Running a business is not for the faint of heart. In the beginning, there’s a temptation to do it all yourself. But as your company grows, you may discover it’s impossible to be everywhere at the same time. Even though you’re growing you feel like you’re losing control. You may be saying things like:
“We can’t keep up. Sales and marketing are taking up all my time. I can’t focus on the operational issues that are affecting my business.”
“We need more staff, but where should I add them? Which jobs should I fill first?”
“I think we’re ready to expand into a new city or market, but I don’t know which one(s).”
“Money is coming in but I’m not sure where it’s going. I should be seeing increased profits that match the increased revenue, but I’m not.”
If this is you, you are ready to Thrive! Our program for second-stage companies will get you over the hump so that you can grow your company further. Graduates of this type of program typically experience a 15% to 30% increase in revenue.
We’re here to help.
The Department of Commerce has partnered with the Edward Lowe Foundation to offer Thrive!
Based on the foundation’s highly successful System for Integrated Growth (SiG)℠, Thrive! gives you access to experts, analytics and best practices that are usually only available to the largest companies.
Armed with this new-found knowledge, you’ll be able to address those vexing internal and external issues that have been impeding growth. These issues can be related to sales and marketing, human resources, accounting, finance and operations, supply chain management, international trade, succession planning, customer prospecting and more.
How does Thrive! work?
We know you’re busy. That’s why we do most of the work. Your part in Thrive! will take about eight hours of time over the course of four to eight weeks and your involvement is via phone or our secure online portal.
STEP 1: The Needs Assessment Call
Once you are accepted into the program, a team leader will schedule a 1 to 1 ½ hour Needs Assessment Call with you. The goal is to clarify the challenges your company is facing and identify what’s needed to remove the roadblocks to further growth.
STEP 2: Scope of Work
Based on the needs assessment, your team leader will formulate a scope of work for you to review. Once you’ve reviewed this, a SWAT Call will be scheduled for you to meet with the Thrive! team.
STEP 3: SWAT Call
This call is with the selected SWAT Team of experts. The goal is to more fully understand your current business practices and potential areas for growth and to define the specific tasks and deliverables. At this stage in the process, some companies reach a point where they can complete the process on their own. More often, they choose to go through the rest of the Thrive! program which is really the secret to the program’s long history of success.
STEP 4: The Go Ahead
At the end of the SWAT Call, you can give the team the go-ahead to start work on the agreed upon assignments. They will then perform the necessary research on your behalf. They will work behind the scenes to provide analysis on a range of topics such as core strategy, market dynamics, qualified sales leads, innovation, operations, finance, human resources and temperament. This involves approximately 33 hours of SWAT Team time. An online portal will keep you apprised of their activities and provide you access with all the program’s documentation.
STEP 5: Presentation Calls
Once all the research is complete, each assigned specialist will meet with you via phone to review their deliverables. You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions, go over the materials and ensure you have a solid understanding of their findings. During the last 15 minutes, you’ll receive a debrief to assess your engagement and overall satisfaction with the Thrive! process.
If you wish, you can add an aftercare program to Thrive! At specific intervals in the ensuing months, the team leader will check in with you to see if you’ve been able to act on the intelligence the SWAT team provided, provide additional clarity and answer any questions you have.
The ideal second-stage company for Thrive!
- Private, for-profit companies that have been operating in a Washington State community for at least two years.
- Employ between 6 and 99 employees.
- Have both an appetite and aptitude to grow.
- Provide products and services beyond the local area.
What are the benefits of going through the program?
Thrive! allows you to:
- Identify market trends, potential competitors and unknown resources.
- Map geographic areas for targeted marketing.
- Improve decision making, core strategies and business model through competitive, actionable intelligence.
- Increase visibility in search engine results, track websites, blog and online communities to understand competitors as well as current and potential programs.
- Assess and align staffing, achieve financial mastery and address operational or supply chain issues.
- Engage in international trade activities.
- Address issues related to strategic planning, succession planning and disaster resiliency.
Is this the SBA's T.H.R.I.V.E. program?
No. While both programs help senior executives take their business to the next level, Commerce’s Thrive! program is an individualized series that address the specific needs, challenges and opportunities of a high-growth business, often referred to as a gazelle or second-stage business.
The SBA program can be accessed here and has specific registration windows as it is a six-month course.
How much time do I need to commit?
We know you already have your hands full so we do a lot of the work behind the scenes. Your participation will require about 8 to 12 hours of your time over a period of four months. All of your interactions are via phone or our online Thrive! portal.
Who is on the SWAT team?
You’ll be working with a team of private-sector experts from around the country who are well respected in their selected fields. Each has been thoroughly vetted by the Edward Lowe Foundation. They search as a virtual consulting team for your company, allowing you to focus on running your business while they do all the research and diagnostics.
What are some of the deliverables?
- Identification of critical industry trends, current and new competitors and implementation of underutilized resources.
- Enhanced visibility in new media and web traffic, including improved search engine rankings.
- Improved tracking of digital information and online communications to improve knowledge of customers and competitors.
- Improved operational efficiencies related to human resources, finances and other internal issues.
- Timely data that can be used to shape core strategies and future decision-making in order to better respond to the dynamic market encountered by the business.
The total cost of the Thrive! program is $4,680.
Steps 1-3: $1,680 (Commerce pays for this)
Steps 4-5: $3,000 (the business pays for this part)
Aftercare: Businesses have the option to purchase an aftercare component at the close of the program.
Ready to apply?
Got a question? Please email us or call us at (360) 490-1950 or (509) 220-6048 and we’ll get back to you.
Thrive! Success Stories
Scratch and Peck Feeds
Marketing an innovative line of Certified Organic, Non-GMO animal feeds, supplements and treats, the company was looking for strategies to expand its customer base as well as its distribution channels. Thrive! showed them how. Read the Case Study.
As they prepared to launch a new product, the company’s management team wanted to make sure that they had the right focus while meeting customer needs during a global pandemic. Read the Case Study.
Bite Me, Inc.
Deborah Tuggle operates two all-natural, organic cookie companies: Friday’s Cookies, a gourmet line, and Bite Me! Inc., which provides baked shortbread cookies and frozen dough balls for baking. Read the Case Study.
A Lacey-based planning and engineering firm, SCJ Alliance entered Washington’s second-stage program in June 2016. Read the Case Study.
Washington Vision Therapy Center
The Yakima-based company, which generates more than $1 million in annual revenue, entered the program looking for help with expansion efforts. Read the Case Study.