What’s the key to building a breakthrough, massively successful business, especially one that helps solve a major challenge facing the world? Come up with a radical, crazy, innovative, disruptive idea.
But that’s only half the battle. As an entrepreneur, though, having a radical, crazy idea isn’t always easy. You will encounter naysayers. You’ll face challenges. You may have to spend years, if not decades, putting in the hard work before your idea takes off. You’ll have to figure out where to get funding from and how to rally people around your solution.
But—and here’s the truth, based on my experience as an entrepreneur and investor—despite how tough having radical, crazy ideas can be, they are also the way to achieve major breakthroughs. So, don’t be scared by your crazy ideas!
Instead, once you’ve determined whether your idea is viable (and I’ll show you a simple way to do that), keep going until you get your first breakthrough. Stay agile and resilient, and be prepared for your crazy idea to lead to something big. That is how you solve the world’s biggest problems, and how you create a breakthrough business.
A Disruptive Way to Clean Up the World’s Oceans
There are many examples of entrepreneurs who have come up with disruptive, innovative ways to solve some of our modern-day problems. Take Boyan Slat, for example.
On a diving trip to Greece when he was 16, Slat saw more plastic bags than he did fish. It was immediately clear to him how huge the plastic problem is, and he knew it was getting worse every single day. He also knew that the solutions that had been presented fell short.
When he returned home to the Netherlands, Slat dreamed of cleaning up the world’s oceans. But he didn’t just dream about it—this young super-entrepreneur did something about it. It took more than 7 years, but in 2018, Slat’s company, The Ocean Cleanup, launched their first system to collect and reduce the plastic in the world’s oceans.
The idea that a teenager could fix the plastic problem was crazy. But Slat stuck to it, and in the process, he was able to secure millions of dollars of funding to build a solution: a system that traps plastic accumulated by the oceans’ currents. His resilience and commitment allowed him to keep moving forward, until eventually his innovative, radical idea became reality.
Slat is just one example of how a radical, crazy idea can lead to a major breakthrough. There are many others, and in almost every instance, they followed the same broad process that Slat did: identify a huge problem, come up with a crazy idea to solve it, then keep moving—unwaveringly—towards their vision until they finally achieve a breakthrough business.
Use the 4 Ts to Determine if Your Idea is Viable
At this point, you may be saying, “Sure, that all sounds good, but once I come up with a radical idea, how do I know whether it’s worth pursuing, or if it’s just too crazy to be viable?” To answer that question, you can use what I call the four Ts.
The first T is technology. Does your idea utilize radical, disruptive technology? Or is there a way to combine existing technologies in a new, breakthrough way? Next, consider traction. Is there a real, viable market for your idea? Are their potential customers willing to pay for your solution? Because you can have a great idea, but unfortunately, if nobody is willing to pay for it, you won’t be able to build a business off that idea.
The next T is team. Do you have the right people to bring your idea to life? On top of that, do you have the right organization for your idea—in other words, do you have adequate funding, the right plans, and so on? Finally, you need to consider the timing: is it right for your idea? You may have a fantastic idea, but if you’re too early, the market won’t be ready. If you’re too late, nobody will buy your solution because they will have moved on to something else.
By considering the four Ts, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your idea makes sense and is viable. If everything checks out, you can confidently proceed with your big, crazy idea, and keep persevering in the face of any challenges or obstacles that arise.
Keep Going Until You Achieve Your First Breakthrough
Once you’ve validated your idea, you will need to keep moving forward until you achieve your first breakthrough. This requires internal and organizational resilience, because it may take years.
However, once you have your first breakthrough, things generally start accelerating very quickly. At that point, you can prove to the world that your radical idea wasn’t so crazy after all.
Once you have your first breakthrough, take some time to take stock of your business model and plan. It may be necessary to pivot a bit so you can scale your business and your solution. This requires agility and more resilience, because you may need to change the technology you’re using or how you’re commercializing your product.
Remember, you are working to change the world and build a breakthrough business, so stay focused on that. Your solution may need to go through several iterations before you perfect it, but your reward for remaining adaptable and agile is that your idea and your business start to really take off.
Prepare for Your Idea to Take Off
Once you achieve that first breakthrough and pivot if necessary, things usually start accelerating very quickly. As exciting as that is, you and your team need to be prepared.
What does that mean? In order to keep up with demand, you may need to hire a lot of people rapidly. Your production may need to scale up significantly, because orders will probably start coming in at a rapid rate.
The bottom line is that you’ll need to find a way to keep up with demand so you don’t lose the forward momentum and acceleration you gained after your first big breakthrough.
So, even before you reach this point, start thinking about next steps. Get a plan in place for how you’ll handle exponential growth. Make sure you know how you can appropriately and realistically scale, especially if things take off. By getting prepared, you can ensure that your business stays viable and fulfills the vision you had for it.
You Can Change the World
The problems the world is facing call for far more radical solutions than the conventional approaches of the past. They require big, innovative, crazy ideas that lead to major breakthroughs. And, just as importantly, they require trust and commitment from the entrepreneurs who come up with them.
So, if you have an idea, don’t be afraid of it. Use the four Ts to validate it, then go all in. Be resilient in staying the course as you work to bring your solution to life. Embrace your radical idea! Trust me: the world needs it.
Fabrice Testa is an exponential thinker, innovator, serial tech entrepreneur, business angel investor, trusted advisor, public speaker, bestselling author, and highly sought-after mentor. He has successfully founded, co-founded, or participated in the launch of multiple companies that created hundreds of jobs and generated multimillions in revenue. He is the creator of the Superpreneur Blueprint framework and has developed a set of cutting-edge strategies and tactics that enable super-entrepreneurs to materialize crazy ideas, build breakthrough ventures, and solve the world’s biggest problems. After helping more than 100 companies excel in their fields, Testa is making this proven methodology publicly available in Super-Entrepreneurship Decoded to help super-entrepreneurs everywhere transform our lives—and the planet.