Quick Tip: Organizing Ideas for Your Next Product

by Kristen Burgess
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The most valuable products that Internet markets can create are those that enable their customers to solve a particular problem. The more unpleasant the problem, the more that they’ll want a solution. Your job, therefore, is to give them exactly what they need. You may have to ““dress it up” in the form of what they want, but then as you create it, include what they need in order to get what they want.

Many information products contain only some of what is needed to solve the problems that they claim to address.

Let’s think of an offline example. Even though such illustrations may not be the best for an online information business, in this case it should make the problem more clear.

Imagine that you’re in a town that you’ve never visited. You don’t know the street names or the layout. The town has a one-way system, too, and so you can’t drive down the streets looking for the location that you want because there’s only one way to do that.

So you ask someone for directions. You’ll find, if you haven’t done so already, that most people leave out important landmarks. They only remember some of the street names. They forget about the number of pedestrian crosswalks or traffic lights. And so when they explain how to get to a location, the instructions are incomplete.

That is what happens quite often when IM-ers create their products. They leave out important steps because they’ve either forgotten, or they think that everyone knows what they are.

A way to avoid this is to get all of the information you need to teach a solution and then to identify each piece by category. The categories are no more than two or three word summaries of the information contained in the idea. It’s difficult to give you an example because the possibilities are endless. The important thing is that the category names need to mean something to you. No one else will ever see them, at least not in this form.

Once you know what the categories are, you are ready to organize them. Quite often, IM-ers will skip steps in the product creation process. They do this to save time. But if you skip the wrong steps in the name of efficiency, you’ll just have to go back and do them again later. Creating categories and then organizing them will save you a lot of time; especially until you’ve had some practice creating products.

And because you’re organizing categories, instead of sentences, you’ll find that it’s much easier to work with all of the information that you’ve gathered together.

So, make a list of all of the category names that you’ve created, and then look at just them. Then arrange them in the order that you think will make the most sense to your customers.

Then take the ideas associated with each category, and move them into the same order as the newly organized categories. When you’ve done that, you’ll be ready for the next step.

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