Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joe Fisher, Co-Founder and CEO of BIÂN, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
BIÂN is a first-of-its-kind Chicago-based Private Social & Wellness Club. In one collaborative ecosystem, BIÂN creates a hyper-individualized and community-based environment for members to live a vital life - bringing together all aspects of wellness - physical, mental, emotional, and social. The BIÂN member values living a vital life and takes an active role in their lifestyle choices within a community of others who share these values.
Tell us about yourself
I started my professional career as an attorney at a large law international law firm, culminating in becoming a partner. Later, I served as president of a publicly traded insurance company, eventually leaving after a decade in search of a more life-fulfilling path. In 2019, I co-founded BIÂN, using my own personal experience and desire for a new kind of wellness paradigm. I wanted to create a place where people would be fully supported in their own life goals while surrounded by world-class practitioners, food, design, and service.
We meld wellness modalities like never before, offering comprehensive medical and mental health resources along with western, Chinese, Ayurvedic, and naturopathic medicine, individual nutrition planning, beauty and aesthetics, meditation, personal training, and much more.
Holistic wellness and medicine have transformed my life and, in turn, inspired me to share the same access to healing. My own kidney cancer diagnosis last year was found through the experts at BIÂN, only furthering my desire to share this life-changing place with our community.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Easy - creating BIÂN. BIÂN is a place where hybrid working and living a healthful, more vital life intersect. We opened BIÂN’s doors on the day of the second COVID shutdown in Chicago in November 2020. Since then, we’ve not only grown but have become more relevant, as the pandemic illustrated how vital health, well-being, and social connection are to every human.
BIÂN is an example of a start-up business that has grown during the pandemic and a rare study that defies the pandemic odds. Identifying post-pandemic needs and desires of our community, BIÂN is investing in a 9,000-square-foot expansion, which will bring our total footprint in Chicago to over 33,000 SF. Our expansion will open in late Q1 or early Q2 2023.
The design, also completed by design expert Karen Herold’s Studio K, will be consistent with our original space, boasting everything from conference rooms, hybrid workspaces, and soundproof call booths to private dining, event space, bar service, and state-of-the-art AV technology, additional studio space, and ancillary locker rooms.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Opening a new concept that has operated ONLY during the pandemic presented a new set of challenges posed by the pandemic’s significant impact on our way of life. Staying agile in our strategy and membership offerings and acquisition was key to our success. We originally saw BIÂN as a place to enhance all aspects of life but didn’t foresee how our members would use it as a hybrid workspace and embrace the convenience of having so many services and amenities at their disposal. Being able to offer this value-add became more meaningful as the pandemic wore on. While maintaining our original vision is important, remaining flexible to address the new dynamics of life is essential to our long-term viability.
Many of our members began working from home within days of joining the club. They’d come in for a workout, then head to the lounge to hop on a work call before going home. BIÂN really restored that sense of connectivity and community they were missing, and before we knew it, a huge percentage of our members were working from BIÂN on a regular basis. With the club’s amenities at their fingertips, they were reporting a major increase in productivity—and a huge decrease in stress. We knew we were onto something big. Our members value the sense of community and tell us, ‘I think BIÂN was created just for me.’
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Organic strategy - You must be flexible with your growth strategy in order to truly meet your customer’s needs and thrive. We would never have survived the pandemic if we didn’t listen to our members/community and shifted our approach based on the changing climate and needs. (let your concept breath and grow and change)
- Passion about your purpose - I strongly believe that personalized wellness is the future of health. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of an industry that I care deeply about and one that literally saved my life.
- Inspiring leadership - An important role as CEO is to make sure that our team feels just as passionately about BIÂN as I do. If we successfully inspire our leaders with purpose, they will share our message with just as much conviction as we bring to BIÂN.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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