When a female entrepreneur is ready to take her business to the next level, getting there may be as simple as creating or joining a mastermind group. Originally defined by businessman Napoleon Hill as a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose,” mastermind groups provide support, resources and accountability for partners as they work toward a common purpose.

Partners in a mastermind group meet regularly to work on their businesses instead of in them. Typically, the partners in a mastermind group come from different industries; for example, a mastermind group may comprise a doctor, a market researcher, a business coach, a mold remediation specialist and a direct response copywriter. Because their backgrounds vary, each member has the opportunity to gain fresh perspectives as well as new resources and connections from people who are facing or have faced similar challenges in business ownership.

Each member of a mastermind group brings different experience and expertise, from which the other members can learn. Also, members may decide to develop business partnerships so they can make money together, or to offer referrals and recommendations to their own connections. Finally, during each meeting, each partner makes a public commitment to the other partners about specific results he or she plans to achieve before the next meeting, which provides accountability.

While a female entrepreneur may work with a business coach to assemble a mastermind group, she also may choose a less formal route and simply identify likeminded businesspeople in her community with whom she has good chemistry. Before beginning, the partners should agree on how long the group will last (whether it’s three months or a year), how often it will meet – and when and where. Most mastermind groups have one or two in-person meetings per year, and it is possible to conduct phone meetings.

Traditionally, during a mastermind meeting, each partner has 20 minutes to discuss issues related to his or her business, and to receive feedback from the other partners. Another format allows each person one minute at the beginning to talk about what he or she has achieved since the last meeting, and one minute at the end to say what he or she plans to achieve before the next meeting, with longer blocks of time in the middle devoted to two or three members asking for feedback from the group.

In many cases, friendships formed during mastermind groups last well beyond the groups themselves – and the information traded lasts a lifetime.

Author's Bio: 

Michele DeKinder-Smith, is the founder and CEO of Linkage Research,
Inc, a marketing research firm with Fortune 500 clients such as
Starbucks, Frito Lay, Tropicana, Texas Instruments, Hoover Vacuums and
Verizon Wireless. She parlayed this entrepreneurial knowledge and
experience into founding Jane Out of the Box, a company that provides
female entrepreneurs like YOU with powerful resources, such as
educational blogs, teleclasses, newsletters, and books. Michele was recently named to the National Association of Women Business Owners national board of directors for a two-year term. Buy a copy of her latest book, “See Jane Collaborate,” which contains more in-depth information about this article’s topic, at www.seejanecollaborate.com Take your Jane assessment to determine your own business type at www.janeoutofthebox.com