Phimation Strategy Group, an Ann Arbor-based management consulting, coaching and training firm, Monday launched a program in support of Gov. Rick Snyder’s economic gardening efforts.

The program targets $50 million in impact and hundreds of new jobs over the next year among Michigan’s Stage 2 small businesses.

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Stage 2 companies are those that have grown beyond the initial start-up team and are now focused on long-term value rather than day-to-day survival.

The program will provide $5 million of  training to 3,000 Stage 2 leaders and service providers, including:
* Stage 2 Insight training for management teams of 1,000 Michigan-based Stage 2 companies to learn about the unique strategy and management issues that arise in Stage 2.
* Stage 2 Accelerators training for 2,000 Michigan-based consultants, lawyers, CPAs, and other service providers to learn about the big shifts that make Stage 2 such a unique challenge for their clients.

Phimation will donate more than 75 percent of the cost of the training and is kick-starting it by making the Stage 2 Insight program free to any Stage 2 company who is currently a business-improvement client of any of the state’s economic development organizations and registers by the end of August.

More information is available at  and

“Stage 2 companies have the best combination of flexibility and resources to lead the transformation of Michigan’s economy,” said Dave Haviland, CEO and founder of Phimation.  “But nearly every Stage 2 company will tell you that they need to upgrade their management and leverage outside help.  We are committed to developing a robust ecosystem for Stage 2 companies, in Michigan and nationwide.”

“SBAM is pleased that Phimation is taking this great step forward to help advance second stage economic development,” said Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “Promoting entrepreneurship and second stage job creation is an important part of our mission, so we appreciate Phimation’s focus on creating an environment where small business job growth can flourish.”

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Phimation has packaged its 20 years of experience as leaders, board members, and strategic advisors to Stage 2 companies into affordable, accessible, and powerful training programs.  Phimation’s training focuses on the strategic shifts in thinking that Stage 2 leaders must make to be sustainably successful.

“We’ve seen the amazing power that is unleashed in Stage 2 companies when they make strategic change in a few important areas,” said Haviland. “Those changes are often quite simple, but many Stage 2 leaders need help changing their mindset because they have blindspots in those areas.  We typically experience 10 to 20 times impact when a company makes those changes, and therefore expect this initiative to have $50-100 million of impact.”

Added Jennifer Kluge, CEO of the Michigan Business & Professional Association: “The state needs a healthy ecosystem of support for small business – including associations like ours, and programs like Stage 2 Insight and Stage 2 Accelerators. We commend Phimation for making this investment in the state.”

Until 2009, Phimation was a specialty management consulting firm providing advice to leaders of select Stage 2 companies in Michigan and Ohio. Last year, the firm began developing packaged offerings that make Phimation’s expertise available in more forms, more affordably, to a national market.

In the last year, Phimation has:
* Published the Stage 2 Owner’s Manual – a multimedia reference guide, training manual, and business improvement playbook covering the unique challenges of Stage 2 small business
* Published the booklet and video Small Business / Big Shifts – Stage 2
* Launched the free Stage 2 Secrets monthly series of educational teleseminars
* Launched the Stage 2 Insight training program for Stage 2 management teams
* Launched the Stage 2 Accelerators training program for service providers focused on Stage 2 small businesses

Phimation is now expanding its partner base throughout the country.

“We believe that collaboration is the key to success today,” said Phimation COO Randy Albert. “Our packaged programs enable our partners to focus on the critical role of hands-on support, and we are working closely with them to deliver great value to their clients and to impact more companies.”

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Phimation is a management consulting, coaching, and training firm focused on Stage 2 companies – those who have made it through start-up (sometimes a long time ago), grown beyond their initial core team, and are now focused on long-term value rather than day-to-day survival. The firm specializes in the big shifts that the business, and its leaders, must make to be successful.  Phimation serves as strategic advisors to select Stage 2 companies, and has provided Stage 2 training to hundreds of companies.