A few days ago, I mentioned how important having a "mastermind group" is in learning internet marketing. It's one of the best ways to get quick feedback on the flaws in your marketing, and what opportunities you may have overlooked. I promised to share more about how to build a mastermind group in my next post.

First, let's talk a little more about why a mastermind group is so important.

Napoleon Hill popularized the idea of the mastermind group in his famous book, Think and Grow Rich. As he pointed out, multiple minds working together can accomplish far more than they could working individually.

Imagine this: Joe and Jim are working in the same industry, and both face two big problems, either of which is enough to cripple their businesses. If Joe finds a solution to problem A, but can't make headway on problem B, and Jim solves problem B, but not A, what happens? If they're competing and not sharing information, both of their businesses fail, or at best, limp along barely scraping by.

But what if they mastermind together? Both get solutions to both problems, and both prosper far more than they ever could have hoped to alone. Note that they could both benefit from masterminding together even if they continue to compete with each other!

It's pretty obvious...so why don't more internet marketers do it?

I can think of a few reasons. I'll get to them in a minute.

In his book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, Jim Collins notes that companies that made the transition from good to great had informal groups in place that their leaders counseled with on a regular basis. In other words, they had mastermind groups.

These groups were not boards of directors. They were not executive committees. They were informal groups that leaders gathered around themselves to build the chemistry they needed to get the best ideas.

This illustrates one of the great things about mastermind groups -- they don't have to be business partnerships, where each member shares control. The leader or business owner is able to benefit from the wisdom, resources and experience of the group without having to deal with power struggles over which ideas to implement or compromises that dilute the focus and agility of the business.

How do you build a powerful mastermind group?

The benefits are obvious, but how do you get them? There are lots of ways to get a taste of the power of a mastermind group: forums, JV network websites, social networking sites, etc. But each has serious shortcomings.

JV network sites allow members to post information about their affiliate programs or upcoming product launches, but generally don't do a very good job of helping people find the right opportunities for them, nor of helping people really get to know each other. They end up being just one more place to post an ad and hope someone bites.

Social networking sites are similar: most people build their profiles, link up with all the people they know, and then sit back and wonder what to do next.

Forums foster discussion, but the pace tends to be a little slow, and since it's all text-based, you don't really get to know the other participants as well as you need to. And forums don't tend to emphasize building connections for cooperation outside the forum. (I'll talk more about the problems of internet marketing forums in a future post).

In short, internet marketers rarely mastermind because it's hard! Hard to find the right people. Hard to exclude the wrong people. Hard to find a way to interact that fosters the chemistry that unleashes the potential of a mastermind group.

Here's how I plan to solve these problems: I'm putting the finishing touches on a new membership site that's designed from the start to make masterminding easy:

  • It'll use live video chat for the best possible interaction outside of actual face-to-face meetings.
  • It'll help you find people with the expertise you need who are near your level so that the benefits aren't all one-sided (and help you avoid those who aren't right for you).
  • You'll be able to mastermind with a variety of people till you find those who you work the best with.
  • And it will actively encourage cooperating with each other outside of the site.

If you're thinking "Oh, great. Yet another social networking profile to maintain," don't worry. I'm not interested in duplicating what other sites are already doing well -- just filling in the gaps.

Instead of asking you to re-enter the same things you've already typed elsewhere (and maintain them in yet another place whenever they change), your profile will link out to your profiles on a variety of other sites. You'll only be asked to enter information that's needed to deliver the maximum benefit from what this site specializes in.

I'll share more about exactly how the site will work soon, along with how it'll have benefits far beyond fostering mastermind groups.