Five free tools to map your business workflows
Updated: Jan 27
Business process mapping is the visual display of the steps within a business process showing how it's done from start to finish. It supports nicely your written standard operating procedures because it provides a picture of the steps needed to bring your product or service from start to completion, including the sequence of steps that must take place.
Written business processes might be a little bit difficult to digest for people who are “visual learners”, therefore, supporting them with a visual workflow, might benefit your whole team.
Here you have a few free tools you can use to visualise your business processes:
I’ll start with one of my favourite tools: Canva. It’s a great mapping software to build your best-looking process map illustration. When creating illustrations, the web-based program is ideal: you can search for the template you want to get inspiration from, or you can look for templates to create your process map. You can create your brank kit and upload your own images to make sure that the branding is consistent, as well as use their own royalty-free image library. When training your team or presenting a new process, you can use the presentation feature of Canva.
Asana is a collaborative platform for teams, at many different levels. You can build a workflow for almost any part of your work that involves a series of steps you follow in a repeatable and systematic way, assign people to every single step and automate it. Another of my favourite tools to run my business!
If your business works with Google Workspace, another option is Google Drawings. It allows you to create various diagrams and charts with basic shapes. Aside from that, you can either use it online or offline.
You can access Google Drawings via your Google Drive. Once you are logged in to your Google Drive, you can create a new drawing the same way you create a google docs or sheets (click More and Google Drawings from the drop-down menu).
GitMind is a mind mapping and brainstorming tool for PC and mobile devices. It provides a collection of templates to help you create diagrams, including a process map. You can customise the look and feel of your process mapping by changing the font, shape colour, and other aspects of your flowchart or process map, as well as using its presentation feature or sharing your work with your team.
Creately is a collaborative diagram builder that could be used to brainstorm as a whiteboard, build a business process model and design systems and workflow, amongst others. You have a number of ready-made templates from which to pick: for marketing, education, engineering, and other fields. There are extensive shape libraries that can assist you in creating professional process maps and diagrams.
If you are currently creating your business operational procedures (or thinking about it), think about the best way to communicate the information to your team (and/or train new employees). Having a document of reference with detailed steps for a process is key for consistency and efficiency. Visuals are very helpful in this space!
Note: All the tools above have a free version but require an account upgrade to access premium features.
If your business is growing (yes, it’s not only you anymore!) and you want to start giving more structure to your business operations and have everyone in the team delivering consistent work, maybe it’s time to start creating simple operational processes and/or workflows. You can start very basic and develop/update them as your business grows.
It’s something you can do yourself, no doubt! But if you'd like to pick someone’s else brain or/and get a better idea on how to start, feel free to reach out. Here you can see all the different things that someone like me can do for a business like yours. Do what you do best, and let me sort the rest!