Beatrice Liu is confident that Traditional Chinese Medicine will become more important as society ages.
What’s your story?
I am the Co-Founder of Oriental Remedies Group, a fast-growing Traditional Chinese Medicine group offering patients a unique integrative approach towards treatment. I started my own business distributing wellness products when I met my co-founder, Leong Weizhen. As we grew to become friends, I helped with marketing efforts at her one-woman TCM clinic at that time. Within months, her patients tripled, and she asked me to join her full time to grow the business. When Physician Leong was approached to open a second clinic in 2019, I left my corporate career and we rebranded the clinic to Oriental Remedies Group.
What excites you most about your industry?
I am very excited that as Singapore (and the developing world) ages, Traditional Chinese Medicine will play an important role in supplementing the mainstream medical system. As the population looks for more natural means to maintain or improve their health, we are seeing a huge increase in interest for creditable TCM advice and products, even among the young.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
My motivation in the business is very clear – to make a positive impact on our staff, our patients and our community. As we are in the service industry, how we treat our staff will directly impact how they will service the patients. As such, I spend a lot of my time with my leadership team constantly thinking how we can train and develop our team better. This is also heavily influenced by the ten years I spent in Procter and Gamble where there was very strong focus on people’s welfare and development.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
The most useful skill I have acquired on my entrepreneurial journey so far is to have broader skill sets across different functions. For example, I attended some intense digital marketing training last year to keep up with the trends and changes, especially on patient acquisition models. Even though my marketing team and agencies are the ones executing our digital plans now, having this knowledge allows me to value-add in the strategizing process and grow our business faster.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received is to practise the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. To summarise, beginning with the end in mind is one principle that helps me on a daily basis. By figuring out what kind of person I want to be, and what kind of life I want to have, I have the courage to step out of my comfort zone to run my own business. Even though it is very hard work, I truly enjoy meetings with my team and business partners because my work serves my life purpose of making a difference for others.
Who inspires you?
This is going to sound so cliché but my dad inspires me a lot. After my mum’s passing, he was so determined to get better physically and emotionally. Even though he never articulated it, I knew he was very focused on getting healthier so I did not ever need to be caregiver again (as I am the only child). He started training with a personal trainer twice a week and he has hardly missed his trainings in the past 5 years; his trainer told me my dad is the fittest elderly he is training!
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
As we are expanding from TCM services to products, I have been researching into technology that can deliver supplementation in much more bio-available formats in the body. With new technological breakthrough after ten years of R&D, age-old supplements that we are familiar with such as calcium has new formats that can be absorbed into the body in much more bioavailable ways. This will enable all of us can reap the benefits of our supplements so much better!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If my mum was still around, she would definitely not agree with what I have to say but I would say that if I had my time again, I would have spent a lot less time on getting the perfect grades! Instead I would have invested more time on more life skills – investing money from a younger age, working in technological startup and cooking! Running my own business made me realise the importance of cash flow – it can truly make or break a business in tough times such a what we have had in the past year or so.
How do you unwind?
The best way for me to unwind now is to spend quality time with my son. Watching him smile and play really relaxes me. I enjoy exercising, so I go to the gym twice a week, and cycle 60-100km weekly, but these have been on hold since I fractured my foot in a fall. Physical exercise aside, I been working on deep breathing and meditation to keep my mental state calm and optimal! Going out with family and close friends also brings joy to my life, and I hope that can resume even more with the Covid situation becoming more endemic.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
When I first started to scale, we wanted to keep decision making streamlined and so we were adamant on not having external investors so we could continue to make fast decisions. Now that we are scaling the business and growing our retail business, we have become more open to seeking external perspectives and investors as we realized to deliver quality products and services at lower cost, scale and initial investments are needed. Our services and products would be able to value-add to international clients so we have now changed our mindset to embrace external viewpoints to accelerate our growth.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Actually, this is not just about business but even in our daily life, often, the barrier to us becoming the best version of ourselves is because we settle for being “good enough” and we stop pushing our comfort zones. From a business standpoint, the “Hedgehog concept” – a strategy that plays to our strengths and we can keep pushing – is a great reminder for me every time we review the business strategy for Oriental Remedies to stay focused on how we can uniquely drive value for our patients.
Shameless plug for your business:
As all of our Physicians at Oriental Remedies are bilingual and trained in Biomedical Science and TCM in Singapore and China, patients who want a detailed English consultation to understand their health conditions will have a good experience with our Physicians. For example, many of us who are Chinese would grow up with the concept of ‘heatiness’. This was an abstract concept to me until one of our Physicians explained that this is akin to having inflammation in the body. This understanding made me more committed to treatments and I achieved my wellness goals at the end of the treatment.
How can people connect with you?
You can reach out to me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/beatriceliu/
Social Media Links?
Find out more about Oriental Remedies on our website: https://www.orientalremediesgroup.com/
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.