May 22, 2022


Fine Art Of Business

Mastermind groups think rich, grow rich together

3 min read

Want to take your business to the next level? It could be time to join a mastermind group

Napoleon Hill coined the term “mastermind group” in his 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich,” inspiring generations of business people and entrepreneurs. Hill took the inspiration from Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate who gave his mastermind group much of the credit for helping him build his billion-dollar fortune. 

Mastermind groups — also called peer groups — are designed to help people navigate entrepreneurial or career challenges by using the collective skills, knowledge and experiences of others. Hill described it as “a friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”

Reed Wilson, CEO of Palmetto Technology Group, an IT services company in based in Greenville, says even if Hill’s words are almost a century old, they are just as relevant today. 

“As an entrepreneur, you don’t really know what you don’t know,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to get around folks who have walked my mile, and get some feedback from them. Then there is reciprocity.”

Wilson has participated in mastermind groups for 12 years, and says his company has grown approximately sevenfold in that time. “I put a large portion of that growth to being around other peers who were experiencing some of the same challenges,” he says.

“If you find you are weak in persistence, surround yourself with a mastermind group.”  – Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich” 

Unlike the one-on-one benefits of mentorship, mastermind groups allow executives to hear multiple perspectives and experiences, and also allow people to play the role of both mentor and mentee. 

Groups are typically 10-12 people and can focus on different areas, from accountability to brainstorming to financial advice. The purpose of the group can be broad — growing your business — or can zero in one specific area, like digital marketing.  

Terry Palma, formerly CEO of Multi Channel Media and now publisher of Powdersville Neighbors magazine, started a mastermind group several years ago with a friend who lives in North Carolina. They meet with other executives once a month to discuss what is working and what isn’t, as well as sharing challenges. 

Palma has been in groups that require a large fee to join as well as those that are free, and says each offer their own benefits. “The one I paid for, having access to those types of people, the level of what you are dealing with grows,” he says. “I got value out of meeting those people, having successful people on speed dial.”

Wilson pays to participate in a group supported by coaching company Evolve, meeting every other week online and then once a quarter in person, and he says the expense more than pays off. “I’ve built my leadership team largely based on that peer group,” he says, after members encouraged him to hire a COO and CFO. 

A recent study by Dun & Bradstreet for Vistage, another company that manages peer groups, found that businesses led by a CEO in a peer group grew annual revenue by 4.6% in 2020, while comparable businesses saw revenue decrease by 4.7%.

The experience has been so valuable to Wilson, he funds participation by other members of his staff, including his CFO and service manager. “If you’re serious about growing your business and investing in employees, it costs us to have multiple people participating in them, but the return is pretty great,” he says.

Mastermind groups think rich, grow rich together

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