Mind mapping and flow charting are great ways to brainstorm and get thoughts down on paper quickly and easily and are a fantastic resource for success in small business.
Many people may not realise that there are several web applications that allow you to create mind maps and flow charts for free. Check out these seven top mind mapping and flow chart programs:
- Bubbl.us – Bubbl.us can make some great looking charts. It’s a good tool for creating charts that you plan to print and distribute. Using it is not exactly intuitive, however with a bit of playing around it’s not too hard to figure out.
- Lovely Charts – This free site can make some very attractive charts, too. It has colorful graphics and is very easy to use. It also allows you to make some really cool organisational charts. Their 90 second tutorial will explain how to get started.
- Mindmeister – This is another online mapping tool that’s very easy to use. I like that it integrates with Twitter and iPhone.
- Xmind – This application is also quite straight-forward to use. You don’t actually use it online, however. Instead, it’s downloaded to your computer. The basic version is free, or you can buy a one year subscription to the professional version for $49 (US).
- Freemind – This is another downloadable software tool that helps with mind mapping and general organisation of thoughts and tasks. It is a finalist for the 2009 Community Choice Award in the category “Most likely to change the way you do everything”!
- Gliffy – Gliffy is a great tool that is user friendly and intuitive. You don’t even have to sign up to try it out. And, in addition to creating flow charts and mind maps, you can draw floor plans, create Venn diagrams and do all sorts of other cool stuff.
- Mindomo – This program is completely online, and is a great mind mapping tool. I wasn’t sure whether to include this in the list as the free version limits you to seven private maps. However you can purchase a paid subscription for $6-$9 a month. So while the ‘free’ component is limited, I decided to include this in the list anyway as it’s definitely worth considering.
My suggestion is that you try out all these free mind mapping and charting tools and compare them for yourself. You’re sure to find one that you feel comfortable with and may be surprised by how much this can help you with all your business and personal plans and projects.