Peer-to-peer groups or mastermind groups as they are sometimes called, are springing up all over the countryside but why should you jump on the band wagon?
1 It’s tough at the top. Anyone who has ever run a business no matter the size knows that it is not all plain sailing. Running a business comes with all sorts of challenges. Discussing these with employees, partners or friends may not always be appropriate as their advice may not always be objective. A mastermind group means that you have people you can rely on for support who have more than likely been in the same situation and can offer advice from their experience. Mastermind groups involve brainstorming sessions to find solutions to the challenges you face. No longer will you be alone to make the big decisions that impact on your business.
2 Different perspectives. People in the same industry often have a very narrow field of view, meaning growth areas are often missed. It is amazing how differently someone from a different industry will see your business and any challenge you face, opening up a whole spectrum of new ideas.
3 Expert opinions. Within a mastermind group you may have the very people who you normally pay quite a bit of money to, to come into your business and give you advice, for example, an accountant, a marketing person, a lawyer giving you expert advice every time the group meets. Everyone in the room will be unique in the experience they can offer you, as you are, to the advice you can offer them.
4 Renewed motivation. It goes without saying that people who join mastermind groups are highly motivated to grow their businesses. They also join with the knowledge it is not just about them but about helping others too. Mixing regularly with people who are just as ambitious and motivated is extremely energising.
5 Networking. Mastermind groups are not designed for networking purposes but if you belong to a group that requires a minimum commitment of a year, you will build up trusted relationships with the other members and it is more than likely that not only will you do business with some of the members but that they will be happy to recommend you to the people they know.
6 Accountability. This is a big one. Having worked hard to find a solution to the challenges your business has, the members will expect you to report back with what you did with their suggestions and how you got on. This alone should be enough to motivate you into new action that will grow your business.
There are many groups in every city, catering to different levels of business and offering some additional services such as workshops or speakers. Choose one that suits your budget and time commitment but remember they will not give you a quick fix, they are something you should commit to over the long term and include in your training budget every year. It could be one of the best investments you make!
Karina Bowlby is the Regional Director of Alpha Group International and runs mastermind groups in Edinburgh and Glasgow. She works with business people and international sports teams to enable them to reach peak performance.