Japan is the third largest world economy, behind the United States and China. It has a sizeable population and a ready market, as well as other factors ready and available to help a business grow.
However, Japan has been classified as one of the most difficult places to establish a business and succeed, when compared to other industrialized nations. Despite this, many companies have seen huge successes in the Japanese market. The truth of the matter is that setting up a business in Japan, as with most countries, requires significant up-front work.
Starting a business in Japan isn’t difficult and does not require huge start-up costs. If you have a unique, quality product or service to offer, then making a profit in Japan doesn’t have to be hard. Three decades of deflation has affected both Japanese salaries and the rent on office spaces, meaning that succeeding in Japan doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Given such a favorable situation, the chance of succeeding in Japan is very high. But in order to succeed, you need to keep in mind the following:
In any kind of business, in any part of the world, people are critical to growth. From your business partners to your employees, your customers, your competitors, your suppliers -people make up your business and your success is implicitly tied to them. You’ll need to understand that the Japanese people have a distinct culture, and from that culture they have a unique perspective and way of viewing things you might otherwise mistake as a constant. You need to learn to understand and appreciate their perspective, and, in doing so, earn their trust and attract their attention.
When you refuse to respect Japanese rules and traditions, you could find yourself on the losing end. Many foreign companies have collapsed because they did not respect Japanese law, and had little regard for the Japanese people and their perspective.
There is No Shortcut
As with any market, there is no shortcut to succeeding in Japan. Sometimes, turning a profit takes longer than you might expect. You need to properly plan, strategize and put in significant time investments to find success in Japan.
Although there have been exceptionally quick breakthroughs for some companies, these are outliers. In each case, they already had a product or service that was highly demanded, but they still had a well-executed strategy that helped their launch into the Japanese market.
Sales and Marketing
Another point that will determine how successful you become in Japan are sales and marketing.
You need to take a proactive role here. Many leave this aspect of the business for their Japanese associates to handle. While this may seem like an efficient move, it does not usually get the desired results.
You, personally, need to be active in the marketing and promotion. In actuality, Japanese people are not only concerned with the product, but also about the mind behind it. For this reason, you should put yourself out there and be a part of these teams.
Consensus management and heavy regulation in Japan may seem discouraging at times, but you must get the process right. One of the things that can help you recover from investing in the process of registering and starting a business in Japan is to create a pricing model that is profitable and competitive. Always avoid leaving your pricing model to your distributors, as they would simply increase the price and leave your goods to be sold only in narrow channels.
It is not overly difficult to succeed in Japan. All you need to do is work smart by connecting with the Japanese people and actively involving yourself in the processes of promoting both your business and yourself to the Japanese market.
When it comes to English, the Japanese people struggle! You wouldn’t believe the panic and dismay when they want to purchase a product, but give up at the sight of the English language.
Gloture is a new class of promotion agency located in the heart of Tokyo. We specialize in helping overseas startups to launch products in the Japanese market.
As the top choice in our field, we will handle each step from start to finish.
Get in touch today and let Gloture help your brand standout with huge success in Japan!