Managing Information Overload: 4 Insights from a Business Owner
By: Miquiel Banks (Guest Blogger)
Change is upon us. Change is upon me! Umm, sorry. Let me introduce myself.
My name is Susan Martinez. I’m a local business owner in Tampa, Florida. I run a marketing consultancy based in South Tampa and, up until three weeks ago, I was focussed on handling smaller clients. But as you’ll read from my previous posts, I’ve just taken a step into the big leagues.
Just like most independent business owners, I hit a brick wall one day and was fed up with information overload. They say knowledge and information is power, but what good is it if there’s too much to handle? You get overwhelmed, and you hit a plateau of what you’re able to accomplish. So I asked a daring question. How do I get out from underneath this information overload?
So I looked around at the world we’re living in. We’re constantly inundated with data and information, which makes it hard to cut through the noise to what really matters. Everyone has access to information, but without knowing how to use it, to push beyond it, you’re just like everyone else. That’s why being creative and finding innovative ways to use that information is the way forward – the way to differentiate yourself. After my first few weeks of working with MindManager, I began to realize that mapping information is the way to cut through that noise and truly unlock your creativity. And I was able to take the leap into working with bigger clients.
After taking that leap, and discovering that MindManager was the right tool to get me there, I stumbled across five major insights about unlocking your creativity as a way to manage your information overload.
Insight #1: Break From Tradition
What good is having the same data as everyone else? The first benefit of data for the small business owner in not based on volume, but perspective.
When we use different viewpoints, different perspectives, we see more than most people. For example, looking at something in color is richer than looking at something in black and white. And that diversity allows a community – and a company – to grow exponentially instead of sticking to one, single viewpoint.
The beauty of MindManager from this standpoint is that I have both views. I can see the forest, the trees, and potential indirect benefits of information that people may be overlooking. I can view data in a new way and, using my imagination and creativity, I see opportunities. In other words, my own personal insight and the tools MindManager offers allows me to rearrange data and form new ideas that break away from tradition.
Insight #2: Follow Where the Wind is Going
Business owners are still focused on data mining and maintaining an information democracy, but that world is quickly fading. Hoarding information and trying to organize it into piles of potential will only get you so far and, likely, to a state of over saturation. We are actually moving into something of a knowledge revolution, where we are connecting and synthesizing ideas and data and creating new knowledge. That’s something that the old way of collecting data for the sake of it can never address.
With the MindManager illustration above, I can shuffle around ideas, emphasize some over others, and organize data in ways not possible before. I can easily see that no one would ever consider biking as a night-time activity, much less part of Tampa nightlife. And I would have never seen the ingenious idea of Health and Wellness activities at the Jazz House!
By generating dozens of ideas and scenarios using MindManager, I’m able to come up with new opportunities that I would have never seen looking at my old lists and disconnected documents.
Insight #3: Work With What You Have Right Now
The old way of doing things says that if you have too much information or too many tasks, you need more people to help you solve the problem. If you think that’s the best way to tackle tasks and information, I feel your pain. I was in the same boat a few weeks ago while eating lunch at Beef O’Brady’s.
I was overloaded, barely keeping my head above water and desperate for a solution. I had run the numbers before and knew I couldn’t afford an assistant. Even worse, I couldn’t see anything outside of my own, overworked sphere of influence. That’s because I was blinded and bogged down by the biggest demon in business today – disorganization.
But, luckily for me, I was about to discover a new tool that would help me enter the new age of creative information management. That new tool was mind mapping. I downloaded MindManager and, after a few minutes, I had organized my tasks, my information and my ideas. As the skies began to clear, I realized the truth – I didn’t need an assistant, I just needed to slow down, organize and prioritize. That little change in how I did things helped me get hours of my life back each day.
So, I’m going to challenge you. What benefits are you missing out on because you’re disorganized? How do you think reshuffling your resources can reveal new opportunities? How can you work with what you have right now to thrive in your business?
Insight #4: Know the Real Pain Points
The old way seems exhausting, doesn’t it? The old workers, they’re going to spend their time mining for data, hoarding data, and building a knowledgebase, never fully reaching their potential. The new workers, we’re going to go out and interact with the world, with our customers, and ultimately synthesize data with insights until we find the major pain points both within our companies, and felt by our customers. With this knowledge, we will have focus and can drill down until we understand the psychology of those pain points.
And guess what? While the old workers are still collecting data, we’re going to be fixing those pain points and delivering what our customers need, not what they think they want. And that’s the secret to customer service.
These four insights were what I used when building and delivering my award-winning presentation to the Regional Manager of Beef O’Brady’s. Next week, I’ll be talking in more depth about how I closed the biggest deal of my life, and have since become a leader in the South Tampa Community.
Want Help Managing Your Information Overload?
Tired of trying to sift through your endless amounts of information and tasks? You may be interested in a free, 30 day trial of MindManager. See for yourself how you can find new insights by creatively organizing your data!