Business mapping software enables the geographic visualization of your business data. Customers, competitors, prospects are easily imported and displayed against a web map. This means you can see where customers or competitors are located and compare their mappoint densities. Let’s hear it for business map visualizations!
But don’t stop there. With a little added effort you can classify your data and color code those points on the map to reflect business classification or types that are pertinent to your industry. Color coded points enhance your map’s ability to communicate key concepts.
A classification is simply a category within your business. It could be a sales account:
Small – Large – New – Legacy – House – Key – Inactive – Credit Hold – The Boss’s Account
It could be a type of product or manufacturer:
Sneaker – Loafers – Sandals – Gungaboots Nike – LL Bean – Cole Hahn – Clarks
It could be type of prospect or sales lead:
Email – Donor – Web client – Purchased list – House list – Affiliate lead
It could be a mode of truck transportation:
Backhaul – Empty – Refrigerated – LTL – Local – Deadhead
Millions of business users apply their business logic to business mapping software every day and use it to describe their business visually. Most of them use Excel spreadsheets to create classification options. Simply add a column to your location based spreadsheet with the column heading “classification” or “type” or “taxonomy” (if you want to befuddle your people and impress the new boss.)
Then list your categories. Try to keep categories limited to ten or less for any given map. You can do more if you like but make sure you are not cluttering up your business map. Make sure your spelling of the various types is consistent – otherwise you’re creating more categories.
Choose symbols that clearly identify different categories, as opposed to trying to match exact images with what the category actually is or does. In other words, rather than focusing on displaying a full truckload category as a small truck, make sure that the color and size are reflective of its importance to your business.
Always look for ways to consolidate classifications into more meaningful categories. It is less important to display all data than it is too express all key classifications. Typically the most important classifications are the revenue drivers (hot sellers, premier items) or the large investments (capital equipment, product shipments, key accounts.)
And as always, when playing with maps, don’t try to solve all problems with one map. Have fun with your map tool and become efficient at building new maps that express your business concepts clearly while moving company processes forward.
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