Checklist: How to Start a Mastermind Group
By Karyn Greenstreet
Do you want to start a mastermind group? It’s one of the best ways I know to surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who want to create a successful personal and professional life.
Mastermind groups often fail when people jump in without giving any thought to the design of a mastermind group. With a little planning and a few foundational steps, you can have a mastermind group that rocks! Here’s how:
- Decide on the focus for your mastermind group – Why are you starting this group? The focus of groups can vary. Perhaps your group helps people to make or manage big changes in their personal life, like having a first child or getting ready to retire. Or your group could have a professional focus: a group for startup small business owners, or corporate executives who want to discuss leadership topics and their careers. You can also choose to focus your mastermind group around a book you’re all reading.
- Choose a date and time for meetings – It’s not always easy to find the perfect time all members can agree on. If you’re running a professional group, they might prefer to meet during the work day. Busy moms might want a group which meets mid-day when their children are at school, while people with jobs could prefer to meet after work. Whichever you choose, make sure you have a consistent schedule that people can add to their calendars in advance.
- Decide where to meet – Are you meeting in-person, or online? Widespread internet availability makes video conference meetings a convenient alternative, especially if your members are from all around the globe. But if you want to attract and serve people from your local area, an in-person mastermind group would be perfect. Think about your prospective members: for some, it’s easy to travel to the meeting on a regular basis. But for others, traffic in your area so dense that meeting via video conferencing (at least for some meetings) might be preferable. Unsure? Ask your prospective members!
- Add structure by designing an agenda – Running consistent meetings means everyone gets a chance to be in the Hot Seat and all brainstorming, check-ins and accountability is completed without your meetings running overtime. There are many creative mastermind group meeting agendas to choose from, as long as you pick one and stick with it. This is also the time to decide whether each member gets in the Hot Seat in every meeting or if you’ll rotate.
- Figure out who you are inviting – Choosing the right members is crucial. What types of people should be part of your mastermind group? Naturally, you want people who want to achieve a goal, and are ready to work towards it. While they can do it on their own, they understand the value of sharing knowledge, skills and experience with others, to shorten the learning curve and get further faster. Having the right mindset is important, too. You want people who are generally positive, can-do types. Even when the journey gets tough, these folks persevere and keep moving forward.
- Create some ground rules – We all want a group that works well with each other. Setting group guidelines for expected behavior nips little group dynamic problems in the bud. Simple rules, like turning off your cell phone, or not interrupting another person, make a mastermind group run smoothly.
- Spread the word – Once you’ve got your foundational structure in place, it’s time to invite people to your mastermind group. Start with personal invitations to people who have expressed interest or friends/colleagues you’d love to mastermind with. There’s nothing like hand-picking the best members! For a more far-ranging marketing outreach, now’s the time to design a full marketing campaign which teaches your prospects about the value of mastermind groups. And if you’re creating in-house mastermind groups for your organization, you still need to do “marketing.” Your members and employees might not know what mastermind groups are or how to leverage them to grow, to outreach is essential.
Mastermind groups are powerful and with a little planning, your group will enjoy great success together!