When your head is a mess full of ideas, listen to “Where is my Mind” by the Pixies.
Just kidding. To organize your ideas, I recommend using a mind map.
Mind maps are a fun exercise where you write down your thoughts and group them into topics. This can help you improve and visualize the performance of your business. Or, identify the perfect Chipotle order. Kidding, again.
In all seriousness, whether you’re the type of person who has a million ideas a day or you’re sifting through feedback from a massive planning session, a map mind can help you make sense of it all.
This type of map helps you see the connections between each idea and get a better overview of your project or company as a whole.
But that’s not all. In this article, I’ll explain why mind maps are crucial in business. I’ll also provide templates you can customize and show you how to get started with Venngage’s mind map maker.
Click to jump ahead:
- What is a mind map?
- 4 reasons to use a mind map business plan
- 6 ways to use mind maps in your business
- How to design a mind map in 7 easy steps
- FAQs about mind maps for business
What is a mind map?
A mind map is a type of diagram that connects related ideas or topics in a non-linear fashion. In other words, the main idea is placed in the middle of the map, with subtopics branching out from it. Like a giant spider web. Or, for the arachnophobic, a map of the metro in Paris.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a mind map. You can use them for anything from project planning to brainstorming to note taking. The sky’s the limit!
Why is mind mapping important for business?
Planning and prioritizing the right ideas is key for the success of any business. Mind maps can help you do just that. Whether you’re a freelancer, startup founder or corporate employee, creating a mind map is a simple way to organize your thoughts and ideas — and figure out what matters most.
Mind mapping can also help you come up with brand new ideas. Ironically, you never know where the map may take you. You might just find your next big revenue-generating idea. By looking at the big picture, you can see how your ideas fit into a strategy for growth or innovation.
4 reasons to use a mind map business plan
Let’s dig deeper into the benefits of mind mapping:
1. Boost productivity and creativity
When you have a lot of ideas floating around in your head, it can be hard to focus on just one thing. This is where mind maps come in. By organizing your thoughts into a mind map, you can reduce the time spent brainstorming and increase productivity.
In addition, mind maps can help kickstart your creativity. You’re literally thinking outside the box when you create a mind map. By visualizing the connections between a central theme and related concepts, you’ll often uncover brand new insights and perspectives.
2. Develop critical thinking
As a business leader, making good decisions at a company level is a big part of your job. And critical thinking is, well, critical for good decision making.
Creating a map mind is like forcing your brain to think critically. To scan all of the available information, spot patterns and trends, and come up with relevant solutions.
Simply put, using the mind mapping technique helps to develop your critical thinking skills, so you can make decisions quickly and effectively.
3. Enhance memory retention
In addition to organizing your thoughts, mind maps can help you (and your audience) remember the information that matters most. This makes them a great tool for presentations or pitching new ideas to clients.
The key here? Your mind map should be visually appealing and easy to understand. (No Word doc maps please!) By using colors, images and icons, you can make your mind map more memorable and improve retention.
4. Improve team collaboration
When you’re working on a project with a team, mind maps can be a great way to get everyone on the same page. By sharing your mind map with your team, you can ensure everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.
Better yet, try brainstorming a mind map with your team to get diverse perspectives. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.
6 ways to use mind maps in your business
Mind maps are multi-functional. Remember how I said there are endless possibilities? Don’t worry, I’ll stick to six. Here are a few mind map examples to help you think of ways to use these visuals in your business:
1. Project planning and brainstorming
One of the most popular uses for mind maps is project planning and brainstorming. For example, the mind map below shows different content marketing strategies that a company could invest its resources in.
Through concept mapping, you can get a better overview of a project and see how all the different pieces fit together. Once you have this ten thousand foot view, it’s easier to identify roadblocks or opportunities in your project planning process.
This makes mind maps a great tool for product managers, too. What features should you build next? What steps need to happen? What roadblocks might you encounter? Put it all in a mind map to capture every angle. Your team will think you’re omniscient!
2. Meeting management
Sounds exciting, right? Bear with me. You can also use mind maps to help manage your daily meetings, and most importantly, jazz them up. Whether you’re creating a meeting agenda, taking notes or recording ideas, using a mind map is more visually engaging than a spreadsheet.
You’re still keeping all your important information organized in one place. And since this type of visual helps with retention, that information is more likely to be put to good use.
Here’s a fun mind map template you can work on. Customize the colors and fonts to match your branding and add the meeting topic to the center of the map to provide a visual cue as soon as everyone hops on Zoom.
3. Organizational chart
Rethink your top-down organizational charts. A circle is friendlier, don’t you think?
With a mind map, you can organize your team members by department and easily see who’s responsible for what task. Show hierarchy by grouping managers in the first branch and their team members in an adjoining brand.
In the following basic example, you can see how the Corporate Communications team branches out into eight sub-units. This also helps team members see how their work fits into the bigger picture and have a clear understanding of their respective roles.
4. Marketing personas
Marketing and personas go hand in hand. And so do mind maps! Before tackling your typical persona template, consider starting with a mind map. When you’re creating a marketing persona, it helps to map out the different demographics of your target audience as well as their needs and wants.
5. Improving customer experience
The best companies put customers first. Full stop. But sometimes, it’s hard to get a holistic view of the customer experience. Enter the mind map. By organizing feedback and insights in a mind map, you can visualize themes and figure out how to improve the customer experience.
Try this exercise once a quarter and see what crops up. You may be surprised by what type of feedback is most prevalent.
Edit the template above to map your customer insights and group similar comments under one category. Doing this will help you see patterns in your audience’s behavior, which you can then use to improve the customer experience.
You can also use mind maps to track customer satisfaction over time. Try color coding feedback as positive or negative. It goes without saying that tuning into the customer experience can help you build stronger relationships and drive more growth for your business.
6. Website design
Building a website is a massive project with many moving pieces. To account for all these pieces, you guessed it, a mind map can help. By mapping out the different components of your website, including the layout and structure, you can better understand how they fit together. Not to mention, make sure nothing falls through the cracks. The end result? A more user-friendly and appealing design.
Here’s an example of a mind map for website development. If you’re planning out the content of your website, I recommend starting here!
How to design a mind map in 7 easy steps
Are you itching to try your hand at a mind map? Full of ideas for how to use mind maps to improve your business? (Idea: Maybe that could be your first mind map?!)
Then, let’s talk creation…
1. Define the central topic
If you’re working on a project, your project name or goal should be the central idea. You can use a general phrase like “Product Development”, or you can get more specific. For example, you could use the name of a product or service itself and plot out all the features you want to include.
The following example focuses on the strategy of design thinking and the steps to apply it to a business.
2. Create branches for your subtopics
Once you have your central topic, start linking related ideas or concepts by adding branches from the central topic. This can include different tasks, ideas and strategies you want to explore.
As seen in the example above, you can add one idea or multiple ideas within a branch. Try bolding keywords and incorporating images to make your mind map easily digestible.
You can also use color coding. This technique reinforces connections between subtopics and makes it simpler to identify themes.
3. Let your ideas flow freely
Allow your ideas to flow, and don’t worry about making them perfect! The goal is to get all your thoughts out of your head and into the map, so don’t hold back. You can always go back and refine your map later on.
4. Define keywords
When doing business plan mapping, it’s a good practice to include keywords and definitions on each branch, so you’re not overwhelming your readers. This can help with information retention, and make it easier to find relevant information.
Here’s an example of a mind map that shows different marketing trends and strategies within each trend. With this type of formating, marketers can easily see which strategies they can implement for their business.
5. Design and finalize your mind map
Now that your mind map is ready, it’s time to make it look presentable. And even, professionally designed. With Venngage’s mind map maker, you can create a thoughtfully designed mind map in a matter of minutes for free.
Note: some of our mind map templates are free and some require a small subscription. Creating a Venngage account is always free… so feel free to give it a try!
Venngage has hundreds of templates you can customize to fit your needs. You can add text and different colors to better organize your information and make it visually appealing.
You can also add icons, shapes and images to your mind map. Visuals help break down complex topics and make your design more engaging. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
6. Present a mind map business plan
If you’d like to present your mind map to your team, you can share a live link with them. (That means, if you make a change to your mind map after sharing the link, your team will still see the latest version. Handy right?)
If you’re collaborating on a mind map, you can also share an editable link with your team, so they can leave comments and add their ideas in real-time. Or, if you prefer a copy to go, you can save your mind map as an image or PDF.
7. Keep your mind maps for future reference
After presenting your mind map, save it for future reference. (Future you will thank you!) In Venngage, you can organize your designs in folders and refer back to a mind map any time. You can also duplicate a mind map to save yourself time on future designs.
FAQs about mind maps for business
What is a mind map summary?
A mind map summary is the next step after creating your initial map. The idea is to take the important information from your mind map and organize it in a new text document. By doing this next step, you’ll get a better sense of the bigger picture while condensing the crucial facts for your business.
Can you create a mind map in Word?
You can create a mind map in Word by using shapes or their SmartArt graphics. You can style your information by selecting the fonts and colors you want. You can also resize the branches and make them as big or as small as you like.
For more design flexibility and efficiency, you could also try Venngage’s advanced mind mapping tool for free.
Can you make a mind map with PowerPoint?
Yes, you can make a mind map with PowerPoint as well. Similar to Word, mind maps in Powerpoint can be made using SmartArt diagrams. Alternatively, you can insert shapes and text boxes to build your mind map.
Again, for a more efficient approach, Venngage is a good alternative.
Show off your business brilliance by creating mind maps with Venngage
Our minds work in mysterious ways. But a mind map can help you unravel that mystery and showcase your best and brightest ideas.
To recap, I love a good mind map because they help me come up with new ideas, solve problems efficiently and work with my team effectively. And that’s just for starters.
So whether you’re planning a new marketing campaign, creating an organizational structure or mapping out business processes, mind maps can help you get organized, and ultimately, achieve your business goals.
Sign up for Venngage today to start creating mind maps that will take your business performance to the next level.