Three heads are better than one…I believe that’s the saying, right? But seriously, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, what line of business is involved, or the format these groups meet in, teamwork provides unparalleled results.
We believe having a discussion with someone is the single most powerful thing you can do. Sure, information is great, as well as product information – but nothing enhances the effectiveness like community. If you build a great community or group, people will take away endlessly and grow beyond their wildest imagination.
We truly realized the power of a mastermind in early 2014. We started opening up and talking to people. We shared without the expectation of receiving and things came back to us ten-fold. Nothing compares to having someone else’s perspective or insight into your business. As a business owner, we work tirelessly to improve but too often overlook the glaring issue. The real problem. Fresh eyes can often discern what we are blinded to.
This is why Masterminds work. It gives you the perspective of a team of people working towards a common goal or interest. It offers insight to your business that you might not have seen otherwise. As you can imagine, based on this article, we are a strong proponent of Masterminds. Business professionals pay tens of thousands of dollars to be in strong closed-session masterminds. I realize that some people don’t have the budget for that, so we are going to tell you how you can make your own.
First, look at the goal of your Mastermind. Is it general business growth or shared information? What we have come to realize is fully-open masterminds tend to operate the best. The ones that share information as well as contribute towards the common goal are the groups that succeed. With that in mind we will lay out how you can do that.
Step 1: Recruitment
Look for people who fit the following criteria the closest:
- Close in sales to you. While it may seem counterintuitive to would want someone with your sales, rather than a bigger, stronger and faster teammate, it will provide you with a much better experience. People in the same sales range often encounter the same issues, look at deals similarly, have roughly the same budget, and have similar infrastructures. It doesn’t make sense to pair someone doing minimal sales (say $10k) with someone doing $1MM in sales because their respective businesses aren’t remotely similar. A deal that the million-dollar seller finds to be favorable may be horrible for a smaller seller, because they aren’t capitalized the same. Similarly, it’s easy to rally as a group. You can look to encourage and lift the group as whole rather than being dragged along.
- A similar mindset and goals for growing their business. This is incredibly important, as it is hard for fulltime people to work with part-time people, because their goals and commitment don’t align. You are looking for people that can contribute without being a taker OR being a workhorse for the group. The group has to work together as a unit.
- Look for diverse interests or skill sets. While it might be cute to clone myself, it is very ineffective. We (my clones and I) would look at products the same way; we would target the same types of products and would miss the same things. While awesome, we would be a poor Mastermind. Instead you’ll want a diverse skill set among people who examine things differently. Ideally you would focus on people who specialize in different categories or sets of products and people who review different information than you.
When you have decided on what you are looking for in a Mastermind, and have a good idea of what will make your team successful, it’s time to take to the streets and start talking to people. Ideally, you want to keep your group small. Mean and lean, as they say. These groups provide a more intimate feel, as well as generally keep more people engaged longer. A suggested MM size is between four and six people. Remember, these are people you are sharing your business with, potentially your SKUS and most importantly your philosophies which govern your business.
Step 2: Setting up the physical Mastermind Group
- Set up a Facebook Group (set to secret)
- Set up shared Google docs
- Do a live webinar-style meet (Skype/Zoom/Spree) to introduce yourselves and interact
- Share phone numbers for texting
- Use an App like Voxer
Once those things are in place you should start working to help each other’s business grow. Here are some objectives you should consider with your group.
Step 3: Establishing Your Objectives:
- Don’t focus on being rules-oriented. If you set a minimum, people achieve the minimum. It’s simple human nature. If you tell me I only need to contribute 5 SKUs per week I will set out with that as my mission. If instead you focus on the promotion of the greater good, say, improvement across the board, then people are more invested in the success of their team.
- If someone has continued weak performance or isn’t involved heavily in the group, approach them about it. Talk to them first, and develop a strategy towards resolution. Things happen, life happens If something can’t be resolved then cut them from your group and move on. Look to refill the position as necessary.
- A team is as strong as the weakest player. Period. When you are in this setting, DON’T BE THE WEAKEST PLAYER. No one, and I mean no one, wants to be the dud, the last pick, or the patsy of a group. Get in there and work! Contribute to the efforts of the group and jointly grow your businesses.
- Contribute beyond the SKU level. Look at strategy; sourcing, pricing and seasonal strategies. Look to increase your effectiveness and jointly make your TEAM money.
- Develop a relationship with your team. Work towards being close with each other, and learn to invest jointly in each other’s success. Don’t be the person who secretly wants to be the best, JUST to be the best. Work towards making everyone better and you will get the most out of this experience.
- Develop team-oriented goals, and approach situations with the team in mind. As an example, look to raise the ENTIRE teams’ performance rather than your own. Make realistic goals and develop maps to get there.
As I previously mentioned, in terms of the group setup those are the mediums we use. Those mediums allow for the quickest access of information and will help everyone get the most out of their experience. Here is a quick synopsis of how you can utilize each of those mediums to help the TEAM to grow their respective businesses.
Step 4: Sharing with Your Group
- Ask your group for feedback and be open about your situation. You will realize the more you are willing to share, the same will generally be true for everyone involved. Look for ways to improve your processes, and share when you have better methods.
- Utilize group file storage. With our Mastermind group, we share every piece of material we use in our business (templates, contracts, agreements, etc). This is an open resource, and other members of the group reciprocate. That means collectively we have access to a MOUNTAIN of information about any topic.
- We also utilize text messages for time sensitive information. This is generally reserved for something that needs to happen quickly, or ends quickly.
After you are at this point you may very well wonder, “What should I share with my group? How can I contribute? What gives my TEAM the best chance of success?” Basically, you aren’t limited here. You should contribute to the joint success of the team, and if it helps you, it should help your teammates.
Step 5: What to Share with Your Group
- News articles, industry related articles
- Sourcing Strategies
- Experiments You Are Testing
- New Strategies – We love this because we get tons of awesome feedback from people we trust.
- Purchasing / Pricing Strategy (for the sake of mentioning it – I will point out agreed upon pricing is illegal. You should only talk about this in theoreticals and should NOT agree on prices).
- Processing Strategies
- Business Contacts
To summarize, setting up a Mastermind group can be both fun and rewarding. When you do this, you will have a camaraderie that is unmatched by any type of lone wolf situation. The most important thing to remember is to contribute to your team’s success. Be a part of greatness, which realistically the success of everyone involved. Beyond that it provides HUGE accountability. Not only are you responsible for your own success, but also that of your team!
Tell us what you think… What is holding you back from setting up your Mastermind Group?