Getting the word out about what you’re doing can be one of the biggest challenges for any Entrepreneur. The thousands of marketing companies that tell us they can do it for us make it obvious that it’s something we all struggle with at some point. There are also hundreds of articles that attempt to teach us DIY tricks. Heck, I spent the first three months of starting my blog just reading about how to get the word out and grow an audience. How on earth is an entrepreneur supposed to sift through this sea of information? What are we to do when we can’t afford – in the early stages – to hire a marketer to do the job for us?
I have the answer! OK, maybe it’s not THE answer – but it’s a pretty dang cool alternative and something that’s starting to work for me and just might work for you. It’s a little thing called a Mastermind group. At this point you might be thinking “OK Brain, what are we doing tonight?”. Creating a mastermind group might not allow you to take over the world (then again, you never know) but it will give you awesome ideas on every aspect of your business.
What the heck is a mastermind group? It’s really simple – most great solutions are. You find four to five people that are either at the same startup level as you are or just a few steps ahead and meet on a regular basis. While it’s great to have people that have already dealt with your problems; you don’t want people that are so far ahead that they don’t benefit from the group. Preferably, a couple of these people are not in the same industry as you. I know that sounds really counter-intuitive. However, if you have a bunch of people that think exactly the same you’ll lose out on some pretty awesome ah-ha moments. If you’re not sure about this concept you might want to check out Leading for Growth by Ray Davis. He took a boring old bank and made it really freakin cool by learning from other industries.
I’ve been moderating a Mastermind group for a short time now and I’m already experiencing the benefits. In fact, the people in the group are becoming friends and the ideas that come from our exchanges are simply awesome. Doing a group like this is not a new idea and there are a few guidelines that you should follow to ensure success.
- Make sure all members of the group are committed
- Be sure to have a moderator that leads the group
- Absolutely have an agenda for the meetings! This is hugely, massively, immensely important; I think you get the point.
Here are some of the tools we use:
- Google Hangouts: We have members from LA to New York. So, we meet over hangouts.
- NeedToMeet.com: I used this to figure out scheduling – it even adjusts for time zone!
- Google Drive: I setup a shared folder with our agenda, a document with all our contact info, and anything else we want to share with each other.
Get out there and create a small mastermind group and you’ll be amazed at the support you get and the ideas that will hit you right between the ol’ peepers.
Here’s an example of our agenda:
Facilitator – Tony Rappa
Time Keeper – <name>
Recorder – <name>
Inspirational Story: <name>
Invite List: <list of email addresses for Google Hangouts>
- Introductions. Name, Project, What we hope to get out of these meetings
Ice Breaker: If you could summarize your life with a song, what would be the title?
Short Inspirational Story (2 minutes)
Individual good news to share. (2 minutes each)
Share individual opportunity or problem you experienced since the last meeting and what assistance/advice you would like from the group / Discussion (10 Minutes each).
Appreciations / Acknowledgements
Discuss anything that needs to be prepared for the next meeting
Post meeting Items to Discuss:
Are there any changes that should be made to the current format?
Photo by ell brown