What is a Mastermind?

Let’s face it: starting and sustaining a small business can seem like a constant uphill climb. What if, instead of climbing that mountain alone, you had a group of like-minded people surrounding you? Together, you could solve problems when they arose, cheer each other on when you felt defeated, and collectively share what you had learned to make each person’s journey easier. 

What is a mastermind group? 

That’s a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a peer mentoring group, usually made up of 4 to 8 people who are pursuing similar goals and are at similar stages in their journey.

The goal can be anything – parenting, fitness, philanthropy – but most commonly, it’s a group of business owners who are looking to help each other grow. 

You’ve probably seen lots of ads and courses focused on learning from business experts, promising to share their secrets to make your business grow. But a mastermind is different.

A mastermind is based on a group model, where all the members focus their attention on one individual in the group at a time –  listening to them, strategizing with them, sharing ideas and investing in each other’s success. 

What does a mastermind meeting look like?

Mastermind groups usually meet for once a week or twice a month for 60 to 90 minutes at a time, in person or online. These meetings can be ongoing and open-ended or a limited commitment, like three to six months, based on the group’s goal. 

Mastermind meetings are structured for success. A mastermind is not a weekly social time or a group therapy session. While this might sound restrictive, it’s really a gift. As a busy entrepreneur, you can be certain that every time you show up, your time is respected and purposeful. 

The structure of a mastermind can come in lots of different forms, depending on your group size, goals and type of business, but no matter what the structure is, it should include a hotseat.

Each member of the group rotates into the hot seat. During this time, the entire group focuses their energy on one member’s business.

Often, that member shares a challenge or area where they are feeling stuck with their business, and over the course of the meeting, the group uses their collective brainstorming power, perspective, experience, and care to help that member develop a plan to meet the challenge.

The member in the hot seat then uses that feedback and insight to develop a goal and set a timeline for achieving it, knowing they’ll have the support and accountability of the group as they make progress. 

Depending on the group size and meeting frequency, each member gets to be in the hot seat every six to 12 weeks.

The most successful groups I’ve developed also made it routine to communicate between meetings, finding it an amazing way to get quick feedback in the middle of a process or reach out to another entrepreneur on rough days. 

What are the benefits of being in a mastermind? 

A mastermind group brings to mind the old adage, “The sum is often greater than the parts.” As a lone business owner, you only have so much time, energy and knowledge. But together with others who are walking a similar path, you multiply that time, energy and knowledge by each group member, sharing with each other and spurring each other on. 

Another great benefit of a mastermind is empathy and encouragement. This is a group of people who get it – they know how hard it is, and they’re invested in your success. A victory is so much sweeter when you have people to share it with.

On the flip side, a mastermind is a place where you can be real about the challenges in your business. This isn’t a networking event where everyone’s trying to put on the best face and impress each other. In a mastermind, you can be honest about your struggles and talk about it with people who have been there. 

A mastermind will also challenge you to grow and overcome your challenges. As human beings, we all get stuck in ways of thinking and can’t see potential solutions to our problems.

When other business owners know your business, but also see your strengths, they are able to challenge you, point out your blind spots and give you a new perspective. A mastermind will bring you new ideas and help you figure out the source of particular issues. 

Is a mastermind group right for me? 

If you want to grow as an entrepreneur, find community among like-minded peers and invest in the success of your business, then a mastermind may be a great solution for you.

Masterminds offer a unique peer mentoring model with enough structure to help you accomplish  your business goals, while finding connection and encouragement from others who care about your success. 

In our next article, we’ll discuss who masterminds can help and who might be better served by a different kind of group. You might just be surprised at who makes a good mastermind participant and who doesn’t! 

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