A creative approach to providing a product or service can improve the success of a small business because creativity inspires innovation. Advances in understanding the creative process bring new tools to small businesses seeking to expand their creative resources. These tools can bring systematic innovation to a business, taking it beyond rare flashes of creativity through a process allowing for a better understanding of needs and opportunities. Software utilizing mind-mapping methods give businesses a way to access and enhance creativity.
Mind Mapping and Business Planning
Business planning software can be a useful and convenient tool for the entrepreneur who is developing an idea for a business. A solid business plan is necessary to obtain financing and to transform the idea into a working model. Many of the commercially available business planning software applications, such as LivePlan, offer step-by-step guidance to take the user through the preparation of sales forecasts and expense budgets.
Mind mapping can augment the business planning effort because it takes you beyond the linear, successive method necessary for preparing and presenting financial data included in the report. Mind mapping involves a diagrammatic display of information based on a central idea surrounded by connected branches of associated topics, with subtopics stemming from the main branches.
Mind Mapping and Creativity
Most people mentally process words at the rate of 200 to 300 words per minute. However, mind mapping eliminates the barriers of transcribed thoughts through the use of visual imagery. The elimination of those barriers allows for frictionless thought organization, which accelerates the speed at which you can capture your thoughts.
Frictionless thought organization also improves comprehension. Mind mapping lets you record ideas in a faster and more thorough manner than relying on text alone. The combination of varied images, shapes, colours, and text helps to stimulate the creative process and reinforce memory retention. While the use of language relies on the left hemisphere of your brain, where logical thinking occurs, the use of images, shapes, and colours involves the right hemisphere of your brain. The resulting whole-brain involvement with mind mapping helps boost your creativity.
There is a vast array of mind-mapping software applications available for small business use. Mind-mapping software can facilitate project planning and making presentations.
- MindView 5 is available for Windows and Mac systems, both of which integrate with Microsoft Office, allowing you to import or export data from PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and Project.
- MindManager offers universal file export and connects to over 700 apps. MindManager is also available for both Windows and Mac systems.
- IMindMap 10 offers several screens for various uses: brainstorm view, mind map view, fast capture view, time map view, and presentation view.
- XMind is available as the installed XMind 8 version or as XMind Cloud. XMind Cloud for iOS extends the XMind Cloud for use with an iPhone or iPad.