Mind maps are a great tool for strategic planning as they enable you to conduct all kinds of analyses and evaluations of your company, your products, and the market. A SWOT map will quickly show you strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; with a growth–share map you can get an overview of your products’ life cycle; and the Four Ps of Price, Product, Promotion and Place will help you determine your offer.
Using mind maps for your strategic planning enables you to:
- Involve all team members in your strategic planning: Everyone can contribute to the mind map simultaneously.
- Discover connections and correlations: Mind maps help visualize links between seemingly unrelated items and provide a bird’s eye view of problems and opportunities.
- Adapt as you go along: Mind maps are flexible and can easily be edited and updated during subsequent review meetings.
In this post we will walk you through a detailed SWOT analysis using a mind map and afterwards introduce you to a few other popular templates you can use for analyses. All templates are available in the MindMeister template library. You can also maximize all of the embedded maps in this article and then clone them to your MindMeister account.
Strategic Planning with a SWOT Analysis
This effective planning method helps businesses and other types of organizations evaluate their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This helps them to:
- determine whether their objectives are reachable
- find their competitive advantage
- decide on a business strategy
How to conduct a SWOT analysis using a mind map
Step 1: Get started
Clone our handy SWOT map template to your account or quickly create a new mind map with the following layout:
Step 2: Share the mind map with your team members
You can invite people via email or simply send them a secure link to the map. As soon as everyone has accessed the map, you can start the analysis together.
Step 3: Generate meaningful information for each category
Start with your strengths. Strengths are characteristics of your business or project that provide you with an advantage over competitors. Examples could be things like an exclusive access to certain resources, insider information, patents, or an in with the press.
- Write all your findings into the strength-branch of your mind map.
- Try to stick to individual keywords rather than writing whole sentences. This will keep the map from getting too cluttered.
- To add additional information to topics, use the sidebar on the right. You can add notes, links, comments and attachments to topics.
after strengths come weaknesses—basically all things that put you at a disadvantage relative to others. Examples of weaknesses could for instance be a bad reputation, a high cost structure, or a lack of patent protection.
Opportunities are openings you can exploit to your advantage, such as beneficial changes in the law, the arrival of a new technology or an unfulfilled customer need.
Threats are elements in the environment that could have a negative impact on your business, such as new regulations, the emergence of a substitute product, or a shift in consumer taste away from your product.
Step 4: Analyze the map
Now that your mind map is filled with information it’s time to analyze it and build/adjust your strategy accordingly. You can use icons or colors to highlight important factors, use arrows to show connections between internal and external features, and note down ideas that arise during your discussion.
So this is how you conduct a simple SWOT analysis in a mind map. But this isn’t the only thing you can use visual diagrams for when it comes to strategic planning. Take a look at the templates we’ve embedded below, and if you find them useful, feel free to clone them to your MindMeister account!