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Our minds are not linear. Researchers have discovered that our minds prefer to work based on association. They connect every idea, memory or piece of information to tens, hundreds or even thousands of other ideas and concepts. Each idea, memory or fact is connected to others in a gigantic map.

There is a software tool, called a mind map, that allows you to structure information in a way that mimics exactly how the brain functions, connecting radiantly rather than in a linear manner. Mind map software allows you to capture your ideas in a visual layout and express connected thoughts with lines and colors.

This is an excellent tool for a small business owner. You can use Mind mapping to organize large amounts of information, combining spatial organization, dynamic hierarchical structuring and node folding. It can extend the concept of mind mapping by allowing individuals to map more than thoughts and ideas with information on their computers and the internet, like spreadsheets, documents, internet sites and images.

Have you ever seen or worked with mind map software? It might be worth your time. In a business, it can be used in many ways and to improve the efficiency of many tasks.

  • Improve efficiency of taking meeting notes
  • Plan and manage small projects
  • Goal and priority setting
  • Problem-solving.
  • Preparing for a hiring interview
  • Fine tune a Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Organize a trade show
  • Plan an office party
  • (and much, much more)

 

FreeMind

FreeMind is the one I use. It is free, and since it is written in Java, there are versions that will work on Windows, Mac and Linux. You can get the most recent version 1.0.1 from CNET.com. Here are two mind maps created with FreeMind. I use them to creating training courses.

Mind Map Training Coiurse

Mind Map – Training Course Template

 

Mind Map - Online Security Course

Mind Map – Online Security Course

Coggle by Google

If you are a Google fan, there is a mind map extension to Chrome called Coggle. Collaborative mind mapping: Real-time brainstorming, add images, Drive support, save mind maps as PDF, Image, .mm, text.

Coggle comes in three versions – Free, Awesome, and Organization. The free version allows you to create unlimited maps, so it should be good enough for your needs. The commercial versions come with features like presentation modes and unlimited private mind maps.

Caggle is free. In Chrome click on Menu then Settings. Click on “Extensions”. Search for Caggle then install.

XMind

Based on open source software XMind offers both a free version and two paid versions; XMind Plus and XMind Pro.  Extremely helpful for business elites, XMind offers Business Charts, Presentation Mode (jazz up your business meetings), Gantt View and useful templates. You can even take notes then save to Evernote.

XMind works on Windows, Mac and Linux. You can download a copy from http://www.xmind.net/

Mind Map Add-On for Microsoft OneNote

I have written about note taking tools in previous posts and for the user inclined toward Microsoft, you can’t beat OneNote.  There is a free Mind Map add-on to OneNote that allows you to use Mind Map as well as the other existing type and draw note taking already in Microsoft OneNote.  I have tried it on my laptop and it is fantastic using it in tablet mode and touch screen.

Final Thoughts

Using Mind Map software is a perfect tool for analyzing your small business and organizing your thoughts. You can visually display all of your options to help you make better decisions. Whether you are planning a new marketing campaign or writing a book, the job can be simplified and enhanced by using a Mind Map as your workspace. The unlimited expansion of ideas and the radiating nature of the nodes will keep you organized and in control of the whole picture.

Download a Mind Map software of your choice and give it a try. Let us know how it goes by leaving a comment below.

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