This post is part of the MyShingle Solos summer series which will run between June 17 and July 3, 2014.
Some of the most successful business leaders of our time all have a mastermind group. Benjamin Franklin, Ivan Misner, Brian Tracy, Walt Disney, and Bill Gates have all participated mastermind groups. I believe that a mastermind group is like having a board of advisors for your business. It is, “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony,” as quoted from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. I participate in two such groups; one with a group of civilians and another with other lawyers. If done right, a mastermind group can propel your solo practice quickly.
A mastermind group goes deeper than any networking because you’re building strong, deep relationships with like-minded business owners and/or attorneys that don’t compete with your business. You’re all ‘in this together’ to grow your own business’ and whom you can do the same. I also call this a ‘Mutual Admiration Society.’
Two Heads (or 12) are Better than One
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” Jim Rohn. Some of the most difficult decisions in life and business require thought and discussion. Having a group of professionals that are ‘in your corner’ to bounce ideas off of, or ask the opinion of can provide the necessary feedback you need to make the most well informed decisions for your business. One of the major benefits of a mastermind group is to share ideas and obtain feedback for the difficult problems that face business owners today. The group’s primary objective is to learn and grow from each participant. Thus, they grow when you do.
Business Accountability For the Greater Good
They will hold your feet to the fire because the good the whole may be dependent upon the actions and goals of each participant. It’s as much your own success as each member of the group. Loose rules are established at the onset like: no members should compete for business; timeliness; frequency of meetings; group participation; subject matter; confidentiality and goals. As an example, I started a legal mastermind group this year with other lawyers in my area who are solo attorneys I have built a relationship with. We don’t compete for business and all have our primary practice in distinct areas of the law. We started with quarterly meetings and shortly after the very first meeting of the group; referrals began flowing. We helped develop and nurture relationships with our own referral partners by introducing them to our network and helping them grow their own contact sphere. A key benefit to having a legal mastermind group made up of lawyers is the confidentiality we can share that fosters trust that can help members through difficult ethical decisions.
Throughout history, successful business leaders understood the synergy that can be achieved with a mastermind group. Lawyers, especially solos can learn from the business community and garner the power of like-minded individuals to raise the success level of their own group. If you’re not utilizing this platform to propel your law business, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to grow your practice.
Christine A. Wilton (@AttyChristine) is in private practice in Huntington Beach, California and publishes her blog at Los Angeles Bankruptcy Law Monitor where she writes about consumer bankruptcy in Southern California. She is also a nationally known student loan lawyer and author of Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy In her spare time she serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners, Orange County chapter as Vice President of Corporate Sponsors