I first encountered the concept of mastermind groups reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and I was invited to join such a group shortly thereafter. Most of the people in the group, including me, didn’t really know how to use such a group and it quickly fell apart. This was in the early 1980s and the failure of our group could well have been a reflection of the times – the economy was good, people were prospering, and although there were plenty of entrepreneurs, most of the people I knew worked in a traditional job.
Things have changed in thirty years! The economy is not doing so well, people are worried, many are losing, have lost, or have given up on traditional jobs, and entrepreneurism is at an all-time high. Today, mastermind groups are everywhere, and they have become an essential and integral part of business for those who market on the internet. While the internet has made it possible for individuals to market to an unlimited number of people, it has also made it impossible for any single person to keep up with every new innovation or technology that is available to create and run a successful internet based business.
Mastermind groups have created a unique and highly effective way to share with others the resources you have discovered marketing on the internet, and to have others share their resources with you. Of course, the internet has made participating in mastermind groups so much easier than it was thirty years ago. Low cost or no cost teleconferencing allows you to create mastermind groups with virtually anyone who wants to be a part of the group no matter where they live.
Despite the differences between today and thirty years ago, one very important aspect of mastermind groups remains the same – it is important to invite members to and participate in groups that help you to grow your business. Participating in a group that is too homogeneous will not force you to step out of your comfort zone, provide new perspectives, or stimulate your creative juices. They may be enjoyable socially, but this type of group will fail to help you grow your business. On the other hand, a group that is too heterogeneous can also be a problem especially if other members are a lot farther down the road than you are or have a business focus that is too dissimilar from yours. In my experience you want a group that is varied both in experience and business focus. You want people that will make you think and stretch your ideas, but you don’t want a group you can’t relate to or who can’t relate to where you are and the issues you are facing in your business.
In this regard, Perceptual Style Theory (PST) adds an additional dimension that can have impact on how effective you mastermind group is. One of the principles of PST is that any one individual’s perspective is necessarily limited. Having a group composed of people with different Perceptual Styles than your own is a good way to ensure that you will get perspectives that are different from your own. Because we often not aware of what we don’t perceive, the different take on our situation offered by someone with a different perceptual filter can be the very thing you need to unlock the door to greater success. However, as with experience and business focus, a group in which most of the member’s Perceptual Style is distant from yours according to the theory can be overwhelming, confusing, and a waste of time.
So, as a solo or small business entrepreneur marketing your business via the internet, mastermind groups, when chosen wisely, are essential tools to business success. Make sure you know where you are in your business, what you are looking for from a mastermind group, and what type of people will be most helpful to you. To learn more about yourself and what you need to be looking for others to help you with, go to www.yourtalentadvantage.com