Starting a business in a new country is a big challenge. But add a pandemic into the mix and those challenges take on a whole new dimension.
Chronic pain and anxiety specialist, Jean Jordan, arrived in Christchurch to set up her clinic which she had been running successfully in Perth for 15 years. There was a lot of work to do to build a local reputation and client base, and just as Jean was getting started, the country went into lockdown.
“Covid actually became an opportunity for me. It spurred me into action and when my husband told me about Business Mentors, it made great sense to seek some help,” said Jean.
“My mentor, Gill, was very generous with her time and during lockdown, we had many very useful Zoom meetings which were dynamic and full of positivity. It was great to be constantly brainstorming, reflecting on ideas and working up a strategy while being challenged and held accountable.”
As a naturopath, kinesiologist and yoga teacher, Jean takes on a lot of challenging patients who have tried everything else and are still experiencing persistent pain or anxiety.
“As we go through life, things happen to us. We emotionally react to things and experience trauma. Over time, this builds up until one more thing happens and then the body isn’t able to heal itself or get healthy and the result is chronic pain or stress. Unfortunately, you can’t just have an operation to remove it and return to your life. It takes time and a holistic approach to make a difference.”
Jean uses a range of treatments that may include releasing emotions, breathing techniques and visualisation. One key aspect to her success is bodywork to de-tension muscles, neurologically rebalancing the whole body to return to health. Her work is always inclusive as she believes patients should be actively involved in their treatment and making changes.
Her clients range from teens who are stressed and anxious to people in their 70s who have endured 20 or 30 years of chronic pain.
And while helping others, Jean has had Gill, helping her. The Christchurch-based mentor has owned three businesses including a health practice, a franchise business and an international events company. Drawn to helping people grow their business, Gill has, in the last 10 years, focused on the Christchurch earthquakes recovery working with the Economic Development Agency, and independently, to get businesses to scale and flourishing.
“The extension of the last 10 years is now to volunteer for Business Mentors NZ and continue helping businesses succeed. When Business Mentors approached me during lockdown I knew now was the time to share my skills with businesses needing support during this difficult time,” said Gill.
“Working with Jean has been a real pleasure. She was highly motivated and open to challenging conversations. She would listen and take on an idea, testing and measuring it. We would both push back on each other and had a very healthy and curious approach to developing her business.”
Both agreed one of the biggest areas of value Gill brought to the partnership was challenging Jean’s price point and how to package it. It is all about self-worth and valuing what you have to offer.
“As a practitioner, charging an hourly rate, it is often difficult to ask yourself ‘how much am I actually worth?’ and ‘what is someone prepared to pay for my services?’ so having an external perspective has been invaluable,” said Jean.
Gill said that being a networker and connector, she was also able to use her skills to help Jean work through where she would connect, her target market and how people would find her. “With a business that sits in the alternative space we needed to take a slightly different approach to finding her market and growing her client base,” said Gill.
Gradually Jean’s business is growing and she has enrolled with Otago University in Christchurch to do more post-graduate study in pain management. She also wants to be able to help more people than those that walk through the door and is starting work on an online programme based on a successful course she created in Perth.
Jean looks back on the last year with a great sense of satisfaction after tripling her income and doubling her profit.
“Without Gill being there, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Having someone who has expectations of you, makes you accountable and is not a long-suffering partner or friend but completely independent, has made a massive difference to me and my business,” said Jean.