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Advisors seeking a new level of success are increasingly flocking to mastermind groups.

Financial advisors can learn a tremendous amount from each other about achieving great professional and personal success. One of the best ways to share that information today is through mastermind groups — formal meetings of driven, like-minded entrepreneurs and other individuals who want to boost their own success and help foster the success of their peers.

The mastermind concept goes back at least as far as Napoleon Hill, who in the 1920s defined the term as “a mind that is developed through the harmonious co-operation of two or more people who ally themselves for the purpose of accomplishing a given task.” Today, mastermind groups (sometimes called CEO groups) are designed and managed with the specific intent of enabling many entrepreneurs to reach their most important goals.

You may surrounded yourself at work by team members, but still have no one who is a true peer who deeply understands your challenges.

Mastermind groups have two main characteristics. They have an executive director who is responsible for running all facets of the group. Sometimes, the persona of the executive director plays an important role in defining the group. Also, entrepreneurs pay a fee to be members of the mastermind group. These fees are all over the place, ranging from less than $100 annually to more than $100,000 a year.

More financial advisors are leveraging these groups, driven by the growing realization that the isolation that can come with running a business can hold back the business’s success. For example, you may be surrounded by team members but have no one who is a true peer who deeply understands your challenges. Not only can mastermind groups be your antidote to this isolation, but they can also be your ticket to a much higher level of success.

Mastermind groups can deliver an array of benefits. They provide an environment in which you can learn from the accumulated experience of fellow members (which might include other advisors, business owners from other industries, or both) and group leaders. There are opportunities to test your ideas and strategies for solving challenges and pursuing opportunities. You can build profitable relationships and deliver value to other group members.

Mastermind groups enable many entrepreneurs to become more successful much faster than they would have otherwise. About four out of five entrepreneur members of mastermind groups surveyed by AES Nation say that the experience is very or extremely valuable.

These groups provide a number of benefits — both operational and psychological — to their members. The biggest operational benefits include:

1. Opportunities. Mastermind groups can give you the ability to connect with other driven entrepreneurs like yourself in ways that more typical group events (like forums or conferences, which often consist of some driven entrepreneurs along with a lot of people who just want to get out of the office for a day) can’t. At Masterminds, members commonly introduce other members to people who can help them achieve their goals. They also tend to find ways to work collaboratively with other group members to further each other’s success.Mastermind members rate the business opportunities created by connecting with other members of mastermind groups as the greatest benefit of these groups. Indeed, all said the opportunities they derive by connecting with other members are very or extremely valuable. No one said those opportunities were not valuable.

Mastermind groups (sometimes called CEO groups) are designed with the specific intent of enabling entrepreneurs to reach their most important goals.

2. Advice. Drawing on real-world business experience coupled with an ability to be objective, mastermind members can play a significant role in helping each other come up with potent, viable solutions to their respective professional issues and concerns. Often this is a function of their ability to see things through fresh eyes and introduce diverse viewpoints.

The opportunity to receive advice from accomplished peers can be instrumental in helping you profitably grow your company. All of the entrepreneur members of mastermind groups find the experience-based insight and guidance of other entrepreneurs either valuable or very/extremely valuable.

3. Education. As you become more business-savvy, you can use your knowledge and insights to make your company more successful. There are times when fellow members share their wisdom and experience with the mastermind group. Commonly, the other members of the group are experiencing problems and concerns similar to yours and dealing with similar possibilities and uncertainty.

Very often, the executive director will bring in outside experts to provide new understanding and to introduce new information and insights. Some of these external experts will probably be very “on target” for you, and others less so. Still, if they make you think, they will be beneficial.

Most successful entrepreneurs devour insightful and useful information. They are looking for ways to enhance the lives and futures of their companies and their clients. At the same time, they are interested in how to better do their jobs and how to improve their own lives. Nearly all of the entrepreneur mastermind members — 96.3% — find the educational nature of mastermind groups very valuable.

Mastermind groups also provide important psychological benefits that can have tangible impacts on profits and other quantitative success metrics. For example:

Motivation. Having other driven peers call you on your performance — in effect, pushing you to be accountable — while simultaneously supportive and constructive can be a very significant benefit for many advisors. Having your peers remind you of your goals and the bigger picture can be a forceful way to defeat organizational inertia and getting bogged down in the day-to-day.

Additionally, members of a mastermind group can provide psychological support during times of stress and setbacks, which are part and parcel of being an entrepreneur. It is almost guaranteed that you will experience business reversals, but these can be easier to deal with and work through when you have other entrepreneurs you can talk to. Who can better understand an entrepreneur than someone who has had the same experiences and challenges?

The motivational benefits of masterminds are valuable or very/extremely valuable to more than 98% of mastermind entrepreneur members. This is especially impressive when you consider that the entrepreneurs who join mastermind groups are already highly motivated to act.

Perspective. Mastermind groups are highly supportive environments built for sharing and mutual trust among members. In that environment, other members can provide useful viewpoints and viable help—making it easier to push forward. These groups are places to address questions, problems and challenges that you are unsure or unclear about. They can be places for you to experiment with ideas and concepts, as well as business strategies and tactics, to ascertain whether you should put your experiments into action.

The new perspectives that mastermind groups can deliver are seen as very or extremely valuable by close to 100% of entrepreneur members. If you are driven to accomplish serious goals and to take everything to the next level, a mastermind group—or two, as we find that some members join multiple groups — may give you the roadmap you’re looking for. That’s because mastermind groups mirror and support the success of first-rate entrepreneurship. Their substantial contributions in fostering the entrepreneurial spirit and facilitating greater achievements in business, and in life, are making them increasingly essential to those who want truly excel.

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