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Starting and growing your own business

Michelle DeClerck is president of Conference Event Management.

No matter what stage your business is in, business ownership is not a venture you go into alone. That’s not to say you need to be in business with someone else, as many times those relationships disintegrate over time with one owner blaming the other for not doing their fair share of the work. 

For your business to succeed in challenging times as well as to thrive, it’s essential you rely on partnerships to help you grow and offer the best services possible. These partnerships come in many forms, with a key component starting with personal coaching. As an owner, it’s not often possible to divulge all of your information to your staff and while it can be lonely in this role, a coach is the perfect complement to your business success. While my coach lives in Chicago and consults mostly with Fortune 500 executives, our relationship allows me to consider big company practices and meld them into my company’s culture as appropriate. It also provides me with reassurance when I need a boost or want to run a new idea by someone who is going to be objective with their feedback.      

Another key partnership can be a coach aligned with your business operations, someone who focuses on helping your team grow and on the logistics of your company. You can also lean on the expertise of trainers to come in and work on specific projects, such as with client relationships, or sales, or any area where your team has a passion to take it to the next level. 

Key relationships among a trusted group of other business owners may also prove to be one of the best investments you can make with your time and is perfect for those on a tight budget who aren’t able to presently hire coaches. Being purposeful in setting up one-on-one meetings before you start or end your workday often offers you a chance to learn how that business owner is addressing challenges, and can be very motivating as you realize you are not in this alone – someone else is actually experiencing many of the same challenges you are. This free opportunity to share best practices is truly a priceless benefit you don’t want to overlook.

We also rely on many other strategic partnerships with other like-minded or complementary companies. This can allow you to ensure you can provide the best services possible for your clients, while gaining even greater expertise without a financial stake with these organizations. As partnerships are hotter than ever in today’s small-business world, aligning with other organizations nearly always results in more business, more referrals and more opportunities. 

And of course, when all the partnership conversations have taken place, picking up a great self-help book on business ownership, leadership, or best business practices is always a great way to consider new ideas and inspire you to try something new in your business. Whatever you decide, I hope you’ll decide to include others and turn it into a business success story.


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