An accountability group can help you with ideas, encouragement and support and can really help to get you and your business moving forward.
The idea is to find some people, who you can trust with your thoughts and then work together to find solutions, develop ideas, encourage each other and generally to support one another.
It’s not the same as a networking group since the idea isn’t to sell but to work together for mutual benefit.
Here’s how it works:
I really do think that a lot of people who are self employed and running small businesses could do with the concepts and the ideas that I’m about to share with you.
Okay. So what is an Accountability Group?
Well, it’s not necessarily a new idea, and some people call it a brainstorming group. Occasionally somebody calls it a masterclass, but usually master classes are led by somebody.
But the key concept is this you and a small group of others (anywhere up to six-ish people) get together on a regular basis to share ideas, to get feedback, to support one another, encourage one another in an honest, Down-To-Earth and confidential manner.
And the reason why this is good is because when you’re self employed, it can feel quite lonely at times.
You can feel like you’re on your own. This is your thing. Yes, that’s great. But we are social creatures. We are so used to spending time with people, talking with people, and every now and then it’s great to have a little bit of input into how you’re doing and what you could do better.
You see, when you are self employed and running a small business, it’s great to get good ideas. And if you really are of an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll be getting ideas all over the place. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that those ideas are going to be all that good.
So it’s great to be able to meet with people people you trust on a periodic basis and get outside input from people of a like mind.
Your employed friends might not be able to help
Now, the thing is, when you’re self employed, just sharing it with friends who have jobs may not necessarily have the mindset and the experience of another self employed person who to be able to give you proper, objective and positive input.
In my experience, a lot of people who are employed don’t get or understand the mindset of a business owner or self-employed person.
Not to say that they’re bad people, but they have not walked in these shoes. They’ve not experienced how what it’s like to be self-employed so they can’t really give you input from an experienced point of view.
Why meeting with other business owners matters
But I’ve always found is that sharing your ideas, your thoughts, your concerns, your problems with other business owners (or self-employed people) enables you to cut to the chase quicker because they get it. They understand what you’re experiencing.
If you’ve got problems, they understand how you might fix them. They can come up with input to leverage an idea that you want to do. And for many business owners, this becomes invaluable.
Now. I’m not just talking about a networking group here. An accountability group goes deeper than that.
I’m talking about a group of people who meet once every three to four weeks to get together, have a cup of coffee and really kick things around.
Making it work
It’s a good idea to take a notepad to write stuff down. But it’s also a good idea to contribute to the group with your experience and your ideas. Chances are good, some of you will end up working together on ideas or projects anyway.
But the idea behind it is to go there, talk to the group, get input and then go away and make things happen. If you’re struggling, you’ll get input. You’ll get support from people who’ve been there, done that. In many cases, if you have got an idea, you get support from people who also get ideas.
You may pick up marketing ideas, accounting ideas, organisational ideas, process ideas from people who’ve been there and done it.
Now, there are some recommended rules with an accountability group.
First thing is, everything must be discussed in confidence.
You must be able to trust the people you’re sharing with, especially if you’re sharing confidential information, especially if you’re having a hard time, especially if you’re discussing your health and potential mental health issues.
You need to be able to share with confidence that these guys are not going to be sharing it with their friends and talking to their family. No, you don’t want that. You need to be trusted and you need to be able to trust those you’re in the group with.
Another good thing that’s always worth doing is to take notes, not just on what you’re going to do, but what everyone else is going to do as well.
Because if somebody says they’re going to do something, the whole point of an accountability group is to hold them to account to it.
The idea with an accountability group is to get stuff done, bring ideas, get ideas, gain inspiration gain encouragement, go away and do stuff, but also then have the people in your accountability group hold you to account. And that means that you need to be open to be held account accountable.
And if that isn’t you, then maybe an accountability group isn’t your thing.
Now it’s okay to make notes and it’s okay to make notes with other people. I belonged to an accountability group in the UK and we always had one person making notes on what it was that we said we were going to do by the next time we met.
So two days beforehand, she took a photograph of it and texted it to everybody on our Whatsapp group.
The idea behind it is to hold everybody in the group to account for what they said they were going to do and how well they’re doing. And it means being honest with the group and as much as that honest with yourself.
It’s important that you don’t have competing businesses in the accountability group
Not to say that your competition are bad or negative, but I’ve seen it happen where people of the same business type were in the same accountability group and they’ve just stolen ideas. I’ve had it done to me.
And it isn’t funny. And that just means that you’re not that trustworthy or that that person who steals the ideas isn’t trustworthy. So find people who are not in your industry or don’t do what you do.
So hopefully that’s giving you some ideas and inspiration to go out and create your own accountability group. If you’ve got any questions, please write them in the comments below.
Want more ideas for developing your business? Check out:
9 Top self-employment tips from a successful social media marketing specialist (article and podcast)
Working on your business – what it means and what to do (YouTube video)