Concept Camp – Design a Life

I asked Jim Flowers, director of business accelerator VT KnowledgeWorks, this question:

What is the #1 hesitation of wannabe entrepreneurs and how does Concept Camp at VT KnowledgeWorks address that?


I’m pretty confident that we don’t meet the most hesitant ones at all.  I suppose they weed themselves out automatically. 

Our visitors much more commonly include people who are infatuated with their great ideas but have not worked through the details of their business concepts, the personal demands of entrepreneurship, or even their real motivation for considering a start-up.  In other words, they ought to be hesitant, but are not.  Our Concept Camp focuses precisely on those issues. 

We’re trying to help people reduce risk; the first step in risk reduction is acknowledgment that it does indeed exist.  Hesitant people are presumably already risk averse.  Potential entrepreneurs are typically less risk averse than the average person by their very nature and can usually benefit from structured consideration of various risk issues and how they can be addressed. 

One of the biggest risks, for instance, is that success of the enterprise will commit the entrepreneur to a life that he or she does not actually enjoy or desire.  That’s why Concept Camp also includes some work on “designing a life” as part of the process of planning a business.

If there is a common hesitancy, it is investment of the first few thousand dollars.  People seem to be much more willing to invest time than money.  That’s odd, in a way, because we can all manage to get more money.  But our time is strictly limited and hence ultimately valuable.  The only thing we can’t get more of in life is time.  So our life-time ought to be more dear to us than our money, right?  And yet we regularly see scientists spending hours/days/weeks playing lawyer or website designer or market researcher, for instance, instead of paying a few dollars for timely professional assistance.

Consider this possibility: if the business idea is not worth the risk of a few dollars, then it probably is not worth the sacrifice of irreplaceable time.

Jim Flowers
Director, VT KnowledgeWorks
2200 Kraft Drive, Suite 1000
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 443-9100

The writer of this blog, Anne Giles Clelland, is a new member company of VT KnowledgeWorks.  She will be attending Concept Camp September 17-19, 2008.  Will you come with her?

Concept Camp is sponsored by Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., a financial and accounting services firm.  For more information on Concept Camp, contact VT KnowledgeWorks Member Services Manager Lindsey Eversole, [email protected].

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