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Almost every culture has a variation of the English saying “two heads are better than one.” Well 3-4 heads might be even better!
In any field, your chances of achieving long-term success will increase with strong relationships. Collaboration is the cornerstone of the business world.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll benefit significantly from other people’s (preferably entrepreneurs) ideas and experiences. These relationships will:
- Spark your own innovation and ideas …
- Provide validation that you are on the right path …
- Accelerate your action …
Self-teaching lacks the people element that fuels our excitement. It’s for this purpose that the concept of the guided mentorship program (also known as a mastermind) was birthed.
What is a guided mentorship program?
The concept of the mentorship programs, as we know it, is credited to famed author and businessman, Napoleon Hill, in his book ‘Think and Grow Rich.’ He called it a Mastermind Group and his concept of a mastermind consisted of two or more people who would share ideas for their mutual success. The concept has been built upon in later books, both by Mr. Hill and other authors, to become a sort of entrepreneurship self-help group.
Although millions of these groups exist both informally and formally, the concept has evolved. Paid and mentor-led groups are offered as highly effective options for business growth support.
Make-up of well designed programs
One of the best ways to form a guided mentorship program is to include two or three members and an experienced business leader or coach. The role of the coach is to provide a framework for learning and tools so the participants receive their intended results!
Aim to hire a professional coach who is well versed in entrepreneurship and strategy and has achieved their own business success. A business coach with training, proven tools and track record is going to influence your ability to increase your revenue and impact.
Most importantly you must feel confident that they can get you results. Price is less important than trusting they are going to be your catalyst for success.
Benefits of being in a guided mentorship program
There are many benefits that an entrepreneur can enjoy instantly by joining a guided mentorship program. The main ones include:
This is the most obvious benefit of being in a guided mentorship program. When you have challenges that you have difficulty solving in your own silo, you can rely on the group to find solutions.
Different members exchanging ideas, discussing trade-offs and experiences is a more effective solution-finding process. They more often and quickly you can articulate your current challenges, the faster you find solutions and move into action.
Action is your golden ticket in business.
2) Networking & Collaboration
No business can survive on its own, and networking is one of the most important aspects of entrepreneurship. By being part of a guided mentorship program, not only can you benefit from the group knowledge, but also from their businesses.
You might get a tip on the best email providers for your list or a social media assistant who will do an outstanding job, or even find a business with which you can partner. Even if you don’t immediately benefit from the connections you make in your guided mentorship program, those entrepreneurs might be important years later.
When you share your challenges with a guided mentorship program, you are required to update the group on how you are progressing in addressing these challenges and your business building homework (an added bonus when the group is lead by an experienced guide). This makes you accountable to the group and spurs you to work towards pushing through your challenges. Without having someone to give feedback to, you might not be sufficiently motivated to address the obstacles you face in your journey as an entrepreneur.
4) Creative Thinking
Brainstorming sessions to find solutions to your problems, and those problems facing other members of your guided mentorship program, would encourage you to become a creative thinker. Creative thinkers are more likely to find solutions that those whose problem-solving process is one directional. Developing this skill will help you flourish as a business leader well into the future.
5) Motivate Yourself
Being in constant contact with other entrepreneurs motivates you to be the best entrepreneur that you can be. Seeing the successes of others motivates you to achieve their levels of success. When you think that you have reached the achievement ceiling, seeing other entrepreneurs pushing themselves encourages you to also work harder to stretch. This is your chance to up-level!
The nuts and bolts of a guided mentorship program
What does a typical meeting look like?
A formal and structured format is required for any guided mentorship program to work. Each member needs to be allocated time to share their experiences and problems with the group.
Challenges are shared with the group, and the group suggests ways to overcome them based on their knowledge and experiences. The business coach also needs to allocate time to provide feedback, direction and training to each member.
Choosing the right members for a guided mentorship program
When deciding on which guided mentorship program to join, several factors need to be considered. The first is whether the group will have entrepreneurs from your field or if it will be open to entrepreneurs from all sectors.
If you needed more help with common goals like scaling, revenue growth and scaling your business, you can receive help from successful entrepreneurs from any industry.
If your main problems are operational they might be solved only with deep industry-specific knowledge. In that case, you’ll need to work within an ‘industry only’ guided mentorship program. Some products, for example, have very specific (and complicated) legal and regulatory frameworks, cross-border sales or supplier issues that are difficult to maneuver through. If so, get advice from industry experts.
Another question to ask is, “How mature is my business?” Your guided mentorship program should have members whose businesses are in the same growth stage as you.
Different business levels (and their common challenges)
Start-Up: A startup is a business still in its infancy (usually within the first two years). This is one of the most challenging periods for any business. Up to 50% of all startups do not make it past the first year. During this phase, your focus is on increasing your product visibility, getting a slice of the market share from more established competitors and increasing brand awareness.
Your goal here is to find your value proposition.
Growth: During this phase, a business is still relatively new in the market (2-5 years), and it is growing its market share. While some consumers might already be aware of your offers you are still fighting to entrench yourself in the market and increase your reach.
In this phase you are establishing your business model.
Scaling: At this phase, a business is established, and seeking to add something else to its repertoire. This could be adding new products or services or beginning operations in a whole new area it was previously not servicing. You know what is working and you are poised to scale it to new audiences and markets.
At this point your main focus is expansion.
Maturity: This is a business that has grown as far as it could and is in a leadership role in its industry. The main challenge is staving off the competition from newer businesses that are challenging its dominant position within a market. This is also a phase where you might be exploring expanding into completely new markets or acquiring businesses in your supply chain. You might even be considering your exit strategy.
Increasing the value of your business is what you’ll focus on here and making sure you can get your life back. Especially if you’ve been working hard for years.
Your challenges are determined by the position that your business is on the growth curve. You should include entrepreneurs that face the same challenges so that you can help each other to overcome them collectively.
Guided mentorship program or 1×1 Business Coaching
Most of the benefits that you get from a guided mentorship program could also be gained if you opt for 1×1 coaching with a qualified mentor.
But there are some differences to consider:
ONE – You can learn from the 2 or 3 fellow entrepreneurs in the group. They’ll likely have faced the same problems that you do at one time or another. They probably found creative ways to address these problems successfully.
In my guided mentorship programs, I match owners into a group of peers at the same growth phase. I am also at each and every session to guide you through the business building framework I’ve used with dozens of business owners. You’re not only receiving the experience of the other group members but also my expertise as a business coach!
TWO – And the best thing is that my Guided Mentorship Program is less expensive than 1×1 coaching. You’ll gain the benefit of more eyes on your work at less than the cost of one.
Sound amazing? Want to get onboard for my next cohort?
Contact me and we’ll set up a time to chat! I can’t wait to hear what you are working on!