Mindmap: work creatively and visualize ideas [inkl. Free tools]

Whether it is for finding the business idea, the first thoughts on the business plan or to-dos for a project: A mind map can help to structure all these things. At the same time, mind maps also stimulate creativity and thus help to further develop ideas of any kind.

We present the creativity technique mindmap and three free tools that help you with the graphical preparation of a mindmap in more detail.

What is a mind map at all?

A mindmap is a form of representation for ideas, tasks or concepts that revolve around a central theme. The core topic is placed in the middle of the graphic. Individual strands of thought are arranged around. Related aspects are connected by lines. The result is a kind of tree, which symbolizes a mind map. mindmap) symbolizes.

Fields of application for a mindmap are for example:

  • To-Do-Lists
  • Protocols
  • Project concepts
  • Notes (e.g.B. during a phone call)

A mindmap serves in all these cases as a framework to sort thoughts. Especially for founders there are numerous occasions in which a mindmap can be used in a meaningful way. For example, the business idea or the financing of your company can be an occasion for this.

Mindmap: Fields of application for founders

If you are looking for a business idea or are currently working on one, a mindmap can help you with this. For example, write your idea in the middle of a sheet of paper and create a mind map around it by adding all the factors you need to consider. So for example: Legal form, name, financing, legal, marketing, sales, products, employees etc. If you brainstorm in general, you would place all loose ideas around the word business idea, for example: Freedom, own cafe, financing, bureaucracy, fulfill dream etc.

You could also use a mind map for the overview in terms of financing to become aware of which options you have already considered and which ones might still come into question. Branches within the mindmap could be like this: Debt financing and equity financing. Other points could be the house bank, K funding, family, etc. read out loud. Around these fields you then place arguments for and against this kind of financing – you keep the overview and maybe additional ideas come to you.

So nowadays a mindmap is also used for big projects and steps: The organization of an event, the structuring of the business plan or even the further development of the team can be represented by mindmap.

What does a mind map actually do??

A mind map is very clear and creates structure, which at the same time creates space in your head for new ideas. At first glance, a mind map is a visualization technique, but often the visual representation can help you to understand things better or in a different way. In general, pictures help us to stimulate creativity or to remember things better.

How to create a mindmap in four steps

Creating a mindmap is straightforward and requires little material or preparation. All you need is a large sheet of paper (ideally A3) and different colored pens. The creation of the mindmap is done in four steps:

  1. The core topic is written down in the middle of a blank sheet – ideally in landscape format (usually highlighted by a color or bold).
  2. Around the word or. The key terms that belong to this core topic are collected around this topic. Strokes connect them to the topic in the middle of the mind map. The order is not relevant.
  3. The key terms can be starting points for further branches of the mind map.
  4. Colors and shapes (Icons o.a.) can contribute to the clarity of the mindmap.

An illegible handwriting or artistic inaptitude does not have to be an argument against a mindmap. A mindmap can also be created with the help of a computer: Either with one of the common programs like Word or Powerpoint or with one of the following tools, which help to visualize a mindmap.

Free tools for the visualization of the mindmap

There are numerous free and paid tools that help you visualize the mindmap. We have tested the following three mind mapping tools and can recommend them to founders for getting started with mind mapping.

#1 Tool for creating a mindmap: MindMeister

Source: Screenshot of MindMeister (own creation)

MindMeister is the product of a Munich company. Within a few minutes, you can see through the system and get started. No matter if notes, links or files, color or shapes: Everything can be easily customized or. import.

In the free version, however, you cannot save the mind map as an image later, and it is only possible to create up to three mind maps for free. If you like this trial version and if you want to create more than one mindmap, the full version might be worth it. Depending on the package it costs between 6 and 15 Euro per month. With the paid version it is not only possible to create unlimited mindmaps and save them as an image, but also to work on them in teams.

  • By the way: MindMeister also convinced us in the points variety and modernity.

#2 Tool for creating a mindmap: Coogle

Coggle is comparable to MindMeister, so it is simple, functional, versatile and easy to learn. The main advantages over MindMeister are that you can create unlimited diagrams in the free version and download them in different formats. However, from the second mindmap on, the mindmaps are no longer private, but visible for the Coogle community. So the tool is not really suitable for internals. However, the publication can be avoided by using the full version (5 to 8 US dollars).

Coogle is a bit more playful compared to MindMeister. For larger mindmaps, however, the tool is quite suitable, because it is difficult to lose the overview: The mindmap can be moved easily. Colors and directions of the strands are automatically assigned differently (but can be adjusted if necessary).

  • Worth knowing: For Coogle a registration via a Google account is required.

#3 Tool for creating a mindmap: Mind42

Source: Screenshot of Mind42 (own creation)

Mind42 is a tool from Austria. Creating mindmaps with Mind42 is free of charge for an unlimited period of time. But the tool contains advertising within the mask (not when saving the mindmap). However, we personally found the advertising unobtrusive in the test.

Otherwise Mind42 is simple. However, we didn’t miss anything in terms of functions: You can add images, icons, colors or links to the individual terms – just like with the other two tools. Collaborative work via email invitation is also possible. The file download is offered bspw. offered as PDF or in JPEG/PNG image format.

  • Note: Mind42 is completely free for the user – an upgrade, as with the other two tools, is not offered.

Conclusion: which tool is suitable for founders?

All three tools offer basically good and (up to a certain degree) free functions. All three tools are also easy to use. If you can do without gimmicks and need a simple mindmap quickly, you should use Mind42. For extremely extensive mindmaps Coogle is in our eyes very well suited. If you create mindmaps more regularly and can invest a few euros per month, you will benefit from the modernity and full range of features of the full version of MindMeister.

The most important things about mind maps at a glance

Basically, a mind map is a pictorial representation of your thoughts. Arrangement of words that form around a main theme. A mind map helps to stimulate creativity and to structure projects, ideas and thoughts. Even for founders there are numerous applications for a mindmap, for example a new project, the business idea, the structure of the business plan or initial thoughts on financing. There are tools that help you to clearly arrange the pictorial representation. These are free or inexpensive and easy to use.

Brainstorming in advance can help you find the content for the mindmap. Learn more about effective brainstorming.

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