What’s on Your Mind?
Are you having problems structuring your grand ideas? Do you want to bring clarity to your strategies regarding your startup? Are you unable to pen down your fantastic thoughts?
Have you thought of using a mind mapping tool?
“Mind mapping is a technique based on memory and creativity and comprehension and understanding, so when the student or a child uses the mind map, they are using their brain in the way their brain was designed to be used, and so the mind helps them in all learning and cognitive skills. It simply helps them in what the brain does naturally”. Tony Buzan
Mind mapping is a very useful tool that has been effectively used since it was first introduced by Tony Buzan in the late 1960s. The mind mapping concept is very old, with evidence of use by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century and Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century. The mind mapping technique enables you to record your thoughts on paper (replaced with a computer in today’s environment) in a pictorial/graphical form, thereby bringing clarity to your thoughts and much more, as Tony Buzan says “…provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain”. In the article “Tony Buzan reflects on the growth, evolution and future of Mind Mapping”, he states that probably all Fortune 500 companies are using mind maps (the link to the article is mentioned in the references). The list of companies includes, IBM, Boeing Aircraft, British Petroleum, General Motors, Walt Disney and so on.
You may have very complex ideas buzzing around in your brain or different problems that are driving you crazy. Mind mapping is your answer as it coordinates all your mental abilities of word, image, number, logic, rhythm and colour etc. and helps you to record it in a creative and productive manner. It can be used as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making and writing. Quite some time back, while dabbling around with one of the mind mapping tools, I had created a mind map on how to create mind maps and use a mind mapping tool.
You will find numerous tools (many of them free) on the internet such as Coggle, MindMapple and Blumind that can support you in creating your mind maps. iMindMap is the official software from Tony Buzan.
“Cognitive psychology has shown that the mind best understands facts when they are woven into a conceptual fabric, such as a narrative, mental map, or intuitive theory. Disconnected facts in the mind are like unlinked pages on the Web: They might as well not exist”. Steven Pinker
A mind map is the documented version of your own natural thinking process where everything revolves around a central thought which is your main idea. With this main idea in the center, branches lead outward to key thoughts in your thinking process. From these key thoughts twigs lead to topics at a more detail level. Words, images or both may be used to label the thoughts, branches and twigs. You see a sample (Image 2) of a mind map created for an online marketing setup. You may tailor it by adding, removing or modifying some of the thoughts, branches and twigs. An important point to remember is that your mind map need not be a single-person effort. Go ahead and involve your team in a brainstorming exercise and create the mind map along the way.
Your normal tendency will be to focus on the product or service that you are creating. This is true for all entrepreneurs and rightly so as the product or service is your primary reason for setting up a startup. When you get into the mind mapping mold, you will be able to list the activities and priorities that are needed to determine the product/service and to establish its viability. It will help you to refine your initial idea to a definitive product/service that will be worthwhile for your customers. It will also help to clearly spell-out all the other activities such as fund raising, recruitment etc, that need to be prioritized. You may refer to the mind map in Eric Blue’s channel to start you off (the link to the article is mentioned in the references).
When your mind map becomes very large, you may find it confusing and unwieldy. You can tackle this in several ways. You may break it down to smaller mind maps with each key thought as the central idea in the smaller mind map. You may translate the entire mind map or parts of it into a roadmap that you can track with the help of tracking tools that are available for this purpose. Alternately, you can take the topics/tasks at the lowest level of your map, which are your actionable that you need to perform across a period of time. These actionable can be included in your yearly calendar or annual planner so that they get executed at the proper time.
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him”. David Brinkley
In your case the bricks are the collections of knowledge and other inputs that you are getting from blogs like this and other kinds of support from various sources. Mind mapping is one of these bricks. Go all out to make your startup a success by giving mind mapping a shot. You will not regret it and it will become part of your repertoire in all your business strategies.
1. Saikat Basu. 8 Free Mind Map Tools & How to Best Use Them. 2015. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/8-free-mind-map-tools-best-use/
2. Dragan Sutevski. Your Business Startup Mind-map. 2012. http://www.entrepreneurshipinabox.com/3585/your-business-startup-mind-map/
3. Eric Blue. Business Startup Information. 2008. https://www.mindmeister.com/575823/business-startup-information
4. Jenn Lisak. Mind Mapping for Productivity in Startups. 2014. http://blog.mindjet.com/2014/06/mind-mapping-productivity-startups/ Creately Templates. Mind Map to Start a Business. 2015. https://creately.com/diagram/example/hajc0hp01/Mind%20Map%20to%20Start%20a%20Business
5. Image 1 Source: http://www.biggerplate.com/mindmaps/u860364/business-plan-template-mind-map
6. Image 2 Source: http://debane.org/franck/digital-marketing-mind-map/