As part of our series of interviews in the MSME Digitalization Plan in Jamaica, we would like you to hear more about Health and Wellness Consultant to Travelers as our featured MSME company of the week.
Health Travel Companion offers integrated primary care service for its clients that look to restore optimal wellness and empowerment through the use of counseling and medicine from a sustainable standpoint. The service’s motto is:
Coaching happens when someone hands you their trust and you hand them back their greatness.
The company offers a wide range of health services for its clients that are attended by the on-site staff and a network of specialized professionals that guarantees the high-level service the business maintains. Another aspect that Health Travel has understood is the importance of technology in building the business and strengthening its professional and client base!
It was our pleasure to interview the company’s owner, Dr. Susan Lowe and to see how her medical degree and many years of experience in the health field as a counsellor and coach has transformed into a wellness coaching and counselling business.
QUESTION: In general, what does your company do?
ANSWER: I am a completely integrated primary care service including traditional and alternative medicine, wellness coaching and counselling including nutrition, sexuality, pain management, mental and emotional work.
The services are offered online, office-based or in non-traditional settings ranging from the beach, elegant night spots to mountainside getaways.
I also enjoy public speaking and presenting on health, wellness and other subject matter and I’m developing a special niche market for business travellers on their downtime.
Q: Why did you decide to start your own business? What were the reasons, what motivated you?
A: It was clear to me that half the work of curing or enabling people to manage their conditions/issues was their mindset and that the internet wave was going to play an enormous part in the story.
I also figured that since men use health services far less than women, if presented with convenience and anonymity via a gadget (their numerous IT devices) there was likely an extra untapped market that could be served – men.
Q: When you decided to start, how did you start? What has changed since your inception?
A: The website has been scaled down to one of attractive simplicity and now via the Government of Jamaica’s initiative, I’m taking advantage of the Kolau/Google partnership.
I have also added public speaking engagements, consultancies and upgraded to a more comfortable office minutes from the main business travel centre of Kingston.
I now want to increase the community I serve to visitors and guests to Jamaica. There is something I’ve noticed about the responsiveness of clients who are time-capsuled outside the milieu of their regular lives back home. They are more relaxed and open to their own intuition and any help I offer.
Q: What do you think your company does differently from your competition? What distinguishes you?
A: Complete integration with training and certification in the gamut of health provision – medical degree, masters in coaching/counselling, basic assessment in alternative medicine, nutrition, and paralegal training, long years of experience (30) and amazing networking within and outside the sector.
My personality means I use techniques so the coaching or counselling process is lighter, gets to the point and frees or cures the clients to be able to manage themselves. I’m more like a muse.
Q: How do you see your business in the next 5 years?
A: I will have built up my public speaking engagements including sessions abroad, the health tourism niche of wellness coach to visitors and travellers and added the service of being a consultant health travel companion while the client is on tour via air, sea or land.
The company’s name; Health and Wellness Consultant to Travellers is named after this favourite niche.
Q: What inspired you to enter this industry? Do you have any favourite activities related to your work?
A: I had been a degreed counsellor for years and found the process was more powerful when supplementing it with medicine. But I remain convinced that half of what it takes to get a client back into action is in their minds.
I have a gift for getting clients to realise their own power in creating optimal wellness of any kind; mental, social, emotional, sexual, pain management and nutrition.
Travel was also an inspiration to enter the industry. I love moderately paced business travel and the cultural exchange that goes with it. I have functional Spanish to this end.
Q: How important do you think it is for small businesses to have a website? Why?
A: It can’t be escaped anymore, it’s like your phone number and land address. Initially, you can get more of your word out at a fraction of the effort and cost of the older ways of doing business.
Q: How do you advertise your products? Do you use social networks or some other method to publicise your products?
A: I have LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and as often as possible engage in ‘guerilla marketing’. I’ve done the latter twice quite successfully once with our top car rental agency Island Car Rentals and once with Kingston’s top bistro for a session during Restaurant Week called ‘Wine & a Little Sex’.
Q: What advice would you give to other business owners who are starting or are in the process of starting their business? Give us 3 tips.
A: Do not waste money on grandiose web schemes at first. Make sure whoever helps you at startup has the same or a clear understanding of your vision. Stick to your vision and don’t work on more than 3 branches of it at one time.
Q: What do you do for customers to return to your business? Do you use any strategy to build customer loyalty?
A: I approach this in complete reverse to most private health providers. I love to ‘get rid’ of you. By that I mean I’ve either cured you or taught you to manage yourself. I teach that I do half the work and the client does the other half. There is full transparency of all my work and once my work is done I expect it is done well enough that the client will not have to keep coming back and will refer new clients to me. If I can’t help a client in two years, I refer him or her or release them so I don’t waste their time and money.
Every week, we highlight a company from Jamaica, within the framework of the MSME Digitalization Plan, whose trajectory, achievements and experience are an inspiration to all of us. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to bring these great stories together and learn from them.