There is value in getting out and talking to other business owners, even if they aren’t in your industry. In fact, those small business owners outside your industry can share even more as it’s likely they are reading and following different sources than you. A mastermind group may be just want you need to kick start your growth.
I call my group a mini-mastermind. I meet with one or two other marketing-minded small business owners every 6 weeks for a few hours. In our meetings, we share helpful resources we’ve found and freely ask questions about anything we need help with in our businesses. It’s informal. We don’t have an agenda or a mission statement. But it works for us.
I’ve learned new technologies and plug ins to make blogging easier and more effective, SEO tips, and strategies for generating new traffic to my website. Sure, I could surf the web and find some of this information, but I’m learning from a person who cares about my business, has tried these methods and strategies and can share first hand how it helped his business. I gain a sense of satisfaction, too, in giving back. It’s fun to help other small business owners break through a rut.
My mastermind helps provide an outside perspective on things I may be too close to, like the homepage design of my website. A fresh set of eyeballs belonging to someone who knows just enough about our business to provide valuable insight is priceless. My group is open to teaching me what they have learned because they don’t consider me competition.
Here are a few tips for starting your own mastermind group.
1) Start with networking groups. I’m not necessarily a big fan of these as it seems everyone is trolling for new business. But if you join one where learning is the purpose (versus finding a job), i.e. a social media networking group, you’ll find other small business owners who are looking for more engagement with others like them.
2) Read local blogs or search for bloggers in your city. My mastermind started by chance – I reached out to a blogger whose work I admire. It turned out, he lived nearby (odd coincidence, I know). We attended a Chamber event together, realized we could learn from each other, and set up the informal group.
3) Ask your Chamber of Commerce who they view as thought leaders in your community. Who are the movers and shakers who are trying new things and involved in the community. Reach out, offer to take to them to lunch, think about what you can help them with. For masterminds to work, you have to give as well as take.
4) Shop local. Often the small business owner is working in the business and you can develop a relationship by talking to them. Pop into their store, mention you’re a small business owner, too. Find a common challenge. Business owners love talking shop with other business owners.
5) Be open-minded. You may not think a small business owner in a particular industry that is so different than your own can truly help you, but you’d be surprised. Be open to people from all walks of life joining your group. As small business owners, you probably have more in common than you realize.
Go ahead and get out there. Connect with other great local business owners and watch your business grow.