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The power and potential of Mastermind groups

How Mastermind groups can help build your business and how to build your own successful group

It’s a scene playing out in countless coffee shops and conference rooms across the country – including here in the Lowcountry. In this case, nine businesswomen have gathered around a table in the back of Downtown Deli in Bluffton at lunchtime, eager to catch up, eat – and talk business. For the next 90 minutes these women (who meet monthly at the same time and same location) will share business tips, contacts, advice and growth strategies that they’ve learned along the way – providing their fellow businesswomen with a unique peer-to-peer mentoring resource that they can’t find anywhere else and which is a critical part of their own business growth. 

These nine women are part of a recently created Mastermind group here in the Lowcountry – a small group that offers a combination of professional support, brainstorming, education – and peer accountability – among members. Mastermind groups can build contacts. They can build momentum. And, for many men and women in various stages of their professional careers, they can build business.

“The response to creating our women’s Mastermind group here in the Lowcountry a year ago was amazing,” says Lucy Rosen, founder and group facilitator of K.N.E.W. (Killer Network of Entrepreneurial Women), the Bluffton-based women’s Mastermind group she launched in 2020. “There isn’t a place for women business owners to get together and really get down to business,” she said, adding that while local Chambers do a great job with after-hour networking events and periodic specific business programs to attend, the concept of a Women’s Mastermind Group is different.

“This is a group of like-minded women who want their businesses to succeed and are open about their needs, their dreams, their finances, their staffing issues, and, of course, their families,” she says. “It’s a powerful group that is supportive of each other and, even more important, accountable to each other.”

Although Rosen’s first K.N.E.W. Masterminds group is currently at capacity, new groups are forming and will be launched by the end of February. Rosen stresses that men and women interested in harnessing the power of a Mastermind group can start their own groups as well – and offers these tips for building a Mastermind group that will build your business. 

  • Make a list of 8-10 business owners with similar experience in business. “Chances are although newbie business owners would love to be with seasoned business owners, that’s not always a great synergy, so try to keep the group comprised of people with similar years of experience.” 
  • Find a place that is quiet/centrally located. “Make it as easy as possible for people to attend, at a place that will be conducive to conversations and networking.”
  • Invite your 8-10 people to a meeting on the date and time you would like your group to meet. “We’ve found that 90 minutes over lunch or 6-7:30 p.m. works very well.” 
  • Have a set agenda. “At the first few meetings we spent a majority of our time introducing ourselves, our businesses and what type of support we were looking for from the group,” Rosen recalls. “As we have evolved, we now spend 10-15 minutes with each member of the group, talking about a specific issue or need that they have and the remaining time hearing from one specific member of the group with a little more of a deep dive into an issue.”
  • If you are facilitating, keep everyone on track. “It’s really easy for side conversations to start or for a ‘disruptor’ to disrupt,” she points out. “It’s not easy to facilitate and do it well, so if this is your first time doing it, you may want to consider doing it with a co-facilitator.”
  • Set the expectations at the first meeting. “We have a two-missed-meeting rule: you miss two meetings, and you may be asked to leave the group,” says Rosen. “Harsh? Maybe. But the truth is, the energy is different if someone is missing. This is 90 minutes a month. If you can’t commit to that, you probably aren’t a great fit for a Mastermind group.” 
  • Be aware of the stages the group will go through. “As in any group, there are stages you will go through,” she notes. “The first is ‘forming,’ the second is ‘storming’ (where a member/members “storm the stage” by taking over the conversation and/or complaining about the same thing ad nauseam), and the last stage is ‘norming’ — where the group is humming along,” she points out. “It takes time to get there, so just relax at each stage the group is in, and you’ll find you’ll be mastering the art of creating a successful Mastermind group throughout the entire process.”

Lucy Rosen is the founder and president of SmartMarketing Communications and a nationally renowned business strategist, entrepreneur and author known for her ability to help professionals grow and expand their businesses through effective marketing, public relations and networking activities. Lucy has been helping clients build powerful strategic alliances to enhance their businesses and is considered by many to be a visionary in creating and expanding business opportunities through innovative marketing campaigns.

Need help setting up a group? Email Lucy Rosen at Lucy@SmartMarketingCommunications.com

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