Lessons Learned on a Whiteboard: How Visualization Fuels Small Business Growth

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Career, Lessons Learned | 0 comments

In nearly all Crossfit gyms, you will find a whiteboard. This simple piece of “equipment” is used to display the day’s workout, the results each person achieved and to keep a running tally of overall maximum weights so people know what to strive for. This whiteboard tells a visual story of not only what happens in the gym on a daily basis, but also on a longer term basis as athletes continue to get better, stronger and faster.

Whiteboards offer easy ways for people to visualize what they are up against. They are used by far more than just Crossfit gyms to tell a story. For example, SEO Moz has their Whiteboard Fridays where they use a Whiteboard to address specific questions and challenges small businesses have regarding SEO.

Whiteboards are used as sales tools to get athletes to buy into workouts, customers to buy into products being sold and small businesses to get employees or executives to buy into a specific strategy. Through the use of a whiteboard, small businesses can fuel their own growth by telling a story of success visually instead of simply tossing ideas around and letting them get lost in the open air.

Here’s how your small business can use whiteboards effectively to help fuel your growth:

Set the Situation up for Success

First and foremost you will want to develop an initial setup on your whiteboard to set a situation up for success. In Crossfit gyms, this involves writing down the workout of the day. In your small business, this may mean writing up a statement or start of a strategy that captures the attention of your audience. What you start with on the whiteboard will give your audience an immediate feeling of what they can expect in the coming time you will spend together so keeping it enticing will add value and excitement before your conversation ever begins.

Have a Conversation instead of Making a Presentation

As you dive into your plan and new ideas, write down specific points you want the person to remember. This will feel more as if you are having a conversation with the person and creating ideas together rather than you making a sales pitch or preaching your audience. Instead, when you write down how your ideas will unfold, you create a visual representation of the story you are trying to tell. At the same time, write down what others have to say so that you can create a visual representation of the entire conversation you have had making it feel all-inclusive.

Tell a Story of Past Results

One important part of your story telling on a whiteboard should be to show off past successes. These can be written at the start of the conversation, or whenever makes most sense to what you are trying to convey. Writing down results of others helps solidify your plan visually and gives people incentive to want to try to make what you just presented work for them.

A whiteboard may seem like a simple piece of office equipment, but it plays a vital role in the way your company tells a story to customers and to each other. By reinforcing your words and ideas in a visual capacity, you strengthen conversations and can make a more lasting impression in others minds, ultimately helping fuel you toward your goals as a small business.




  1. [...] new ways to get organized. I have developed a rather nerdy love of trying new tricks, like using whiteboards or chalkboard to organize tasks, or software such as Outright or Tradeshift to organize [...]