solo pr pro brainstorming on own

Brainstorming for One

There is no question that there is power in numbers. Mastermind groups are a good example. As a solo business owner, though, often the only brain available to focus on a project, issue, or challenge is your own. Fortunately, there are brainstorming tools that, while designed for use in groups, can be useful for one brain.

When there are so many ideas that you can’t think straight or know where to start, mindmapping is a great tool. A mindmap is very much like looking on a cross-section of a tree from above. The trunk is the core idea—growing the business, launching a product, or whatever the goal or desired outcome. The large branches coming from the trunk are the big ideas that relate—e.g., budget, resources, marketing, timeline. The smaller branches are components of the big ideas and the twigs that emanate from these are the associated details.

One advantage is the visual layout of the map—it can be easy to see where something has been missed, or where what looked like a big idea is actually a component of another one. Rather than giving you a linear list of words, words, words, a mindmap lets you see the project as a picture and make good use of the creative side of your brain. Words, in fact, should be relatively few, with each piece of the map labeled with only a word or two.  You can stimulate your thinking even more by using colored pens for the mapping, drawing pictures to represent ideas and components, or (if drawing isn’t up your alley) cutting out pictures from publications and pasting them onto the map.

Here is an example. You are planning the launch of a new product for a client and set up a mindmap to think through and organize the initiative. The core idea, the tree trunk, is simply “Product Launch” accompanied by an image of the product. One of the “branches” coming off this core idea is “Budget Elements” with its “twigs” the expenses associated with other branches of the map. Another branch is “Press” with twigs including publications where your releases, articles, or blog posts will be placed. “Social Media” is another branch with the specific channels as the twigs.  (And so on.) With the map, you can which elements relate to each other and what pieces must be completed first.

But wait, there’s more. Digital mindmapping lets you do even more with this tool. You can brainstorm onscreen, and it is easy to move pieces—words as well as images—around and add or subtract as needed. In the example above, you can attach links to specific documents—press releases, articles, social media content—to the right twig on the map. Many tools also allow you to share your map with others, so you can get the benefit of numbers that can be so helpful. Canva and Mindmup are just two examples of digital mindmapping tools suited to solo brainstorming.

Adding mindmaps to your Solo PR toolbox can let you take on big projects without anything slipping through cracks. The outcome? You deliver your sharpest results to your clients, according to the map!

How do you brainstorm? Join the discussion in the comments below or on social media using #soloprpro.

And of course, if you want brainstorming buddies, join Solo PR Pro! Our premium members enjoy 24/7 access to a diverse group of smarties who can ignite your creativity and help you work through roadblocks!

This post was written by Trish Lambert, writer, podcaster, and communications pro. You can find Trish writing sparkling copy and dispensing strategic advice to clients at

Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash