Starting A Mastermind Group


Why Starting A Mastermind Group Is Such A Good (and Bad) Idea

  Congratulations! This could be one of the best business decision you could make. It’s daunting but doable. Before you jump right in and start your group you need to know the cold hard facts. Having a realistic expectation of what’s required to achieve a successful group will help. Knowing the pro’s and con’s will help make the decision easier. Without all the information you will be tempted to jump right in and bootstrap your own group. Then become disillusioned when it doesn’t work out how you envisaged. This blog is a guide to the pitfalls you may encounter, the highs and the lows of starting a Mastermind. It will help to test early on if it’s the right strategy for you. There are so many blog posts and templates with advice suggesting you start a Mastermind. Let’s break it down.

What is your motive?

  Question your motives? Why do you want to start a Mastermind group? Is it Ego, Altruistic, A fun challenge, pay it forward, help other, to serve. You need to be clear on your objectives because there is a lot of behind the scenes work involved. Having your motivation crystal clear will help you overcome obstacles when they occur.

Your Existing Audience Or Reach

  The most important question you need to answer. Do you have the network already? If you don’t then your idea many be dead in the water. Without a large network of acquaintances and connections or a ready-made audience to tap into it’s going to need a lot of extra work. Remember, one of the primary aims of starting a Mastermind group is to increase your average. If you don’t have enough connections that are above you (in terms of skills, attitude and habits) then you need to create a plan to find these people.

Who do you invite?

  It’s critical to invite the right kind of people. Driven, successful people with the right attitude and commitment. There are your dream candidates. You need to avoid flaky, overworked and stressed people as they tend to bring that baggage with them. Vet all your potential candidates carefully, before letting them join. It’s better to have a smaller tight knit group than a large non-connected group.

How do you attract them?

  Sell the benefits NOT the features. Explain W.I.F.M. (What’s In it For Me) and talk up the help, connections, accountability aspect of your Mastermind. Once you have your first few attendees create critical mass by using referrals. Ask each new member if they know 2-3 possible ideal candidates which will help to grow it quickly. Use LinkedIn, existing customers, friends, mentors, or any Facebook groups you are in.

What is Your Experience?

  Do you have the right experience? Masterminds are not coaching, so if you want run a group you need to ask yourself what skills do you bring to the table? Will you be the facilitator, organiser, motivator, content provider? If it’s yes to all then your in for a lot of extra work. Try and find people within the group that will take on some of the responsibilities to share the burden.

What Technology stack will you use?

  A private Slack channel, Zoom (free up to 40 minutes) , Google Hangout (free but has certain limitations). Skype is also free and a good option to consider, Facebook Group (not recommended – see here). In-person meeting when, where? Technology only gets you so fa. What else do you need to support your group.

Your Framework and Agenda

  Will you group have a mastermind agenda, checklists, cheat sheets or schedules? You can incorporate these after the group has actually started, but it helps to be aware that they will be required at some stage. Is there a specific focus within the group or an outcome at the end? Either way you will need to ensure that you have a framework. Consider check in, goal review and goal setting, open floor, guest expert or presentation. These are a few of the activities that could be part of your agenda.

What will you charge?

  What will you charge for your group? What value to you bring that people will pay for? Is $5 or $300 a session reasonable? This comes down to the value you intend to create for everyone and how that will be perceived. The more you charge the more you will need to under-promise and to over-deliver. If you are charging a fee then get regular feedback from the group so you can adjust if required.

The Hidden Benefits (Highs)

  Benefits include:- Continuous learning, deeper connections, new friendships, higher levels of trust. Plus new opportunities, personal development, and the wonderful feeling you get helping others.

The Hidden Work (Lows)

  Frustration at non-attendance, the extra work involved. Creating the paperwork, extra planning and advance preparation for each meeting. The final cost including all your time and effort. The reality is it will cost you at least several hours a week. You need to be prepared for the frustration of having to constantly remind everyone to attend. The real possibility that you might not attract enough of the right kind of people to your group.

Still want to start a mastermind group?

  You are now better prepared for the highs and the lows. You should have enough information to make an informed decision. If you still want to start one that’s awesome because Mastermind groups are so valuable . If you feel that the reward vs effort is not there in starting your own then join an existing Mastermind group.  

About the Author:

Ronan Leonard is a Mastermind facilitator and Mastermind teacher. Connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners together to create the perfect Mastermind groups or teaching self-employed professionals how to run their own groups. Small business owners are often overwhelmed with to-do lists and need impartial advice to get the right support to help them achieve their goals.