Matthew Arrington is the executive director and co-founder of Forte Strong, the world’s first failure-to-launch program for men who struggle to leave their parents’ home or find it difficult to become independent. Forte Strong uses a proprietary coaching model to help students find purpose and direction, guide parents and families in empowering their sons, and ultimately create a healthier family dynamic. Matthew currently resides in sunny St. George, Utah.
BusinessInterviews.com: Tell us more about Forte Strong and what it does.
Matthew: Forte Strong is a failure-to-launch company. “Failure to launch” is a young adult’s inability to leave his parents’ home. We specialize in building confident and independent young men. Our students go through a six-month program to grow, learn life skills, and discover how to be self-reliant.
The young adult men we work with are bright and talented but stuck in a rut. They experience things like social anxiety; a lack of confidence, motivation, and leadership; video game addiction; and an inability to manage their finances. It’s frustrating to both these young men and their parents, but our organization helps empower the parents and their sons as they transition into adulthood.
BusinessInterviews.com: How did you formulate the idea for Forte Strong?
Matthew: Forte Strong is the brainchild of me and my business partner, Brook Price. We saw a very underserved population of young adult men who weren’t getting the help they needed as they transitioned into adulthood. They didn’t have severe issues like drug addiction or criminal behaviors, but they also didn’t possess the skill set to become fully independent.
Unfortunately, some of these failure-to-launch young adults were being sent to programs designed to deal with more severe issues and being exposed to a barrage of negative influences as a result. We wanted to create a program that focused exclusively on the failure-to-launch population and the issues they were confronted with.
The results have been extremely positive, and the experience our young men go through is nothing short of amazing. Life is scary and intimidating for these young men, and Forte Strong is the stepping stone they need to overcome their failure-to-launch syndrome or the other issues that are holding them back from a productive life.
BusinessInterviews.com: What was the hardest part about getting Forte Strong off the ground, and how did you get past it?
Matthew: From a financial standpoint, no one wanted to help Forte Strong get up and running. Banks and other lending institutions wouldn’t give us a micro loan, even though we met all the requirements. In addition, so-called government-backed veteran startup loans (Brook is a veteran Marine) turned out to be nothing more than political lip service.
We personally bootstrapped the startup with our meager savings and with a small financial gift from the parents of a young man we’d worked with previously.
Gaining traction was also difficult at the beginning, as is the case with something as focused and innovative as Forte Strong. People weren’t aware that there was a company or program serving the specific needs of this group of young adult men, coaching them to success and independence.
BusinessInterviews.com: What sets Forte Strong apart from similar transitional programs and companies?
Matthew: Great question! First, we have a pretty specific selection process to ensure that we are working with the right young men who can benefit from our coaching. We do not work with people experiencing drug addiction, nor do we work with violent offenders, sexual offenders, or people with severe psychological issues.
Our program also mimics the real world as closely as possible. Many other programs will have everyone live at a facility, where they can be easily monitored to keep overhead to a minimum. Our students live independently in townhouses with roommates and learn how to manage their finances and bills to achieve independence.
We also don’t take away anything that these young men would have access to in the real world (cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc.). Instead, we teach them how to use the technology in their lives effectively as tools, as opposed to sources of addiction or distraction.
Additionally, our students live in a city that is just the right size. It’s large enough to provide many different opportunities — occupationally, socially, and academically. It’s not a giant, loud, and overwhelming city, yet it’s not a far-off retreat in the wilderness or in a sleepy town with limited opportunities. Our students are in an environment where they can apply and put into practice the skills they are learning. Students get jobs they are interested in and that they have worked to secure. They are able to make their own adult choices and learn from mistakes while being given a sufficient amount of structure to support their progress and fall back on if they need to “reset” themselves.
BusinessInterviews.com: Where do you see Forte Strong in the next five years?
Matthew: We see ourselves continuing to spread the word about failure-to-launch syndrome and educating parents about the unique problems and solutions facing this boomerang generation. Everyone knows of someone — a brother, son, grandson, or neighbor — who is failing to launch. We want to address this specific issue and continue to pioneer the science behind independence and what it means to be a man today. We also see ourselves being able to reach more of the millions of young adult men and other boomerang kids who are living at home, stuck in a rut and feeling hopeless.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the business values by which you run Forte Strong?
Matthew:First off, we are very passionate about what we do. We believe that building more independent, strong men is our calling, and we are always excited to see the positive change that our unique approach has on our students.
Everyone involved at Forte Strong is also first and foremost a mentor, meaning that our personal lives must be in line with our Forte Strong values if we expect to have a positive impact on our students. We believe that everyone should be able to feel empowered by becoming truly independent. We also try to create a win-win situation with everyone we work with. Too many businesses operate under the premise that if I win, you lose, or if you win, I lose. Businesses should strive to create strategic alliances and partnerships that can benefit both parties. We seek to align ourselves with people and companies that follow this.
BusinessInterviews.com:What kind of advice would you give to other business founders trying to launch their company?
Matthew: Get going, and be tenacious. You don’t need as much as you think you do to get your business started. Find a mentor to coach you in whatever area you need help in (marketing, sales, distribution, etc.), and work on something each day. It will take patience to get where you want your company to be, but if you’re consistently working on your business goals, it will all come to fruition. Persistence pays off!
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