This month, I have become aware of the importance of having a team to support you in your business venture. In fact, having a team around you in whatever you are taking on that’s big is almost mandatory. If you’re having a baby you have a doctor, a gynecologist, your friends and teacher from the prenatal class and so on.
If you’re trying to take off weight you’ve got support from a nutritionist, a doctor, a personal trainer and/or the team at Weight Watchers as well.
Having a team is vital to your success. In biblical times, Moses had Aaron, Jesus had the disciples…Noah had a bunch of animals, but we won’t go there this time…
The lesson in this newsletter is the importance of having a supporting cast around you to help you run and grow your business.
There are four key types of support in the business world:
The first one is a mentor. A mentor is someone who’s in your field or who has an expertise that you are looking for in terms of guidance. Someone who is successful in the field and is open to counseling you or guiding you once a month about your business and the direction you’re taking it.
One way to access a mentor is to talk to the trade association that’s connected to the industry or field you’re in. In almost every industry there is a trade association and what you want to do is ask the director of the trade association who the top five most successful business owners are in your industry. Once you’ve got that information you then want to call each owner and see if they would be open to mentoring you.
Usually when people are successful they are all too happy to share their advice. Why? Because it’s something to be proud of and it’s an honour to share it!
A good mentor relationship is one that’s done over the phone once a month. You have to be respectful of the other person’s time. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to send a thank you card and a gift certificate to your mentor as well…once in a while. Showing appreciation is always a good thing.
The second type of support you can have is a mastermind group. Your mastermind group can be made up of professionals in your industry or it can consist of a variety of business people from different industries. The idea of a mastermind team was developed by the “grandfather” of the personal development movement, Napoleon Hill. He felt the power of five or six minds were better than one. One of the first mastermind groups included Ford, Firestone and Edison…quite the mastermind team to say the least.
When choosing your team you have to be with people you trust, who have the same goals and who can help you get to where you want to go. A typical mastermind meeting is about two to three hours long and it’s a chance for you to brainstorm, test, and work through challenges and then get the advice and insight from the four or five other people in your group. I personally don’t like a group that’s more than six people or the meeting can take all day.
You can make your meeting fun by having a nice breakfast or lunch. You could have a book review, share online resources or best practices.
In my mastermind group we danced in one of our meetings!
We did experiential dance or body movement to music that allowed us to get into our bodies. After we danced we created a vision board. My vision board had pictures and words cut out from magazines that resonated with me. I then glued each picture and word onto a Bristol board. My vision board reminds me of what I want to achieve for my life and business.
A mastermind group has to have respect, trust, cohesion and good communication. I recommend you meet once a month to keep the flow going. Your mastermind group isn’t about you getting psychological help; it’s about getting support, ideas, and action steps that you can take for your business venture. Yes, some emotional issues may come up but remember you are with business people not a psychotherapist or psychologist. Keep the meetings about the task at hand rather than making them more personal.
A mastermind team can be a great support mechanism for you to put into action in your business venture and the ideas and the encouragement you get are invaluable. Heck, you might even get to dance like I did in a couple of my meetings and anyone who knows me knows that I’m no “twinkle toes”. But, I did have fun and let loose for a while. Sometimes you need to let loose and play even if it’s during a work day.
Another support system to put into place is a board of directors or an advisory board. The difference between a mastermind team and an advisory board is that the advisory board focuses solely on you, whereas a mastermind team is a shared focus.
Your board can consist of your lawyer, banker, a business colleague and your accountant!
Another aspect of having an advisory board is demonstrated by an experience I had a couple of years ago. I met with four senior business executives all retired now, but still wanting to contribute and give back. This non-profit organization called, “The Association of Senior Executives” or A-S-E for shorth, helped direct me and give me ideas, advice and feedback on my business. I went in totally cold not knowing what to expect. I did go in with some key areas I wanted to discuss and I got 90 minutes of ideas, brainstorming and advice to put into action immediately. I also became clear about the most immediate next steps to take and engage in.
These seasoned senior executives have made their living (successfully) and it gives them a chance to be vital, give back and make a difference, plus the advice I got was really very amazing. I paid $90 for 90 minutes and walked away with some ideas that had never occurred to me before. You can check out this service at www.a-s-e.ca .
A board of directors helps you discover pieces that fit your puzzle.
A typical board of directors meeting involves taking these four professionals for dinner twice a year to share what’s going on in your business.
Since you’ve got four very different people at the table with you, you will get very interesting feedback. I feel a good board includes someone with a financial perspective, one from a management perspective, one from a legal perspective and one from a banking management perspective—all with contacts and experience that are crucial to your success. Make sure when you meet twice a year with your board of directors that you take them out for dinner.
Finally, the 4th form of support is to have an accountability partner, someone you trust that you can share your challenges, accomplishments, and ideas with. This is similar to having a mastermind team, but with one person only. My accountability buddy is Gail Scott, she is great, fun and holds me accountable each month!
Having a mentor, a board, and accountability buddy or mastermind team is not for the squeamish—it’s for people who are ready to take the reins of their life and become ‘unstuck’. Are you ready?”
Are you ready for your own success? Getting support helps you to be accountable, be faster to adapt and change and tap you into resources you may not have known about!
This week look into getting the support you need!
You have more work to do…
- Who would you like to have as a mentor? Who do you know in business that can help you and can guide you along in your venture? Here is a tip, ask the leaders in the industry you’re in. They can really help if you remember to ask.
- A mastermind team is a creative team that can help you brainstorm, work through business challenges and keep focused on your goals. Of all the people you know, who are the five that you would love on your mastermind team? (FYI, you want to keep a mastermind team to about six people maximum.)
- Who do you need to meet and have coffee with in order to get information and ideas on how to improve your business or get it up and running? Good research and knowing the market is the key to your on-going success!