Steps in the Rapid Startup Design Strategy to Create a Viable Company (655-2)

The Rapid Startup Design Strategy Overall : Go stepwise, don't dawdle, constantly always ask yourself, " Is this a dead end? &qu...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Climbing the Entrepreneurial Mountain (650-2)

In Jumping To (False) Economic Conclusions, Austin Parker reminds his readers that changing one's pursuit is all about perspective. So ask yourself, am I blaming my situation on other people? Am I looking at others and seeing them as examples of successful change or as evidence that the challenge is so great that I will never succeed?

He also brings up the important topic "Is business good or evil?" Who wants to go into a field of crooks unless one is already crooked? Sure, there was Enron, but do you shop on Amazon? Do you use a smartphone? Who provides your news? The second perception to challenge is that business is bad.

In this blog and others, let's attack the doubt that says the mountain between you and entrepreneurship is too high to climb.

First of all, who wants to climb Mr. Everest on their own? Who would make it to the top without the Sherpas much less the folks who take you to the top, those in the base camps and the ones tracking the weather? So, no you are never going to be able to climb the entrepreneurship mountain alone, and you would be a fool if tried (and in the case of Everest, dead).

Luckily the National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants you to climb that mountain. The government is on your side. The NIH 2016-2020 strategic plan specifies a goal to “fuel the U.S. biomedical industry and keep our Nation globally competitive” (1). To achieve this aim, NIH understands that it must overcome challenges to maximize the return on biomedical research investment (2,3), and foster the transformation of health science innovation into commercial products (4). That means they are there to help you.

NIH’s SBIR program is a proven means for investigators to obtain rapid and substantial funding in a
relatively short term. I emphasize Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding due to the
  • plethora of support opportunities, 
  • ease of the process, 
  • your familiarity with academic grant writing (vs. business planning), 
  • NIH’s strong support for the SBIR program. 
Possible NIH resources include the
NIH Technical Assistance Programs including the:
In the next blog, we'll keep investigating why the mountain of life science entrepreneurship seems so high and what you can do to shink it.
References and Credits
  1. NIH-Wide Strategic Plan. Natl Inst Health NIH. October 6, 2015.
  2. Eisenstein Michael. Assessment: Academic return. Nature. May 5, 2016;533(7601):S20-S21. doi:10.1038/533S20a.
  3. Macilwain Colin. Science Economics: What Science Is Really Worth. Nature. June 10, 2010;465(7299):682-684. doi:10.1038/465682a.
  4. Wapner Jessica. Technology transfer: The leap to industry. Nature. May 5, 2016;533(7601):S13-S15. doi:10.1038/533S13a.
The image "Climbing through the Yellow Band, Mt. Everest, -May 2007" (22 May 2007, 800 × 600 [282 KB] jpg) was taken from Brian-Everest photos Photo 44 of 51 by Lloyd Smiths. This file is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


  1. Hi Brad, I enjoy reading your blogs and how you overlap business innovation and the medical field together. I think I could better understand some of the overlap if NIF and other acronyms where spelled out. Regardless, the common goal of achieving the end goal is having help from those around you that have already experienced it or have experience in the areas that you may not so you can focus on climbing the mountain.

    1. I clarified.
      National Institutes of Health (NIH)
      Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
      Yes, I think folks often think they have to go it alone when it comes to business.

  2. Hi Brad,
    For some reason many people think it is weak to ask for help, maybe that is our culture. I'll leave that to the sociologists. The entrepreneurship mountain and the business mountain are never achieved alone. If that were the case the recent iPhone 10 would not be here. What I've learned in our program is that the people who persevere and ask for help will get to the top of their mountain. It won't be easy as climbing Everest is not, but the journey can be life altering and rewarding.

    1. I blame a culture that emphasizes rugged individualism. Our image of the western cowboy sadly lives on to this day alongside the crazy concept that we can do it all without anyone else. So, as you say, asking for help is weakness. Perhaps in the Facebook era we will all be aware that it is the collective experiences and interventions that make who we are, and future involvement will determine who we will be.