Archive November 9, 2018

Victor Mitchell, Colorado Businessman, lists 6 Traits That Show You Can Lead as an Entrepreneur

A good employee doesn’t always make for a good leader — just ask Michael Scott (portrayed by Steve Carell in the television series The Office). Just because you did well as an employee in your industry doesn’t mean you have what it takes to lead, although it doesn’t hurt to have experience. As a serial entrepreneur, Victor Mitchell knows there are certain traits and qualities leaders have. Look deep into yourself and see if you have what it takes.

  1.  You understand that it’s more about your employees.

As an entrepreneur, your work is important. You decide what direction the company takes and how you’ll sell it to people. However, you’re just one person. Your impact on the company, while irreplaceable, isn’t the most important thing; it’s the collective impact of your employees.

You’re not looking to directly impact the company through sales calls, though you may take on that role early on. You’re more focused on making sure your employees are the best versions of themselves that they can be. Creating the right company culture, making a comfortable work environment, making sure everyone’s properly compensated — all these and more should be at the top of your to-do list.

  1.  Criticism is a blessing.

You are responsible for everything in the startup. Indirectly or directly, every success can be attributed to you. That means that every failure can find its root in you as well, from how you trained human resources to pick among employees to something more overt like the direction that the company took.

That’s why criticism is so important. Criticism can open your eyes to new avenues and help you improve your startup’s performance. Leaders don’t just handle criticism well, but they also hunger for it. Each piece of feedback represents an opportunity to improve things in one way or another. Add up those little wins and you’ll eventually snowball into a big one.

  1.  It’s less about getting recognition or credit.

To a certain extent, the startup is all about you. You built it to achieve your goals and ideals, whether it’s financial independence, making the world a better place, or a combination of many things. However, when it comes down to it, it’s not about getting people to see you. Glory-hogging isn’t your practice. If it comes your way and you deserve it, you’re OK with it. Otherwise, it simply doesn’t matter to you outside your personal branding.

Leaders just want to do work well, and they want everyone around them to be as excellent as possible. Not only does this focus their effort on the employees, it makes them more resilient to the countless wonderful acts they’ll perform that no one will thank them for. If you want to lead your company to success, you must not crave credit.

  1.  You’re curious.

Don’t let the old saying about curiosity and the cat hold you back. That saying is often quoted out of context; curiosity is the trait you want to have as an entrepreneur. When people tell you something, you’re not judgmental, you’re curious. You’re not looking to prove yourself smarter than everyone in the room. What you want is something more vital, and that’s understanding. You don’t assume anything. You make sure everything’s above board and accurate.

There’s a lot of pressure on entrepreneurs to be perfect and on-point at all times. Even just hearing about how many startups fail in their first year can be stressful. However, perfection is not what you need. You want to be present and curious. Listen to your team. Ask them questions. They’ll appreciate you being there mentally and emotionally.

  1.  You’re concerned with long-term consequences.

The biggest difference between the average worker and a leader is the ability to pay attention to the consequences of their actions. For many workers, it’s about getting the job done. The consequences are for someone else to be concerned about, and that someone is their leader. Leaders are aware of how each action can impact the future and what it could mean for the startup.

That’s why they don’t sweat the small stuff: they know which actions matter and which ones don’t. The majority of your time as a leader and entrepreneurs should be spent thinking about the startup six months from now, or a year in the future. The minutiae of each employee’s task don’t concern you as much as their output and the consequences of their contributions in relation to the startup.

  1.  You’re all about making people the best version of themselves.

You’re going to hear a lot about how leadership is about inspiration because that’s what you do. You get people pumped and ready to do work. However, it doesn’t end there. You’re not just getting them energized, you’re making them the best people they can be.

A big part …

4 Serious Mistakes Foreigners Must Avoid When Entering the Japanese Market

The Japanese market is poised to accept more and more foreign businesses. The Japanese government itself is encouraging foreign businesses to establish themselves in the country, by reducing the cost to apply and reducing bureaucratic red tape as well.

There are many benefits to opening a company or a branch office in Japan, but there are also many pitfalls as well.

Below are 4 serious mistakes foreigners must avoid when entering the Japanese market:

  1. Incomplete Market Research

Market research is necessary wherever you hope to open a business, but it is particularly important when you are founding a company overseas, especially in a country that has a very different culture than the one you’re used to.

There should be no wishful thinking in market research, no “if we build it, they will come.”  Instead, it requires feet-on-the-ground researchers, proficient in the language, who can explore the markets and the trends affecting those markets to see if your business will be a good fit.

  • Is there a need for your service or product in Japan?
  • Who are your competitors, if any?
  • In what city would be the best location for your headquarters?
    • Sufficient workforce
    • Sufficient interest from consumers
    • An appropriate infrastructure

  1. Insufficient Planning

Insufficient planning would doom a company in any country, but again planning is more important than ever when establishing the business in a foreign country. Planning and market research go hand-in-hand but are two separate tasks. Planning includes researching the cost of advertising, whether to build a new building or rent an existing structure, where to locate the business for ease of access by employees and customers, and so on.

  1. Insufficient Capital

As you can see, many of the common mistakes businesses make during market entry in Japan are the same as are made in their own countries – including insufficient capital. A business must be capitalized sufficiently so that it can withstand at least two or three years of building up its clientele and becoming profitable.

  1. Ignoring Japanese Personal and Business Culture

This mistake is the most crucial one of all, and actually embodies quite a few sub-mistakes. Let’s give just one example: the business card. In most European countries, a business card is just something you give out to people. If the recipient folds it carelessly and sticks it in a pocket, the giver thinks nothing of it. If the recipient writes on it, the giver thinks nothing of it. But in Japan, those actions are insults to the giver. A business card is a very important document. A status symbol, and something to be treated with respect. Because of this, you’ll note that the individual giving you his or her business card will do so with both hands. You should receive the business card with both hands, also. The Japanese do not stick their business cards carelessly in a wallet to be given out when needed. They use a business card holder and expect others to do the same.

If there is a ritual involved in something as simple as the giving and receiving of business cards, how many more rituals are there that it is imperative you know to avoid offending your Japanese colleagues, superiors, or customers?

Business people in Japan will expect foreign businesses to respect their culture and learn the intricacies required. By neglecting to do so, your potential success could be compromised. For this reason, it’s important to employ a business services agency, such as SMEJapan.com, which can help guide you through the vast amount of knowledge required to open and run a successful business in Japan.