Is this the 100% idea?

Using our Percentage Approach To Implementation can make a once-impossible idea – well, possible. And perhaps even more profitable, faster to market, and less risky.


A business friend came to me with an idea for a radically new type of restaurant. It was a great idea with real potential.

Creating a restaurant of this type would require sophistication, skill, and money to build and maintain. Even more importantly, it would require a lot of skills he admitted he doesn’t have – and doesn’t particularly want to learn.

We captured all these pros and cons on a mind map of the idea. Making his idea a reality seemed a longer and longer shot as we went along. And yet it was – at its core – a great concept.

So I asked – “Is what you’ve described to me here the 100% Idea?” He looked at me quizzically. I explained, “Is this the idealIf I could do anything, really do it right, this is what it would look like approach?”

“Yes,” he replied.

You realize, I asked, that this will take millions in capital and lots of skills you don't have, to pull off?

"I'm afraid so," he said. And so I probed further.


“Could there be a 50% way to make this idea a reality – or a 75% version – or a 20% version?” For instance, “Do you have to be the one to buy the land, finance the entire thing, and then own and manage it yourself? Or could you just develop the concept and provide parts of it – and let someone else manage it? Or could you just license the concept? “

He hadn’t thought of it that way.

So we constructed a new map of options – from the simplest approach with the least capital involved to the 100% (where he contributed and controlled everything – and therefore assumed all the risk). We soon had 100, 75, 50, and 20% options – and brief outlines to accompany each one – allowing my friend to focus on the best ways for him (with his particular strengths, experience, and resources) to bring the idea to fruition.

While some would say that this is simple business planning, in reality it’s not always so simple for entrepreneurs and people who have a consuming idea or a vision to see their options clearly. It’s their idea. They want to own it – all of it.

The Percentage Approach to Implementation is a simple way to broaden your options, so that your great idea doesn’t fall victim to your personal or financial limitations.

By the time he left, we’d mapped out the entire idea at 100%, and then deconstructed it to only its critical parts. Now the idea could still be become a reality, but my friend had a full range of options. Can you use this technique for your ideas? Sure! Here is a sample of typical options you might have:

20% – develop the idea, protect it legally through patents, trademarks, or copyrights, market it, and license it to others who build the units and sell them for you. Probably the quickest and lowest risk option, with the lowest capital outlay and the most potential for profitability – and could play to your strengths.

40% – fabricate a prototype to test and demonstrate, and then start marketing the concept. As orders come in, make the products, install them, and get paid. Next quickest, lower risk, moderate capital outlay, and potentially profitable in a reasonable amount of time – and probably fits well within your core capabilities.

60% – much like 40% except perhaps you also maintain and manage the units for the restaurant owners. Would add a revenue stream, but also require more overhead for people and equipment for maintenance.

80% – build on the 60% concept and perhaps share the ownership or financing of the units, the technology, and even the business. Slower, more risk, requires more up front capital, and has more complicated profitability model – and might stretch beyond your area of expertise.

100% – do just about all of the above, plus come up with millions to buy, develop, and run an enterprise you may know little about, and which may have a 90% failure rate.

What’s the bottom line of using the Percentage Approach to Implementation? I think there are a least three.

  • First, a good idea doesn’t become a truly a great idea until you actually make it happen.
  • Second, sometimes waiting to execute 100% of your idea often means it never happens – usually because you’re unable to amass the resources. So if making it happen is important, you have to find another way.
  • Third, when you cut out the parts of an idea that require what you don’t have – often the true essence of the idea becomes clear.

So try taking your big idea and asking yourself – could this possibly work if we did just 60% or 20% or 40%?

I’ll bet it could.

Carl Francis