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4 Traits of a Successful Business

4 Traits of a Successful Business

We all know that succeeding in business without really trying simply doesn’t happen, right? Creating a successful company requires focused effort from all stakeholders in many capacities. Most importantly, it requires a strategy for success that is adhered to by everyone involved, from the CEO down to the hourly employees. To get to this point, a company must have:

Clearly-Stated Objectives

A business should be all about turning profit, right? While this isn’t necessarily wrong, thinking that making money is the sole purpose of a business can potentially lead to disaster. Sales numbers are definitely a large part of what makes a company successful, but its marketing strategy should also be concerned with how they get these numbers.

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Members of a company need to be able to get their product or service noticed by their target demographic, as well as explain to their customers what’s in it for them. If one of these three factors is missing, the company runs the risk of failing altogether. When a company’s objectives are stated clearly and adhered to rigidly, it will ensure long-term success.

Diverse Talent

A team of any kind is made up of individuals who specialize in different areas. This specialization is necessary to the success of a company for a variety of reasons. No single person can do everything. It’d be impossible for one person to manage a business’ funding, website, inventory, and marketing strategy all at once. Also, the various employees hired to focus on these areas each bring individual talents, knowledge, and ideas to the table that will help the business succeed.

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As the head of a business, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you’ve hired each one of these specialists because of their talents in specific areas; allow them the autonomy they need in order to flourish, and your company will do the same. Bringing in diverse individuals with various specialties allows a company to focus on improving all aspects of the business, and in doing so maximizes its potential for success.

Inquisitive Nature

A company that doesn’t consistently ask questions of itself and its industry is doomed to stagnation and failure. To become – and remain – successful, a company needs to keep up with current trends (both on and offline) in order to better understand its customer base. Not only does a business need to understand its customers, but it also needs to be flexible and cater to their needs at all times (within reason). It can do this by reaching out to its audience throughout each stage of the business-consumer interaction. When a company shows it truly cares about providing the best possible service for its customer base, it will retain a loyal audience, and will also continue improving the service it provides.

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Innovative Thinking

The most successful businesses in the world didn’t wait for opportunities on which to capitalize to arise; they created these opportunities themselves. But, again, this should never be done solely with the almighty dollar in mind. Take Apple, for example. Twenty years ago, there was no absolute need to be instantly connected to friends, family, and coworkers at all times of the day; Apple and other such companies created this need.

I’m not here to weigh the pros and cons of this technological revolution. But I will point out that Apple has made it possible to instantly start a video chat with family members living on the other side of the world through their innovative thinking. Sure, Apple made a fortune by creating the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, but it did so by providing value to its customers. In creating a need that hadn’t previously existed, a company can fulfill each one of its business objectives in one fell swoop.

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Featured photo credit: Headshift business card discussion / Lars Plougmann via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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