New start-up hopes to help Lansing's small businesses succeed

Growing up, Justin Jackson always knew he wanted to own his own business. When he started college, he got a job in a coffee shop and slowly watched it fall apart. "It was a small operation and I watched it quickly run itself into the ground." Jackson says, "I couldn't believe that a place with such good food, coffee, and atmosphere couldn't make it work." So he became obsessed with figuring out where they went wrong.

And he learned a lot. "As it turns out, there's a lot more going on in a coffee shop than making espresso and muffins." Jackson explained. But what are all those things, and why do so many small business owners struggle to meet the growing demands of their businesses? It's a dilemma that Jackson and his brother, Josh, have found the solution for - a business that helps other small businesses succeed.

Hoplite Marketers is a start-up located in REO Town that the Jackson brothers co-funded, along with a small group of other MSU grads and professionals. They're a mix of business students, artists, engineers, and IT professionals, who all bring a unique skill to the table. "Our mission is to help small businesses do what they do best." Justin explains, "Bakers should bake and salespeople should sell. The rest we will be able to do."

Hoplite offers the skills and services that other small businesses need to succeed. Whether it's mobile-friendly web design, blogging, photography, business cards, t-shirts, or a social media presence, they've got you covered. In the future, the company plans to expand their services to include accounting and bookkeeping.

Josh covers the finances and manages the day to day operations, while Jackson views himself as a jack of trades. "I started off doing all of the design work" he explains, "But now my job has become much more about growing the business and leading the team. Together we have the perfect mix of creative and analytical skills."

The rest of the group works together to design and build websites, print t-shirts and business cards, run the social media platforms for their clients, and provide tech support. It's an integrated operation with a skilled and well educated team, which allows them to offer services that most small business owners simply don't have the time, or the skill, to navigate.

So if you have a small business here in the Lansing area, and you need a hand marketing your product or getting your name out there, check out Hoplite Marketers. They currently offer a $50 marketing bundle that will get your small business off the ground, along with a number of of other customizable packages. So you can do you, and forget about the rest.

Source: Justin Jackson, Owner, Hoplite Marketers LLC
Writer: Sarah Hillman, News Editor, Capital Gains

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