Feng Shui for Business Success
The right place, the right people, the right time: these are the key ingredients for any successful human endeavor. This is especially true for any business venture.
One kind of business operation is what we usually think of as business, out to make money, like a retail store, restaurant or corporation. A different kind of business is also an organization that deals with money and requires the same kind of good management, but aims at achieving other kinds of goals. Examples of this are charitable foundations, universities and government agencies. Even though profit is not their goal, they need the same effective management and use of resources as the profit-oriented activities. So one kind of enterprise is measured by profit and money, the other by influence and power, but both can be regarded as kinds of businesses.
Feng Shui analysis relates power and money to factors called Mountain and Water. The power factor is dealt with in terms of Mountain configurations; the economic factor is dealt with in terms of Water configurations.
Businesses oriented toward profit require spaces with abundant energy flow — places where Water can collect and Chi can accumulate. This is why most shopping malls and business centers are on the lower ground of cities — not on high plateaus. At the same time, businesses oriented toward influence and power require strong Mountain features. Many universities, hospitals, and churches are on higher ground.
Every successful business requires abundant, smooth energy flow. This is what Feng Shui looks for in terms of Water. At the same time, business requires support and stability; this is a matter of the Mountain features.
It is not always easy to find the kind of space most appropriate to your enterprise, or to figure out how to achieve the most effective use of that space. Applying the principles of Feng Shui can make these choices much simpler and significantly improve the effectiveness and success of the business.
The foremost consideration for an ideal space is that the form should be wholesome. In general, a square space, or a rectangular space proportioned according to the Golden Rectangle, is best. A wholesome space provides wholesome energy. In a building, the location of the main entrance is also crucial. The door defines the quantity and quality of energy (Water) that can flow in. The front door and facade of a building are like the face of a building, and help define its image.
The image of a business also manifests through such things as the design of letterhead and logo. The logo of a company is like a summary of the energy pattern of the company. All successful companies (Nike, McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz) have good logos. The designs of the logo, business card and similar image-bearing items have a striking impact on a company’s business success.
Some structures never have successful businesses, no matter how many different kinds of organizations pass through the space. From a management point of view, this does not make much sense, since each business has its own management style. But from a Feng Shui point of view, it is very clear: the space is lacking some key Water or Mountain feature, and will never support a viable business.
Good design of interior space is crucial for the success of any organization, since it has direct effects on personnel and financial management, on communication, on productivity, and marketing. All of this can be managed, to a large extent, through careful design of layout and relative position of the workers in an office. The human factor is crucial; employee talents and motivation are vital. How to motivate employees, retain them, increase their effectiveness, fully use their talents – these are constant challenges for managers. It is important to provide people with working environments that support them.
A key element to support is limiting or managing stress. Stress is only partly related with the kind of work one does. It also has a lot to do with the configuration of the place one works in. A golden rule for work spaces is for people to sit in positions that give them support — which means, basically, solid walls at their backs. Whenever people have a solid wall (Mountain) behind them, they naturally feel more relaxed and at ease — which means that they feel less stress, and can be more productive. It is no surprise that people nowadays complain about increased stress. It is increasingly common for people to work in cubicles — to sit all day with their backs not only unsupported, but actually exposed to traffic. This undermines any possible sense of stability or security, and significantly decreases the quantity and quality of their work.
The success of a business is directly related to marketing and sales. So much depends on how effectively one can market one’s products or services. Marketing is the link between the company and the consumer.
Communication (at all levels, and between all levels) will also have an impact on the soundness of the operation. Communication requires two things: good connections, and effective potential contact. In Feng Shui terms, good connections require clear and effective links between the work positions or offices; good contact requires at least potential face-to-face communications between those who need to work together. (These face-to-face connections do not need to be actual, but they should be potential. People who need to work together should face toward each other, or towards a central space, even if there are partitions between them.)
Feng Shui principles make use of spatial relationships, orientation, shapes, color and light to improve the energy flow and get better results in all kinds of businesses. Because these principles follow natural laws, they can be applied with equal success at any scale, from a large factory or corporation to a small restaurant or professional office.
There is one basic Feng Shui application that any organization can try. That is: to supply their workplace with abundant healthy, living plants. Healthy, living plants serve as energy connectors and energy enhancers. They help cleanse the space, and bring life to it. This is a change that does not require a huge investment, but that can produce very immediate positive effects.
Business operations are successful to the extent that their location and design approach Feng Shui ideals. Unfortunately, Feng Shui is so popular nowadays that there are vast numbers of Feng Shui books, and many Feng Shui classes and workshops – but these are often full of confusing or conflicting information. Many of these books and classes deal with faddish objects and superficial associations, never presenting the core teachings.
These core teachings of Feng Shui derive from and follow natural laws. Feng Shui principles describe how people actually respond to their environment. They are not a matter of faith or convention based on foreign ideas or values. The first step to understanding Feng Shui is to begin to tune in to our own reactions when we consider the present layout of a workplace, and when we explore plans for changing it. By awakening our own intuitive awareness, we will have a way of telling whether the design suggestions of an expert are worth following or not.