Networking, business development, sales … no matter what you call it, it’s essential to growing the bottom line. Many seasoned professionals have joined C-level groups like Vistage or Entrepreneurs’ Organization to be around business owners and senior executives to share war stories and experiences that employees just “don’t get.”
I have participated in similar groups, but found in 2017 that I wanted something more specific to where I am in the life cycle of my career. I selected the top 20 business owners and thought leaders in my network and launched Triangle Masterminds.
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Many of the groups mentioned above serve an important role in an entrepreneur’s and executive’s short- and long-term development. I don’t want to take anything away from them, as they and many others are perfect for their needs. My goal was to establish a network with individuals I trust and had been building relationships with for years. I have worked hard to connect individuals with people, businesses or opportunities without personal gain for my entire professional career. That is something that was woven into the fabric of my business persona since I began my career in the chamber business.
The idea behind the group
My original concept behind Triangle Masterminds was a business advisory council for owners, senior leadership and industry vertical experts. I had a vision of the group meeting once per month to discuss business opportunities and challenges, for professional development and to shape the future of the business community while fostering fellowship among like-minded and successful professionals.
The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month for two hours. Meeting times alternate from afternoon to morning every other month. Afternoon meetings are more social, and morning meetings focus on personal and professional development. Having the social months in between the structured months encourages greater relationship building among our members.
This is not an open group. Individuals are vetted by the group as a whole, and there is little overlap in industry expertise. We do have more than one attorney, but their specialties are different.
If you’re building your own group, make sure to include members at the top of their profession with decision-making power and who are regarded as thought leaders in their area of expertise. Some of us do business together or may do business together in the future because of what we learn about one another while engaged in this group. However, I created Triangle Masterminds to be more thoughtful and intentional about developing relationships, connecting each other to opportunities and people who can enrich our lives and businesses, and to be around like-minded people driven to succeed, give back and maximize time on this sphere.
Members are encouraged to meet with other members outside of scheduled group meetings to further develop relationships. Some businesses and verticals are more closely aligned and may require more time than is allotted during our monthly meetings.
We also encourage members to bring topics of interest to the group for deeper discussion, and ideas for speakers who will aid our development as professionals. We used our first meeting to develop our top eight topics of mutual interest, so we could find experts to present on those topics.
Once you start a group like this, it is work to keep it going. Building a group should take work if you want it to be beneficial. Getting successful, busy people together once a month is a challenge in itself. However, if members are getting value out of the time spent, they make it a priority each month.
Make sure this doesn’t turn into a leads group because there are plenty of those out there. You will end up winning business and uncovering opportunity as a byproduct of developing deeper relationships. When you deepen your level of trust and help the members of your group be better versions of themselves, you find ways to create opportunity with one another.