you do or a more general approach that benefits from input of people outside your industry?
- Location. Master Mind groups can take place in person or by phone. In person groups are great for cohesion and that face to face contact, but many professionals are busy and prefer the benefits of phone, Skype, or a G+ hangout.
- Frequency. I’ve always been involved in monthly Master Mind groups and now have started the quarterly group described above. I’ve heard of people meeting weekly. Perhaps a combination is best, and I’m experimenting with that now.
- Length. When my Master Mind group included lunch, we met for 2 hours. The full-day Master Mind last week was incredibly powerful, and we ran for the full 6 hours! If you’re meeting on a more regular basis, especially by phone, 60-90 minutes could be perfect.
- How Many Heads?? We’ve had as many as 12 people in a Master Mind group and as few as 3, but I think 6-8 is perfect, allowing for individual sharing and a variety of perspectives to learn from.
Have you ever been in a Master Mind group? What was your experience? Please share your comments below.
Gloria M. Miele, Ph.D. is a Business Development and Leadership Coach and Victory Circles facilitator in Southern California. She is passionate about helping others discover and develop their strengths to achieve greater business success. Visit her website at www.optimaldevelopmentcoaching.com to learn more about Master Mind groups and sign up to receive helpful business development resources, including a free Business Plan Template. You can also connect with us at www.facebook.com/optimaldevelopmentcoaching.