GERMANTOWN HILLS, Ill. (WMBD) — A Germantown Hills small business owner said relationship building has driven the success of his business.

Ryan Davis, a Germantown Hills physical education teacher, started his own DJ business, JAK’D Entertainment, in 2015.

Davis purchased his first DJ setup from a veteran for $10,000 and made it back in the first year. The business has been booming ever since.

“I’ve been able to buy new systems, new setups, every year, and now I’ve got seven setups,” he said, adding he has hired three DJs because they are so popular.

Davis said relationships are the keys to his growth and success. He hasn’t spent a penny on marketing or advertising.

“Our business is built off word of mouth and social media. So it’s just building those relationships,” he said. “We let our customers know that we’re there for them and willing to do whatever it takes to make their day the best day possible.”

At Bradley University, the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) guides entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their businesses.

“Small businesses are vital to the growth of central Illinois… Somebody had said recently that we’re one of the best-kept secrets in Central Illinois, but we’re not meant to be a secret. We’re here to support more business growth and development here in the Greater Peoria area,” said SBDC Director Eric Sampson.

Sampson said the center has advised more than 400 businesses in just two years. He said Illinois is a top 10 state for new ventures and innovation.

“So the demand that we get at our office for people that are seeking advice and guidance and starting new businesses is overwhelming,” he said.

Sampson said client relationships can make or break a business.

“How to reach those customers and how to engage with them for the long-term relationships so that they can build that business and build some momentum over time,” he said.

Sampson said the center offers free “Starting Your Business in Illinois” workshops twice a month. They are also rolling out a new business accelerator program in the fall.