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Marketing / Social media

Business mastermind groups: Online vs offline

The explosion of social media in its many and varied forms has led a number of people to wonder: is there still a place for the business mastermind group? I firmly believe the answer is yes.

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Back in mid-2006 Trish Weston introduced us to the concept and practical application of the Business Action Group (or BAG). Does the concept still have the same impact on the health and future of a business?

I read a Twitter post by Scott Stratten that said “Twitter is the reason why I haven’t joined a Mastermind Gp. Twitter is my mastermind gp 24/7”.

Now as a total Twitter addict and champion of all things social media, you’d think I’d be in agreement with him. However, from my own experience of how powerful an effect a business mastermind group can have on your business, drive and attitude, I can’t agree that social media channels can replace it.

Here are three key reasons for this.

Brain storming

One of the key factors of a business mastermind group is the natural and prolific brain storming that occurs at meetings.

I made a foray into the business mastermind arena lately and the results amazed me. Our very first get together produced an easy-flowing conversation that left us all feeling inspired and ready to get back to work and tackle some of the goals on our ‘have been putting this off for ages’ to do lists.

"Perhaps the single most important aspect of the business mastermind group is human contact and a sense of connection."

This discussion was very focused on the needs of the members of our business mastermind group, producing targeted solutions. Having spent more hours on Twitter than I am prepared to admit to, I appreciate that one of the biggest things about it is the sharing of the love. But, even though you can make real connections with people, this sharing is much more general than the natural sharing that you get from real-life, in-the-flesh, business friends.

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Accountability

One of the key factors of the business mastermind group is accountability. At our last meeting we made a commitment to do one activity to move our businesses forward before our next meeting a month later.

Our group is very informal, and deliberately so, but this is a very important aspect.

As your own boss, when it comes to committing to actions that are going to benefit your business and take it in the direction you want it to go in, who do you report to? Not your Twitter friends or the people who visit your Facebook page, or your LinkedIn profile. If you tweet a goal, your followers may or may not register this, may or may not respond in some way, but they definitely won’t tweet you back in a month’s time to ask if you’ve done it.

Because our group’s accountability is informal, it’s up to us to remember what our goal for the month was.You can bet, though, that someone else will remember what it was you were supposed to do, or at the very least probe you until you admit what it was.

Human contact

Perhaps the single most important aspect of the business mastermind group is human contact and a sense of connection. Now, I know that there are mastermind groups out there that exist on a purely virtual level, mostly because of the location of the participants, but you can’t beat real, human, actual interaction, especially when you work solo.

Once a month, my business mastermind group meets at a local pub for lunch. We get to enjoy the pure social interaction of getting together with a bunch of really cool people, chewing the business fat and talking about footy results, family, what’s happening on the weekend or whatever topic happens to come up, just like they do in the ‘real’ world!

I understand and have experienced first hand the power of social media in the sharing of ideas and bringing a sense of community to the business world, even with people in the “other” hemisphere. I have even made connections with people locally that will hopefully develop into genuine business and personal relationships. But when it comes to sounding out my ideas and getting feedback that relates specifically to me and my business, I know who I’ll turn to first.

So are you inspired yet?

Karen Morris

, owner of Underground Communications, is a PR consultant and business copywriter with over 20 years’ experience in writing communications designed to grab an audience and deliver a clear message for her clients.

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