A Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain. Mind Mapping can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance.
Mind Mapping, which was developed in the 1960's by English psychologist Tony Buzan, has had equal acceptance in the worlds of business and education. In business it has been used particularly for presentations, meetings, human resource development, project planning, knowledge management and all forms of thinking, including analytical, strategic and creative.
The growth-curve since the 1960's has been exponential. It has now been confirmed that virtually all Fortune 2000 companies use Mind Mapping, including: IBM, Boeing Aircraft, Hewlett Packard, British Petroleum, UBS, General Motors, Oracle and many more.
Here are 9 ways to consider using mind mapping for your business:
1. Create an information dashboard for access to resources
Mind mapping is an excellent starting point for gathering and providing easier access to key information, or resources relevant for the business.
This can be achieved through the use of a mind mapping software to aid the storage and flexibility in designing a mind map that will serve as an information dashboard.
You can connect important pieces of information, manage their interconnections, link to documents and provide brief summaries for every important piece of information.
One area in particular is the creation of a work breakdown structure (WBS).
2. Elaborate a plan for the launch of a new business
Launching a new business is a multi-step process which requires organization and awareness of all things needed to start and run a company.
Mind mapping can be used as a tool to refine and elaborate the main business idea, organize procedures, fundings, licenses and provide a draft outline for the whole business plan document.
You can appoint the business idea as a central topic of your mind map, and build upon it, by meticulously organizing all other important elements of the business plan: business description, products and services, sales and marketing, operations, management and financial summary.
Here is an example of an intuitive SWOT analysis created as a mind map.
3. Generate new ideas from a group brainstorming meeting
Freshness of ideas is always welcomed, especially when the company has adopted innovative approaches to do business and strives to be a leader by introducing original products and services.
Brainstorming for ideas or ways to solve a problem using mind maps, encourages people to come up with notions that at first may sound ludicrous, but eventually can be crafted into original solutions to a problem or boost creativity and focus, to filter interesting ideas.
Another interesting point about brainstorming with mind maps is that every member of the team can participate in the mind mapping process and share his/her ideas, elaborated with mind maps. This way all of the participants in the group brainstorming can get a visual and logical representation of the ideas proposed by others, and can easily reference to the ones that will be implemented.
4. Summarize key ideas contained in business books or articles
Mind maps can be a useful medium to transfer summaries of business books, research papers or articles.
By organizing key pieces of information, and visually documenting citations and extracts, you can create a very useful mind map and at the same time a knowledge repository that you can save for future reference or share with colleagues and associates.
5. Capture and organize your findings for new projects
Using mind mapping to plan and summarize research results, market trends and industry findings, can be a very useful technique, especially because it aids people to logically organize the research data and information relevant to the project.
All of the research data can be easily managed within a mind mapping tool and can be enriched with graphs or links that lead to external documents or resources.
This kind of research summary can serve any stakeholder or team member that will need to preview or use the findings of the research and get a clear view on the research results. You can 0rganize all market research activities and visually represent research analysis.
6. Create a detailed profile of your customer needs during a meeting
In order to create and develop a successful marketing strategy, the need to determine the ways to market deliverables to potential customers is rather a crucial point.
You can create an outline of your customers' profile by documenting information about their needs, obtained during sales or consulting meetings. You can also map out the purchasing and decision making process of the customer, and shape up a profile of the perfect customer, which will serve as your guide when marketing your products and services.
7. Develop detailed customer personas for your marketing planning
Client profiles or customer personas incorporate a detailed description of your client segments and ensure an easier understanding and envisioning of the people that will use your products or services.
A mind map holding customers' personas will help guide you through their basic descriptions and provide you with a possible preview on what will motivate them to use your products or services. Also, you can outline the marketing activities and strategies with the Marketing Plan mind map.
8. Outline and organize the content of a business report
As previously mentioned, mind maps can be very useful when serving as a visual guide to develop a concept or create a plan for a business report or technical paper.
You can also use mind mapping to present the summaries of your business reports and technical papers to key stakeholders, and provide a clear overview on the subject or topic at hand.
The mind map can be printed out and handed to the team and serve as a guideline for further development of the technical papers.
Use the Balanced Scorecard template to keep track of the execution of activities.
9. Sales account planning and management
Driving a culture that will inspire and find ways to reach customer loyalty, is another way to ensure business success.
Mind mapping can greatly aid sales and marketing professionals in providing a suitable resource for planning and management of sales accounts. You can even communicate key benefits and usage of your products or services, to potential clients, through the use of mind maps, as a visual aid in presenting related information.
Plus, you can plan effective meetings by considering the Purpose, Outcomes, Structure, and Timing.
You can download this mind map template, from the iMindQ's gallery to get started with mind mapping for your business.
Guest Author: Zoran Trajkovski is a Products Marketing Manager, working on the Seavus Project Viewer & Primavera Reader, the leading project viewing solutions for team members that need to open, analyse and print project plans. Passionate about online marketing, innovation management and mind mapping, he uses mind mapping software on a daily basis to organize, plan and present his work.
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9 Ways to Improve Your Business Performance with Mind Mapping