Two heads, they say, are better than one. When you put five or six heads together - and set them to work on a project - you’ve assembled the brainpower of a mastermind group. And if you sit them all in front of the fireplace with a cup of coffee at their local Panera Bread bakery-cafe, you’ve got a surefire recipe for success.
Just ask Shel Horowitz of Hadley, Massachusetts. A successful writer specializing in environmental issues - he’s author of the 2010 book Guerilla Marketing Goes Green -he’d always wanted to write a syndicated column filled with advice for business leaders on how to put environmental sustainability to work in the corporate world. So he turned to his local mastermind group. (Around since the 1930s, these are small, informal gatherings of people who meet regularly to share ideas and execute new business plans. The name was coined by author Napoleon Hill and was inspired by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who credited the 50 or so “Master Minds” who helped him build his business.)
Shel’s mastermind group started out a couple of years ago with half a dozen members who gathered at Panera, where lingering is welcome, coffee is robust, and free Wi-Fi is a magnet for rising entrepreneurs. “This little gathering has helped three of us grow our businesses dramatically,” he says: “One person has completely redone her website, another branched out into new territory as one of the leading experts on virtual worlds, and I’ve launched my self-syndicated column, ‘Green and Profitable.’ I think all of us would credit our group meetings at Panera Bread for helping to make this happen.”
Thanks in part to his group’s input, Shel launched his column in November 2010, and it’s already been picked up by newspapers and websites in the United States and abroad. Next on his agenda: the launch of a syndicated column for consumers, called “Green and Practical.”
Thanks to his mastermind group - plus Panera’s cozy atmosphere and endless cups of coffee - Shel is on his way to his goal of syndicating his column in 1,000 newspapers by the end of 2011. “We could sit for hours and hash out our ideas,” he recalls, “with nobody growling because we were there too long. It’s been a great collaboration - mastermind encouraged me to get off my duff and just do it.”