6 Steps To Build Your Own Mastermind Group

I love personal and professional development. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to a podcast or taking a class. I love the opportunity to learn new things and grow in my business and in my life. In November of 2022, I was invited to join a small group of women entrepreneurs who wanted to form a mastermind group. Since that time, I’ve mentioned this group we have in different speaking engagements and gotten so many questions on what it is we’re doing! People are really interested and I think hungry for something like it themselves. With the permission of my group, I thought I would lay it out in 6 steps to build your own mastermind group.

Our group began with one person wanting to start something with other like-minded individuals. It was nothing super formal – just an opportunity to gather and support each other however was needed. There were six of us in total and we coined our group the ‘Business Besties’. Some of us had never met while others were already friends or worked together in some capacity! We figured we would try it out and see how it went. We all wanted a place where we could talk about challenges in our businesses, and personal ones that come with that. A place where we could get feedback from people in that arena with us, and pool our collective experience to help each of us grow and connect.

I love listening to other people’s experiences. So much clarity can come from presenting challenges to a fresh set of eyes or people in similar situations. Some of us are service based businesses and some are product based with different levels of experience in business.

The value I get out of our gatherings is priceless, and I know the rest of the group agrees. I leave our retreats percolating new ideas and filled with energy that I can’t wait to take back to my business. Here’s a link to a reel of one of our get togethers!

Here are the 6 steps to build your own mastermind group:

First off, don’t be intimidated by the term ‘mastermind’. The definition of a mastermind is a peer-to-peer mentoring group used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members.

  1. Define your group. What kind of group do you want to have?
    You don’t have to be a business owner or entrepreneur to have a group like this. It could be a group of writers, artists, friends – or a mix of all those things, but the first thing to decide is what kind of group you want to have. This might evolve over time but you need a starting point. You could be in person or be virtual and have members that are in different communities, provinces or even countries!
  2. Determine the size of group you’re looking for. How many members do you want to have?
    For us, we wanted a small group. A few of us are or were involved in larger mastermind organizations and found that the larger the group, the harder it is to get to everyone, so not everyone is getting the same value. We decided to cap ours at six. 

    When looking at building your own group, you may decide four is enough, or perhaps you’d like to go up to 10 members or more. It will be as individual as you are- there is no right or wrong answer. You may start with a small number and choose to grow. You have to see what feels right for you and the group. Like the kind of group you have, this can also evolve over time.
  3. Decide what member qualifications you want. 
    Once you’ve determined the group and size, you need to think about what commonalties, if any, your members will have.
    Do you want a group of business owners or people in the same field?
    Do you want people who’ve been in their business or position for 5+ years?
    Do you care if its service vs product based businesses? 
    Does it matter if a member is the owner or manager of that business?
    Maybe you want a group where no two members do the same thing! The choices are endless so try to establish what you want the group to look like or see where it goes as you identify potential members.
  4. Frequency of meetings.
    The Business Besties meet quarterly. That’s what works for us and our schedules. We plan for the next one each time we get together. You could choose to meet weekly, monthly, quarterly or even semi-annually. You want it to be a frequency your members can commit to. If someone is going to miss every second gathering, it doesn’t really work. In that same vein, you should establish how many members can miss a gathering for it to still proceed – more on that later.
  5. Decide the length of meeting you’d like to have. How long is the meeting when you get together?
    You could decide to meet for an hour, a half day, a full day or a weekend. You could make it an overnight retreat. Figure out what each person’s expectations and capability is, and plan what works for the group.

6. Once you’ve gone through these steps and assembled your mastermind group, the next thing to consider is your agenda.

Do you want a formal agenda?
Do you want to tackle a specific issue each time?
Would you like to incorporate a learning component or movement break?
Is there a specific goal for this meeting? 

Our agenda has remained relatively the same since we began in November 2022. However, at our last meeting, we discussed introducing some new ideas. We elected to do an overnight, and timeline that spans about 24 hours. We get together and start with dinner to catch up, and get the socializing out of the way first. The next day we start with an early breakfast and get right into it. Sometimes we book hotels, sometimes an Airbnb! 

We begin with a check in system where we rate from 1-10 how we’re doing in our business, personal, mental health and financial lives. We also touch on what’s keeping us up at night. Then we move on to any issues a member may have that they want to bring to the group. Once presented, we do a round of clarifying questions. Once there are no more questions, we begin to offer up our thoughts and possible solutions. There may be multiple members who have issues they wish to discuss or it may be just one. 

You can alternate who leads or moderates each get together, or it could be the same person who keeps this role. You could choose to follow the same agenda or change it up! As I said before, what works for you and your group could be different than what we’ve been doing. The mastermind group you create will be individual to you and the group you gather. While we know not everything works for every person, it’s just as important to establish some group rules and guidelines.

Suggested Rules & Guidelines

Obviously, life happens and things come up. Once you’ve formed your group, you will want to establish the group rules and guidelines each member is expected to follow. For example, confidentiality is a crucial component to any mastermind group. Members must feel they can be open to share, and that may include vulnerable moments. You will also want to discuss and decide the guidelines around attendance.

How many people can miss an event before you decide to cancel or reschedule?
How many times can a participant miss the gathering or does that matter to you?
What is our code of conduct for the group? It would be a great idea to discuss behaviours that will not be tolerated in the group so that every participant is on the same page. 
You should also establish a protocol for if an issue between members or confidentiality is breached. 

Once that’s figured out, you have the 6 steps you need to build your own mastermind group. You could already know the people you’d like to ask to join, or you may want to assemble a group of total strangers. Like I said earlier, there’s no right or wrong. Each group will be as individual as the people in it. I have no doubt, the value and impact of your own mastermind group will be priceless. 

Have ideas for a group you’d like to start? I’d love to hear them.
Already have a group? Feel free to share it! 

Anything that does not bring value to your life doesn’t deserve a place in it. – Florence Given

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