What do Bill Gates, Plato, Harvey Firestone (tires), Andrew Carnegie, Ben and Jerry (ice cream), Aristotle, Thomas Edison and Socrates all have in common?

What do Bill Gates, Plato,  Harvey Firestone (tires), Andrew Carnegie, Ben and Jerry (ice cream), Aristotle, Thomas Edison and Socrates all have in common?

None of them did it alone. They all were part of a group that met regularly with the purpose of helping one another attain their goals. They were each involved in a Mastermind.

In fact, I don’t know of a single person who has been super successful without the help of a mastermind.

Just as you’re more likely to drag yourself out of bed if you’re  running buddy is counting on you and you’re less likely to stray from your diet if you have to weigh in weekly with the group at Weight Watchers, having an accountability group keeps you on task.

Accountability is only one of many reasons entrepreneurs need to be part of a mastermind.

The beauty of a mastermind group lies in it’s ability to defy mathematics. You see, when you put 8 entrepreneurs in a room together, the resulting brain power is much more than the sum of 4+4. I can’t tell you why but I believe it has something to do with the way entrepreneurs thrive on challenge and problem solving. We love to share what we’ve learned to  help others achieve success.

If you haven’t been successful in launching or growing your small business, it’s likely because you don’t have a group of other entrepreneurs to brainstorm with, network on your behalf and challenge you to work towards and meet your goals.

An effective mastermind group will give you the benefit of different perspectives and share resources, tactics and connections. You’ll inspire each other and offer valuable feedback that your friends, family or employees can’t give because they just don’t understand the way an entrepreneur thinks. You need people who can relate to and give input on your unique challenges  because they’ve been there.

When you occasionally spin off course, get sidelined or distracted by too many ideas or you lose momentum because of a let-down, your mastermind will help you get back on track and regain focus.

A well-functioning mastermind will help you overcome your stumbling blocks because they are looking at your obstacles through varying lenses, bringing different skill sets from diverse backgrounds.

If you’re a solo-entrepreneur, you can’t go it alone. You need the mutual support, advice and counsel of other entrepreneurs and the guidance of those who’ve climbed the mountain before you.

Because we believe that being part of an effective mastermind group is like having your own board of directors,  Barbara Winter and I have put together something you’ll want to be a part of. Get the scoop HERE.

6 Ways you can make your small business stand out from the crowd

It’s been a week since all the hype and hoopla over Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.  So how are you keeping your small business in the forefront of your ideal customer’s shopping psyche?

Discounting your products or services is not going to gain you loyal customers. Markdowns will simply put you in a space to compete with Big Box and you can’t do that. Why would you even want to? The elements that make your small business special have nothing to do with price and everything to do with creating an experience.

Even if you don’t have a brick and mortar business, you can create a unique shopping experience for your customers so that they keep returning and referring friends to your site. Let’s say, for example, you sell handmade candles, soap or jewelry online. You can stand out from big business in a number of ways.

  1. Offer the best darn customer service on the planet.
  2. Address the customer by name in all communications.
  3. Include a card with your bio, your story.
  4. Use packaging unique to your store.
  5. Include a poem, quote or inspirational message with each piece.
  6. Show your clients appreciation for their patronage with a brief handwritten thank you note.

What are you doing to make your own small business stand out from the crowd? What special experiences are you creating to keep your customers coming back? As always, you’re invited to share in the comments below.