I first encountered the concept of mastermind groups reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill back in the early 80's, but it wasn't until recently that mastermind groups really took off. Now they're everywhere, and they have become an essential part of business development for internet marketing.
Why? Because 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 individual to keep up with every new innovation or technology available to create and run a successful internet-based business. Hence, we need the input of others in our field to stay abreast of the latest developments.
Mastermind groups have created a unique and highly effective way to do this. What's more, participation is much easier than it was thirty years ago, as low-cost or no-cost teleconferencing allows us to create mastermind groups with virtually anyone, anywhere.
Despite the differences between today and thirty years ago, one very important aspect of mastermind groups remains the same-it's the people that make the group, and the mastermind that's right for you will strike a balance between entrepreneurs who are similar to you and those who are dissimilar.
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 that is too dissimilar in focus.
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 your 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 is a good way to ensure that you will get perspectives that are different from your own. Because we are 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 exactly what we need to get beyond our blind spots and unlock the door to greater success. Again, though, too many people who are too different can easily be overwhelming.
As a solo or small business entrepreneur marketing your business via the internet, mastermind groups, when chosen wisely, are essential tools for business success. To get the most out of the experience, 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.