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December 29, 2015 Staff

Concession Business Mastermind: How to Find Peers for Learning and Support

Going it alone only gets you so far, whether you’ve launched your food truck business or are in the planning stages. Forming or joining a mastermind group can fill in the gaps that family, friends and business associates can’t, and it can make the journey more successful and rewarding.

Napoleon Hill coined the term “master mind” in his book Think and Grow Rich in 1937.  Mastermind groups pool the experiences and knowledge of all members to create an environment that nurtures growth – a think tank for small businesses where entrepreneurs come together for mutual support, shared resources and accountability. A group of two can work, but three to six is best.

Napoleon Hill Laws of Success Video. Approximately 2 hours in length.

Where To Find Your Mastermind

You may find your mastermind group members within your local food truck association, your commissary or simply by asking other food truckers when you meet up at vending spots and events.

If you form a new group and can not find other food truckers, think broadly:  caterers, small food producers, farmers and other business owners will complement a food trucker’s strengths and weaknesses.

Advice is the number one reason most join a mastermind group (MMG). The feeling of being alone disappears with other members’ input. The group will extend your network and multiply resources in every area of your business. You will help each other – one on one and as a group. Working through issues, towards goals and finding success are exponentially grown as part of a group think tank. The size of a mastermind group may be just a handful of business owners, but it multiplies your reach with cross-promotion, bigger thinking and by extending your network.

Mastermind group members learn from each other while offering mutual support. You can lean on friends and family, but within your group the equality and peer status makes the difference. It’s a give and take of like minded business people.

Accountability is another heavy to put on friends and family. Food truckers and others who keep one another accountable to goals can be the boost you need to move forward successfully. When someone you respect is genuinely interested in your pursuits, you work harder, are more positive, and accomplish success sooner. This nurturing environment is key in a MMG.

Where to Meet

Getting together can be as simple as a table at a cafe or a library meeting room. Maybe your commissary has an office you could use. If you are spread out geographically, digital options include conference calls, Google Hangout, or Skype.

Set ground rules, keep in mind that the success of the group is built from the success of its members. Rely on mutual respect to keep everyone in line and on task, and if it seems appropriate, choose a facilitator to steer the group.

The facilitator may be the most experienced food trucker in the group, but sometimes a member just starting out has the personality and background to keep the group enthusiastic and on track. Some groups pay the facilitator; some do not. Paying encourages commitment, but can be awkward. Frank discussions from the beginning paired with democratic action makes decision making smooth for the entire group.

Mastermind groups meet regularly. Maybe it’s late at night or between shifts, maybe once or twice a month. Whatever works, start and end on time so it’s reliable and encourages attendance and participation from all members. Some groups continue forever; others conclude after a year or two.

Things to consider for your group meetings:

• News in the form of a triumph and a failure from each member;

• A predetermined topic of discussion;

• Pressing questions from any or all members;

• Choosing the next meeting’s topic.

Some groups consider that every member has homework each time, whether this is thinking about, reading or researching a topic. Others are more off the cuff and throw out questions and help one another spontaneously. Some mastermind groups encourage members to ask for specific help from one another outside of the meetings, others keep it to the group as structure for support and help – all for one, one for all.

PassionForBusiness.com says it well:  “Your peers give you feedback, help you brainstorm new possibilities, and set up accountability structures that keep you focused and on track.”

Commit to learning from the individuals and the group as a whole for successful nurturing of you and your food truck business. Your mastermind group is as strong as each committed member of the group.

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