We had the good fortune of connecting with Curt Bear and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Curt, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have a somewhat fascinating relationship with risk, starting with life as a farmer’s son, and including a 15-year career as a small business banker. A banker is basically a risk analyst – we make loans that have risk, otherwise we couldn’t charge for it. So, through all of my experience as a banker, I can spot risk, look for ways to mitigate it or eliminate it, insure against it, all those kinds of things. But…I’ve never arguably given risk it’s due respect, and I have very little fear. And I know that no one who never took a risk did anything of much significance in life. Though I’m more judicious than I was as a young man, I still like to ride motorcycles too fast, and I’m perfectly willing to accept the risk of a speeding ticket for the right to drive ~15 mph over the speed limit – when conditions are appropriate. But I have a fast little BMW electric car, and I’ve been driving a little too fast for most all my life – so really the risk I pose to society is much lower than the grandmother whose blood sugar is a little low and whose eyes and reaction times aren’t what they used to be. I don’t fear heights, and I left a near 6-figure salaried income to pursue a restaurant venture, which turned out to be a food truck and started a side venture that has grown into my current thing – LoCo Think Tank. My wife and I are only now getting back into the middle class financially, but I wouldn’t trade the journey for anything.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We’re the Lo-Co Think Tank – LOcal COmmunity Think Tank – or make you crazy if you don’t talk to someone about your small business – or make your spouse crazy if you ask them one more time what you should do next! Our members attend monthly meetings that act a lot like a cross between a board meeting and a support group, and find the perspective, encouragement, and accountability to take their business and life to their next level. What really sets us apart is our LoCo Facilitators. These are give-back minded business veterans, that don’t need a job but enjoy the opportunity to engage in processing challenges and opportunities with a group of growth-minded business owners. Because of their experience, mindset, and the joy and purpose they find in the role, our members get a high-class experience at a middle-income price. I think we can build an organization where anywhere we find these kind of give-back business veterans, looking for a little something to do and some walking around money – that we can help them build a chapter in 90 days – and create enduring value for them and their members in almost any community.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’re in Fort Collins, and we’re code red in Covid Nation at the moment, so I’m going to stick to the things you can actually do next week. Gotta go up the Poudre Canyon, maybe a mountain bike ride up Hewlett Gulch or Young’s Gulch – both of which are great trails and off-leash legal for those with 4-legged friends. Lunch on the patio at Mishawaka – historic restaurant and music venue – before heading up for a couple days camping and hiking in the wilderness areas around Cameron Pass and Peak. After coming down from the hills, an Air BNB near Horsetooth Reservior, and a couple of weekday days (much less crowded) on a ski boat or party boat. Mix in some mountain biking on Blue Sky Trail and in Horsetooth Mountain Park, and great jalapeno poppers at Canyon Grill – on the patio, with some hillbilly music playing. Then, since Covid Nation is lame, we’re going to pretend we can go wherever we want, and we’ll stay at Edwards House B&B in Old Town Fort Collins, have margaritas at The Rio Grand, dinner at any of Penrose, The Still, The Regional, and more, and then beer and pool at the Trailhead bar, just because. Maybe we’ll go to a movie at The Lyric too, one night and one matinee. Beers on Odell’s patio probably needs to find a place, and some ping pong at the LoCo Think Tank office.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It’s hard to name just one – our whole business model has been people giving of themselves, for less than what they may have been compensated for that effort. My biggest supporters and encouragers would be my wife Jill for the forever love, the LoCo Facilitators for the mentorship, community partners like the Larimer SBDC, Fort Collins Chamber, Innosphere and others for the support, and the many fellow members of LoCo Think Tank and community leaders and church leaders who’ve always encouraged me to follow this to build LoCo Think Tank into what it should become.