Traverse City, Michigan
“I needed a lending partner that understood my business model and could finance it. Because I had worked with Northern Initiatives on the tourism campaign, they knew what I needed and how to get it done.” – Jonathan Campbell, owner of Lake Effect Associates
Lake Effect Associates in Traverse City, Michigan was founded by Jonathan Campbell in 2013. It is a digital strategy company focusing on two industry sectors: recreation tourism and nonprofit organizations. The business designs and builds digital tools (web sites, mobile apps) for their clients and then applies those tools toward a client’s needs in eCommerce, social media, website, search marketing, and advertising.
In 2013, Campbell was contracted to develop a mobile app as part of a regional tourism initiative managed by Northern Initiatives. His work was exceptional and when his clients’ needs surpassed available hours in the day, it was time to grow and bring in additional staff. But that growth required additional capital.
“Traditional lenders play an important role in business growth because they finance depreciable assets. However,” jokes Campbell, “I own a business that does not have a traditional model. We invest in people and those are hard to finance. I needed a lending partner that understood my business model and could finance it. Because I had worked with Northern Initiatives on the tourism campaign, they knew what I needed and how to get it done.”
In addition to funding, Campbell credits Northern Initiatives with guiding him toward his focus on the niche markets of recreation tourism and nonprofits. And he says, “They’ve introduced me to some of the best clients possible.” He’s also used the Business Services portal available to Northern Initiatives’ clients to round out his business management skills.
Campbell’s core values emphasize relationships, “doing things the right way (even if it isn’t the easiest way)”, and being open with clients regarding their projects. These values, and the support of Northern Initiatives, are contributing to a new full time hire in the fall of 2016. This person will focus on business development in one of Lake Effect’s niche markets and Campbell sees a wide open door there.
The future looks bright for Lake Effect Associates and for their clients.
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