As the owner of a small public relations consultancy, I have come to rely on others quite frequently to help meet my clients’ needs in the best possible way. While I have expertise in many areas of public relations, there are frankly some areas where my expertise is more reliant on finding those who can fill in the gaps. For instance, I have basic graphic design knowledge but turn to my network of professional designers to develop those “wow” pieces that make my clients so happy.

That is the nature of any small business. The key is to know your own strengths, then collaborate with others to provide the best team of professionals for your clients.

Last year, Downing Communications and Mindful Kreative began a long-term relationship with a client that was based on this mutual desire to find the perfect combination of skills to provide a truly unique blend of expertise to meet this client’s needs. The result has been a partnership that is a variation on an old adage: our team is greater than the sum of our parts.

Let me explain.

Last year, I was approached to submit a proposal for Mainstay Life Services to develop and implement a full Integrated Marketing Communications plan for a long-term relationship with the organization. I quickly assessed my strengths: nonprofit expertise, strategic planning, excellent writing and organizational skills. I realized that the perfect match for this organization would also need a professional with strong knowledge of the health care marketplace, expertise in strategic planning for larger nonprofits, and ad/pr agency experience. Melinda Kaiser and Mindful Kreative were the perfect fit.

Melinda Kaiser and I have worked together at D.T. Watson and through the years on various projects. We have known and trusted each other for years as colleagues and friends. Melinda’s expertise with clients like Gateway Health and Highmark blended well with my experience with smaller health and human services nonprofits. Our combined talents put us at a distinct advantage as we competed with other well-known agencies in town. And our collaboration paid off when Mainstay hired us – entrusted us – to lead their organizational communication efforts.

We are nearing our one-year anniversary of working with Mainstay and things are going beautifully. On each project, Melinda and I – and our various staff and other consultants – work together to provide options, ideas, expertise and creative pieces that could not possibly be so successful if we were to work on them individually. Our client recognizes that they are benefitting from the leadership of two professionals who have more than 50 years of combined experience in the field. And, most importantly, the collaboration has opened up a level of creativity and knowledge that can only come from working together with a true professional.

The lesson to be learned here? Don’t be afraid to reach out and find that person, organization or agency that can help you be a better professional – and become a better advisor for your clients. I guarantee that the team you produce will be much, much greater than the sum of its parts.

– Camille Downing, Guest Blogger