Developing an Ethical Business and Wellness Consultancy in Shanghai, China by Ian Geddes and Susan Chan

Shanghai PartnersSince 2013 our Mind, Body and Wellness Consultancy has been established in the Chinese city of Shanghai.

Shanghai is an awesome city. The pace of growth is immense. I was going to say that the urban skyline has changed considerably over the last 20 years. Well, substitute 20 years for 5 years. Indeed I’m sure the new buildings were going up 2 levels a day! It is a centre of finance, trade and industry. Already over 22 million people live there and the city continues to expand. It is a modern city, with strong traditional roots but it is a city of change, ready to embrace the best of Eastern values with modern psychological approaches and ways of the West. It is probably the most cosmopolitan of Chinese cities.

In June of 2016 we were invited to give a presentation on ‘Ethical Business’ at a seminar at the Shanghai Art Centre. This seminar was organised by Denise Li, Vice Chairman and President, PGC Capital.

Susan Chan and Associates are specialists in working with top executives and leaders to ease their stresses of high powered executive jobs. People, who despite success at a business and professional level, may feel stressed, with a poor work/ life balance. The mind and body may be out of harmony with a low level of personal happiness. These problems can result in decline in performance, relationships and wellness.

Shanghai, has its share of men and women, who are stressed and open to our approach. We blend Mindfulness and NLP principles and other modern psychological approaches in a holistic style. Our methods include workshops, one to one sessions and training, backed up by downloads and our books, ‘A Mindful Compassionate Guide to a Happier Life’, and ‘Living the Dream’.

The Chinese market is challenging to enter. We found limited support available in Scotland. The problems encountered include language, culture, distance and costs.

We established trust and strong relationships with our Chinese associates. This is crucial. This takes time. We investigated the existing competition and businesses in our area. In Shanghai, there are plenty of hypnotherapists, NLP specialists as well as motivation coaches. Research indicated that there was a market, that there is a client base, there is money and an openness to embrace the new. We needed a brand and a unique selling point with appropriate courses and packages.

We established an accommodation base in the French Concession area, and met potential clients in a variety of venues, including private clubs, and Wellness Clinics/ Centres. The venues had to be premier class.

Our research indicated what was in demand. The potential clients were successful, confident and motivated. They were concerned about ‘Mind, Body, Wellness, Stress and Relationships.’

To establish trust (from our partners and other key people) we offered group workshops and individual consultations. We were delighted with the positive response from our partners and clients to our sessions. . We were not sure whether successful people would welcome workshops (they did) and whether language would be a barrier. It need not be. There was a level of understanding, but we also used fully briefed translators. We are also now learning Chinese!

In conclusion, our business, our style, approach, ethics and content can transfer to China. The perceived barriers of language, culture and distance can be overcome, with research, commitment, drive and marketing of a strong programme. We return shortly to build on our client base and develop our relationships with the media.

Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

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