Every successful business idea was a whacky idea once

Whacky ideas. The very phrase invokes Dr Seuss or maybe Caractacus Potts from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But when you think about it, every successful business idea was a whacky idea once.

Henry Ford famously said that if he'd asked people what they wanted when he was building his first cars, they would have said 'faster horses'. And Apple's Steve Jobs had little time for focus groups, believing instead that most people don't know what they want until they see it.

All whacky ideas have every possibility of becoming mainstream, subject to three things:

1) They must be physically possible ie we don't need to break any laws of physics to get them to happen. (even this might not be an insuperable barrier)

2) It must be possible to deliver on the promise. If the customer experience doesn't live up to the promise the idea won't last long.

3) People must know about them.

In fact, of these three things, only one is really a killer... number 3. Laws of physics do get broken very occasionally (Newtonian ones anyway) and sometimes people think a badly delivered service is 'cool' and stick with it, despite what otherwise might be regarded as a 'bad experience'.

But... and it's a big but... business people with whacky ideas often don't do anything about number 3. Sometimes they spend a huge amount of time perfecting the product/service when they could have got out the door with it much earlier, perhaps in a more basic, but functional state (see Lean Startup Mentality). Sometimes they just don't think to promote it, or think they haven't got the budget to do it properly.

Interestingly, the whackier the idea, the more likely it is you'll get a ton of free promotion from the media.

So - keep going with the whacky ideas. Make them as whacky as possible. Then launch and, most importantly, spread the word. If it works, great! If not... next!

PS if you need some help with whacky ideas, particularly of the marketing/promotion kind, get in touch!

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chitty_Chitty_Bang_Bang_replica_(5963389038).jpg