Will there be pastries? How to choose a mastermind group that works for you

If you have reached the stage in your business journey where you are ready to take the plunge with a mastermind group, you now need to decide which group is the best for you. So, what criteria should you apply?

A suggested eight-point decision process.

Joining a mastermind group is an important decision for your business. Just as valid, it is an important decision for other businesses. When you become part of the collective you are committing to helping everyone, so the decision to join a group takes on additional importance.

While there are a lot of things to think about, I would suggest an eight-point decision list. You don’t necessarily need to be in a group that is perfect in all eight, but the nearer you get to the ideal group, the better for you.

  1. Do you have the time? All mastermind groups will meet regularly so for everyone’s sake, pick one that you are able to commit to in your schedule. One of the most frustrating things for everyone who attends a mastermind and similar groups, is when people drop out or dip in and out on a regular basis. Clearly life will get in the way sometimes and you may need to miss the occasional session but before you commit, make sure you can fully commit. We are all busy, but it will be well worth prioritising your mastermind group in your calendar.
  1. Geography and is it face-to-face, online or a blend? No matter how else the rest of the answers to these questions stack up, it’s no good being in a group that is geographically bad for you. For some an online version may be the only option. Whatever option you choose, embrace it and make sure it is one you can continue to support.
  1. Who else will be/is in the group? There are several schools of thought on what makes up a good group. Some are ‘seated’ which means once a particular business seat is filled nobody else from that sort of business will be let in. There are open groups with no seat policy (although sometimes there will be a maximum number allowed from one sector) and specific industry-based masterminds such as accountants’ circles or creatives’ forums.
  1. Have you done your research on the other people in the group, even if you know most of them already? Link with them on social media where you can and do a bit of background on the members.
  1. Do you like, respect and trust at least most of the other members? While this is a business decision there is no point in committing to sitting in a room with people you personally dislike. One of the benefits of being in a mastermind is that you get to hear different views and opinions. It is much easier to accept those opinions if you respect the person offering them. One odd thing about masterminds is that the most and least important aspect initially is the trust factor. If you don’t know and trust the people in the group, then you need to at least be in a position where they seem people you will like and respect. Hopefully, the trust factor will follow.
  1. What are the aims of the group? There is no point in joining a group that doesn’t match the aims of your business but at the same time don’t let this rule out anything that could expand your view or give another perspective. You don’t need to agree with everything that is said at the meetings, but you do need to agree with the overall aims of the group.
  1. Who is leading the group, and will there be pastries? The group leader will tell you a lot about how the group will run and dictate the ethos and tone of the meetings. The facilitator is vital to the smooth running and continued success of the group. Whether there are pastries or not is quite important, well OK, important to me because I do love a nice pecan plait. On a serious note though, does the group meet your basic needs and is it comfortable physically? You want to make the most of your group, so it needs to be a place where you are physically comfortable.
  1. How are the meetings run? Formal, informal, strict agenda-driven or open forum? Get the feel of how a meeting will run before you join. If the structure is not readily available online, then just ask the facilitator for an agenda.

One thing I would always suggest is that you arrange a one-to-one meeting with the group facilitator and maybe a couple of the existing members. Ask a few questions about how the group runs and what the benefits will be. It will also give them a chance to get to know you a little. Remember, this is a two-way contract so arranging a couple of one-to-ones will give you and the facilitator chance ta o get to know each other a little bit.

A good mastermind will help propel your business to new heights and provide support and guidance. Choose the right one and it will serve you well for years to come.

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