By Denise and Mike Soric
At the beginning of 2010 we uprooted our little Tai Chi for Busy People business from Mackay to move (up the road) to Townsville. A bit of a hot climate change and shock at first, but here we are. We have been fortunate to be invited to complete many tai chi for health gentle exercise programs for various interest groups and have received an extraordinary amount of support from Queensland Health’s Tropical Health Unit. Their support continued with many tai chi for health projects.
Since those early days, we have forged ahead forming partnerships with local and regional councils, Department of Sports, Recreation and Racing, Northern Primary Health Network and Mental Health Commission.
Of course, it goes without saying that the art of becoming a good Instructor/Leader will most certainly include:
- Developing your understanding and practice of the essential tai chi principles
- Following Dr. Paul Lam’s proven Step-Wise techniques
- And, above all, to do no harm
The art of operating a successful tai chi for health business also requires some other essential principles. Here are a few of our ideas and tips that helped us to start again in a new town. Please note that this short list is meant to be flexible and many other influences, ideas, tools and strategies maybe helpful to you.
In no particular order of importance and/or priority:
- Believe in the product … Be passionate and enthusiastic, remember that tai chi for health gentle exercise programs do really work. We know that, but sometimes it takes others much longer to realise this. And keep in mind that a rejection today may be an approval in the future as everyone’s circumstances change.
- Refer to your support group … Dr. Paul Lam and his Tai Chi for Health Institute has a combined wealth of experience, knowledge and information that no one person could hope to gather on their own. Look for information that is already out there, to help you.
- Network! Network! Network! … Really look at your local area, your community, town or region. See what is available for people now; find out who is able to provide funding for health initiatives and start talking to people about the benefits of tai chi. Go to training sessions on how to write grant applications, or how to market and/or promote your organisation … make business contacts.
- Be professional … We can’t stress this enough, get to know people, be co-operative and easy to work with. Help organisations to deal with their barriers in allowing a tai chi for health program to be run on their property or with their people. Make it easy for them, give them solutions to obstacles. Make sure you have adequate insurance both Public Liability and Professional Indemnity.
- A ‘Corporate Image’ helps … A uniform such as the tai chi for health polo shirt, is a good start. Sometimes our contacts get quite surprised when they see us at social functions without our tai chi shirts and black pants on. A web-site has certainly helped our business, but remember to keep it up-to-date and relevant. And a ‘Business Card’ is essential.
- Help others … Look for opportunities to help, mentor, network and share experiences with other tai chi for health Instructor/Leaders in your area. Work together if you can as it is all for the common good of tai chi for health. They may be able to help you one day.
- In the end we cannot force people and/or organisations to take up tai chi and sometimes they are just not ready … so a “no thank you” may mean a no thank you. When the time is right you may have another opportunity to offer tai chi for health gentle exercise to them again. In the meantime, stay motivated, confident and keep looking for opportunities to “spread the tai chi word” so to speak.