Christopher Allen talked to his wife, Melissa, and decided to start a business. They had both worked for non-profits. And they both knew the challenge of promoting a good cause with limited resources.
That's where they knew they could step in.
In August 2013, the husband-wife duo put their like-minds together and launched AKA Social Media
—an online marketing firm specializing in social media and email marketing. Their goal, Allen says, is to empower small businesses and nonprofits to reach their full marketing potential through a mix of social media and other communication tools.
"Our target market is businesses with fewer than five employees," says Allen. "And there are a lot of those in Greater Lansing. We're reaching out to insurance agencies, retail locations, coffee shops, that kind-of thing. So I guess you could say we're starting small."
Working from a home office, the two began offering services in training, social media management, email marketing and website design. Within months, the Allens had built a steady clientele that prompted them to seek out the start-up expertise of East Lansing's Technology and Innovation Center.
They also brought on an additional family member, Joe Rabideau, to assist with new business development.
"We were drawn to the TIC because of their support system and connections that can help us move forward," says Allen of their January 2014 move to the TIC. "It's a great group of people building that base for entrepreneurship and start-ups."
Allen says his immediate goal is to continue to build his company's services and profile, and to become a go-to resource for social media marketing.
"In the type of economy we're in, social media offers a lot of advantages to small and local businesses," says Allen. "When you're working with a small budget, you might not be able to afford billboards and radio, but you can reach your target market with social media without as much of an investment."
Source: Christopher Allen, President, AKA Social Media
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor