4 Ways to Map Out Your 2017 Business Strategy

As 2017 begins, the new year brings new opportunities, as well as potential new challenges.

In order to make the most of 2017, it’s important to come up with cohesive strategies that will allow you to prepare for the best, as well as the worst.

To support you with this, we’ve created four (free!) mind map strategies to help you plan out your business progression, pre-empt potential problems, preserve collective knowledge, and hopefully, ultimately boost company or organizational growth.

1. Plan a 2017 Roadmap

It’s important that you not only have a clear vision for your company or organization, but that your team are equally clear about these goals too.

To achieve this, try creating a visual roadmap, mapping out your key goals, aims and planned steps onto a strategic mind map, which can then be shared with all employees internally.

We’ve created a strategy template for a SaaS business below, which can be edited to be made relevant to other business models.

To use the mind map, simply sign into MindMeister (or sign up free) and maximize the map via the ‘map actions’ icon. Once maximized, click again on the ‘map actions’ icon and choose to clone the map.

From there you can edit or embellish the topics to make the map suitable for your business, covering topics such as:

  • What you plan to achieve in each quarter
  • Which KPIs you’ll be focusing on (Churn, MRR, CMRR)
  • What your financial projections are
  • Which resources you require to achieve these goals
  • A competitive analysis

We recently held an ‘all hands meeting’ here at MeisterLabs and within the meeting, our Founders presented their vision for 2017, talking the team through their roadmap via the MindMeister presentation mode.

The roadmap gave a great overview of company progression so to provide your team with the same direction, make sure to disseminate your roadmap to your team, once created. One recent survey found that on average 74% of employees feel they’re missing out on key company information and news, so ensure that you make this strategy available to all staff, via a cloud-based tool.

2. Brainstorm Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing campaigns and efforts need to be both strategic and timely. In order to get started with your marketing plan for 2017, begin by planning out what you’d like to cover, month by month or quarter by quarter, with a marketing team brainstorm.

Generating ideas while mind mapping has been found to boost creativity by up to 23% so to maximize your chances of coming up with the next big idea, organize a marketing meeting to collaborate together on a 2017 strategic mind map.

Clone the above mind map to use as a template for your own marketing strategy, including topics relevant to your business. These could include:

  • Conversion strategies
  • Target customers
  • Pricing and seasonal offers
  • Positioning and PR
  • Influencer marketing opportunities

You can also include links to additional resources, such as your editorial calendar or Google sheet detailing your newsletter drip campaign.

We recently held a brainstorming session amongst our marketing team here at MeisterLabs to come up with new taglines for our social media campaigns. We shared a collaborative mind map ahead of the meeting, to which we all added our initial ideas and sources of influence e.g. existing campaigns and imagery we liked. We then projected this mind map during the meeting and each added to it in real-time via our laptops, to come up with text we’re all happy with.

Tip: This strategy can also be applied to planning growth experiments. As a team, try brainstorming ways that you could make small but influential changes to your product, service or website, in order to hopefully act as a catalyst for an improved user experience and subsequent growth.

Once you’ve brainstormed your first growth ideas, follow the tutorial from MeisterLabs’ head of Growth, in order to turn these experiments into actionable tasks, via the MindMeister and MeisterTask integration.

3. Undertake a SWOT Analysis

A vital part of your strategy for 2017 will rely on you first establishing the potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that your business or organisation could be facing this year. In order to prepare, begin 2017 by completing a SWOT analysis via a mind map.

Your SWOT analysis could include potential opportunities, such as which customers you want to be focusing on most and how you plan to tailor your service to these clients, which threats you are facing, such as emerging competitive companies or tools, and where the current pitfalls lie in how this strategy will be developed, such as existing bottle-necks.

In order to pre-empt and plan for these scenarios, try using the free SWOT analysis template below and embellish the mind map to ensure you cover the key features, goals, risks and hurdles you expect to face and overcome in 2017.

4. Create a Knowledge Map

Finally, try creating a mind map which will act as a knowledge map for the collective ideas, plans and knowledge of your team.

LiveBy, the team behind a fast-growing technology tool for real estate companies, are always looking for ways to capture the creative ideas of their team, to then streamline these ideas and decide which are feasible to pursue.

To collate all of their product information, the LiveBy team have created one very intricate mind map on MindMeister, listing every feature and every sub-feature within their product.

LiveBy’s CEO, Cory Scott, explains:

“It’s a collaborative mind map shared with every team member, so they’re able to login and add their ideas for a new feature or sub-feature straight into the map, labelling it with a light bulb emoticon so the rest of the team can spot new ideas and provide feedback.

The product mind map acts as both a knowledge map, including all existing company information on the product, and a home for new ideas. These ideas can then be discussed within the mind map and followed up in meetings, when deciding which ideas to take forward for product improvements or experiments.”

mindmeister knowledge map

Knowledge management expert, Manel Heredero, explains that it’s vitally important for teams to preserve collective company knowledge as it arises, bit by bit.

By having an incredibly intricate map where ideas for features and sub-features can be captured and assessed, your team will be able to preserve these thoughts and decide on which to take forward.

So those are our four mind maps for planning out your business in 2017.

To get started, sign up to MindMeister if you haven’t already (you can try it for free) and let us know how you get on or any questions you might have, in the comments below.