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Every entrepreneur dreams of striking it rich in a very big way. I know I did when I pursued running my own lawn care and snow removal business more than 20 years ago. As entrepreneurs, we chase a dream we are passionate about and dump every ounce of our being into making it a successful reality. The truth is, it’s much more difficult than we imagine it to be at the outset. It’s simple to get lost in the minutia. The most important lesson I have learned in these 20 years in business is this: Entrepreneurs cannot go it alone and expect to be wildly successful. It was through co-creating and maintaining a “mastermind group” that I learned this difficult lesson.

Four years ago, I needed help learning how to equip my business with office systems and procedures that would allow me to scale to $5 million in sales and beyond. I attended a roundtable event where all of the participants were seeking to understand how to capitalize on their strengths and expose their weaknesses in an attempt to overcome them and grow.

It was at this event that I was lucky enough to meet two other individuals who share my passion for business and drive to succeed. It was not until about two months after I returned home that I realized the impact these friendships would have on me and my business. We became our own mastermind group.

Our group meets twice a month using screen share technology to discuss our businesses. We support one another through our willingness to both provide and accept constructive criticism and positive feedback regarding business progress. We brainstorm together and help one another set realistic goals for the future.

Finally, we host on-site meetings three times per year at our respective businesses to uncover issues and help with day-to-day operations and planning. It is through true commitment, honesty and mutual respect that we are able to help one another improve the quality of our business and our personal lives.

As entrepreneurs, we chase a dream we are passionate about and dump every ounce of our being into making it a successful reality.

I began to rely on my mastermind group to help me make the changes I wanted for my business. This group of professionals acts as a peer advisory group; we help each other set realistic goals and practical timelines and then hold each other accountable for achieving them. The group members constantly remind one another to remain flexible enough with executables and timelines to allow for adaptation to fluctuating market conditions. The group requires constant communication of changing expectations; we discuss the changes and document them to assist with accountability measures. Finally, we are constantly collaboratively problem-solving and helping each other think bigger.

Joining and sustaining a successful mastermind group means having the ability to trust the members. Honesty is the first step in building this trust. Each member must be willing to be honest when looking inward, as your business will be exposed for what it really is. At the same time, members must be honest when sharing outward about the reality of others businesses.

My mastermind group has quickly learned the process of peeling back the layers in everyone’s operations - service offerings, staffing, pricing and even the owner’s ability to run their own company - can be seriously intense. We have helped group members make tough decisions and drastic changes in their operations which have often become catalysts for growth.

Because trust is of utmost importance, the group has fluctuated in size over the years. Although we have accepted and dismissed members from the group if there is a lack of willingness to be honest and truly commit to the process, the core group has always remained the same for the values we share. Being a member of this group is the best thing I have done in all my years in business. I have come to rely heavily on the communication, support and positive peer pressure this group provides me. The insights I have gained from the diverse members have single-handedly helped me grow my operations and my capacity as a business owner.

I now know there is nothing better than having a support group to help you deal with the daily grind of being an entrepreneur. If you can handle a little peer pressure, seeking out a mastermind group could be the best investment you make.