Every business starts with a business plan!

Every business starts with a business plan

Every business starts with a business plan!

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I believe we’ve all been asked the same question since our childhood; we might even still hear it now.  Back in elementary school, a group of 8-year-old kids were talking about their mighty plan for their exciting, unknown future. It was an age that you can be anything or anyone before the reality steps in. Scientists and astronauts are some of the most popular “grown up” jobs children hope to have. Being a president of a country or being a ninja is not impossible either.

I wanted to own a food truck and sell popcorn chicken with boba tea because my mom said I could make a lot of money and be my own boss. If my goal didn’t change, I guess what I meant was to become an entrepreneur!

Every business starts with a business plan.

You’ve already had your Eureka moment! Now your next step is to build a comprehensive plan that leads you the way. Starting a business and making it sustainable is always a long journey, while  plans can never catch the changes. Your plan may evolve as time goes on. Therefore, building a business plan with mind map tools helps you to layout your idea and to organize them as a guideline for you to follow. Here’s an example of retail business plan template for you. Download this template for free here.

Retail business plan template using MindMaple

Retail business plan template using MindMaple

Some tips when creating a business plan…

1.     Hide/Expansion details: Creating a business plan with mind mapping software helps you see the big picture; you will always come back to the core value of your business as the plan changes along the time.  You can always click the + button beside the subtopic box to expand the detail.

 2.     Task scheduling: MindMaple allows users to schedule add memo to the tasks and on the side panel. You can also put down task priorities and task completion icons to keep tracking the task progress.

3.     Collaborating with partners: Share your business plan with your business partner(s) and modify the plan simultaneously in-real time! Best of all, it’s always wise to have a back-up in cloud database like Google Drive.

What is your business idea? Do you have a plan yet? Download the free template and start your plan today!  Good luck with your future endeavors and enjoy MindMaple!

Don’t have MindMaple yet? Download for free here!

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Learn a New Language with MindMaple!

Integrating new vocabulary in your native language can be difficult on it’s own, but adopting a foreign language can often seem like an insurmountable goal. The diction, the pronunciation and the conjugation! Oh my. It can all be a bit overwhelming. Whether you enroll in a foreign language course or are learning with a software like Rosetta Stone, practice is absolutely crucial.

Using MindMaple to quiz yourself on new vocabulary can help you adopt the language much faster. Use the expand/hide function to review terminology and quiz yourself. Click the image to expand, and follow the link below for the template.

Use MindMaple to help learn a new language

Download our Learning Spanish template here.

Contest winner – Understand your brain with mind mapping

Congratulations to Ken Shapiro, the winner of our recent mind mapping contest. He is the recipient of the prize $250 Amazon gift card.

We received many great entries for this contest, but we were especially inspired by Ken’s map, which truly shows the creative value of mind mapping. Ken has faced (and is still facing) some serious challenges. In his own words:

“I am a relatively young man of 42 who — after having brain surgery to remove a large cerebral aneurysm approximately 20 months ago — suffered a stroke which has left me with extremely limited use of my left arm and hand, as well as the need to walk with a cane. Fortunately, I have retained cognitive function but do find my thoughts scattered and at times difficult to express clearly.”

Mapping the human mind

Our minds are so complicated; constantly awash in new thoughts and sensations from moment tomoment; able to shift from frustration to joy in a matter of milliseconds. We ourselves are completely baffled by their workings of our own brains. We have trouble breaking habits, making decisions, or pulling ourselves out of a bad mood.

Ken’s map is extraordinary because it conveys in a single image the complexity of the human mind. Joy and gratitude are present side by side with anger and anxiety. Distinct thoughts feed into one another in a network. Powerful abstract emotions are connected with the actions of day-to-day life.

Hope and Anxiety

Ken’s aspirations are listed under the topic “Hope.” Certainly our goals and aspirations depend on our hope for the future, and they provide us with hope during times of difficulty. However, Ken has also drawn an arrow connecting “Aspirations” with “Anxiety.”

Aspirations and anxiety? At first, I didn’t understand this connection. But as I thought about it, I realized Ken’s connection contained a perceptive insight into my own mind. It’s true that my aspirations have caused anxiety for me before: sometimes they seem overwhelming or impossibly challenging. Other times I forget my reasons for pursuing them, or wonder if I am wasting my time.

Of course, just because my aspirations can be intimidating at times doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable and worth pursuing with vigor. It’s part of the human experience to have a mix of emotions that may even appear contradictory at times around a particular subject of importance.  Ken’s map helped me to see that.

Mind mapping and self-knowledge

With a single arrow, Ken’s map communicates a deep insight into human experience. His map contains many other insightful connections as well.

Our thoughts are often connected to one another in ways that are difficult to see until we make the effort to step back and look carefully at our habits and histories. As Ken’s map shows, mind mapping can be a valuable tool for this process. Perhaps by mapping our thoughts in this way, we can learn much about ourselves and make better decisions.

That’s part of why mind mapping is so exciting. We can turn the power of mind mapping to any topic, and it helps us make new associations. We form connections between concepts we had never considered before. When we let creativity take control and no longer hinder our thought process with structures and expectations, we can find new solutions and ideas.

Learn more about Ken’s story at his blog, http://semi-colon.blogspot.com/.

Enter Round 2 of the contest!

MindMaple is sponsoring a second mind mapping contest. To enter, make a mind map of your favorite book you’ve read recently, and send it to office@mindmaple.com by September 1. Learn more about the contest at the MindMaple website.

Design Options in MindMaple – Episode 1

MindMaple offers users many ways to customize their mind maps. In this post, we’ll make a map that illustrates how you can customize the colors and design of your maps.

There are various preset color themes you can use for mind maps in MindMaple Pro (a limited number of themes is available in MindMaple Lite). These can be accessed by selecting “Format” on the top ribbon, and selecting “Theme Color.” This will initiate a drop-down menu from which you can select a number of colors, and create your own color theme if you wish.

What if you want to make a map that will be visually unique? Let’s imagine you want to make a mind map about the colors of the rainbow. It’s hard to imagine a situation in which you’d need to make a map like this, but it provides a good illustration of how to customize your maps.

Here’s how your map will look starting out:

Let’s liven up this map! Right-click the main topic, and select “Format Topic” (or hit the shortcut Ctrl + 1). From this menu, you can customize a number of features about your topic. For our main topic, let’s select the “rainbow” from the “Preset colors” drop-down menu.

Rainbow is a “Gradient fill,” but you can also use solid colors to customize your topics, as well as images or textures. For a gradient fill, you can choose from a number of gradient layouts, including linear, rectangular, and radial. Radial creates a curved effect that matches well with the rainbow pattern, so let’s choose that.

Our main topic still has an orange border, which looks strange juxtaposed with the rainbow. Let’s change it to a thin black border. Select the topic, and enter the “Format Topic” menu (by right-clicking or hitting Ctrl + 1). Select “Line Color” from the menu on the left, and select “Solid line” choosing black as the color.

While still in the “Format Topic” menu, select “Line Style” from the left menu, and decrease the Width by 1 point. Our map will now look like this:

Now let’s get started on the individual topics. Select the “Red” Topic and enter the “Format Topic” menu. Select “Solid fill” and choose a red color. Then select “Line Color” from the left menu, choosing “Solid line” and a darker red color for the line.

Let’s get a little bit more detailed and give the red topic a gradient fill. In the “Format Topic” menu, select “Fill” from the left menu, then select “Gradient fill.” Underneath “Gradient stops,” you should see a drop down arrow next to the words “Stop 1.” Clicking the arrow shows there are currently 4 stops (you can add or remove stops). For each stop, you can choose a different color to add to the gradient. By adjusting the “Stop position” bar for the each stop, you can control where each color will fade into the next color. Try experimenting with the various settings to see what you prefer.

Let’s increase the text size to make it more visible, and change the font color to white over the darker backgrounds. To do this, highlight the text you wish to change and click the “Style” tab on the top ribbon. Then change the text font, color, size, and other options.

Now let’s change the branch shape to let us show off more colors! Select the central topic, and click the “Style” tab from the top ribbon. Clicking the arrow next to “Branch Shape” will show a drop-down menu from which you can select a number of branch styles. Let’s select “Tapered Curve.”

To change the color of an individual branch, select the topic attached to the branch and click the “Style” tab. Click the small arrow at the bottom right of the “Branch Style” box on the ribbon to open the “Format Branch” menu. From here you can customize the branch shape, color, and style.

For one final touch, let’s change the shape of the topics. Select all topics (Ctrl + A is a handy shortcut), select the “Style” from the top ribbon, and select “Topic Shape” from the “Topic Style” box. A drop-down menu will appear, from which you can choose a number of options. Let’s select “Oval.”

Our finished map!