Seven years ago, Beth Cochran started her own business, WiredPR, in Phoenix. It was her first business and to help her navigate it, she read countless business books and blogs, and sought the advice of mentors who had been through business startup.
While hiring a business coach enabled her to get out of her own way and implement processes, Cochran still found the world of entrepreneurship to be a lonely road at times.
“It was like operating in a silo,” she said in a recent interview with Small Business Trends. “I needed someone to bounce ideas off of.”
That’s when the idea for SuccessLab hatched. Cochran reached out to fellow business owners about starting a support group, of sorts, for entrepreneurs. The response was overwhelming and a week later, SuccessLab — a mastermind for entrepreneurs — was launched.
Why Have a Support Group?
“As business owners, many of us battle very similar challenges and there’s a tremendous amount of knowledge we can gain from each other,” Cochran says. “I believe every entrepreneur should have access to support like that. SuccessLab has become that resource … almost serving as as a kind of advisory board.”
“We all have developed a great deal of trust in one another, and deep friendships, too,” she adds. “The trust part is key, though. You’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable, seeking advice on sometimes personal business issues like whether or not to fire a client, how to have a challenging conversation with business partner or employee, or where to invest profits.”
A Typical Meeting
Meetings take place every other week. A member, appointed in the previous meeting, starts the meeting with a ‘biz-hack’, a cool idea, tip, or online tool that can make day-to-day business easier.
From there, each member has approximately ten minutes to recap their action items from the previous meeting and discuss a challenge they may be having.
The group then contributes possible solutions.
The meeting wraps with each member assigning themselves an action item to complete prior to the next meet-up. This is meant to keep them moving forward toward their goals. And they’re being held accountable by verbalizing it to the group.
To keep meetings manageable, Cochran recommends that the “Mastermind” group be kept to four to six members.
While a timekeeper helps ensure everyone sticks within their allotted ten minutes, on occasion if a member is having an unusual problem, protocol may be set aside to help them get through the challenge.
SuccessLab has formed two groups in Phoenix with a third in the works.
Inquiries from other entrepreneurs wanting to start SuccessLab in their communities have come in from Florida, New York ,and North Carolina, but no new groups have been launched yet.
“It’s a challenge to find the right people and build just the right dynamic,” Cochran says.
Currently, SuccessLab is focused on developing online tools to help entrepreneurs around the globe. These can be found at SuccessLab.fm. The SuccessLab podcast can also be found there and also airs on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.