At the New Year, many business owners pause to examine the vast array of opportunities to push their businesses forward.

Many gravitate towards joining a loosely organized coterie of like-minded individuals with the same goal. However, many times even with the best intentions, meetings start to become sparse and nonexistent. Then as a result, there is incredible frustration, and goals and activities skid to a halt.  

After going through many of these same frustrations, last year I found a consistent means of moving my business forward with the side benefit of building relationships with other interesting leaders--I joined a mastermind group. A mastermind is a peer-based group organized to help to solve each other's business issues. After some research, I got involved with the Trajectory Mastermind Group, organized by Dorie Clark, author of such books as Stand Out and Entrepreneurial You.

Why Join a Mastermind Group

There are many benefits to joining a formalized mastermind group. Research studies indicate a group can help develop and operationalize ideas in a quicker fashion than working alone. 

More importantly, a mastermind group can be a setting where leaders can be challenged and feel uncomfortable in a low risk environment which allows for the breakthrough ideas.  

For example, I came to realize with the group's help that my topic for my TEDx proposal wasn't the right first story for my brand. Now I am considering other topics and will revisit giving a TEDx talk at the end of the year.

Opportunities Gained  

From my perspective, there is an abundance of opportunities gained by joining a mastermind group. For example, I met many business owners and leaders that I wouldn't have been able to access otherwise. I met an author from Denmark, an owner of a storytelling company, a founder of a brand consultancy and other like-minded executive coaches.  

With this diverse group of team members, there is a greater opportunity for debate and a methodical means for pivoting. In our group, debate and learning was formalized each month with a specific challenge and a call with a designated team member. For example, I had the opportunity to hash out my calendar of topics to write about for 2019 with a fellow mastermind participant.

Selection Process 

Choosing a mastermind group, of course, is a personal decision.  In my experience there are some guidelines for selection.  

First, when investigating a potential group to join, think about the type and profile of the leaders involved. Members should fit a similar profile in terms of where they are in the trajectory of their business/income. For example, if you have been in business for twenty years, working with a group who are just starting out will not be a good fit. Then it is time to have a conversation with the leader of the mastermind. I looked for a leader that was like-minded and had solved many of the issues that were my goals. 

Another point to consider is what are the activities and events that are planned out for the year. In my selection process, I looked for means to strategize about revenue generating activities, solutions for my writing process and the opportunity for lasting relationships. 

Finally, I wanted to work with leaders who are like-minded, had similar company issues, and opportunities that we could jointly work on.

There are many ways to develop yourself professionally and create a strategic plan for your business. Personally, I have found that joining a mastermind group is one of the best ways to create that opportunity in an organized and systematic fashion.