Back in the early 2000s, the now trendy footwear brand TOMS was just an idea, and the founder, Blake Mycoskie, was being laughed at by multiple investors with his proposal of one-for-one business model, which means that for every sale the company made, it would give one pair back to kids in developing countries.
Struggling to raise any money or gain any traction, Mycoskie could have easily taken the advice that hundreds of people had given him, which was to go down the traditional apparel business model route. Instead of that, Mycoskie stuck with his idea of rooting social impact and philanthropy into the heart of the business.
It might seem like an obvious move today in 2019, considering a lot of brands are integrating social good into their overall business strategy, but in 2006, giving half of your inventory away seemed like an alien idea—a huge risk. It was a risk that paid off handsomely for Mycoskie. Not only has TOMS become one of the biggest shoe brands of the past ten years, but it also paved the way for large corporations to allocate a portion of their profits to a positive cause.
Like Wayne Gretzky one said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
To be successful, you sometimes have to explore the unknown to really find out how far you can go, and it’s evident that these five companies had to go against the status quo to accomplish everything they have accomplished. The biggest risk is taking no risk at all.