For sure, you need a relevant partner in Japan. That could be me.
“There are no secrets to success.
It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
by Colin Powell
- I always want to be honest and polite as possible as I can.
- I don’t want to trouble people.
- Take actions if I see there will be a chance.
(Tough challenge is better because most people want to avoid it.)
“Very entrepreneurial in his approach, polite and confident. While his English may be rough, my Japanese doesn’t exist. In addition, his note shows ambition, and an important point; “he wants to listens and learn”. I find most people in USA don’t want to listen and learn in business, which is major flaw. “– Fran K, American Sake Importer
Business runs in the family.
That’s what some people say, isn’t it?
It is certainly true for me. For me, this runs all the back to my grandfathers days. Everyone – my father, my mother, my other relatives – they all own their own businesses. During my childhood and during my growing up, I was surrounded by business owners. My entire family is known for this – being hard-working entrepreneurs.
It was natural for me to do the same, even at a very young age. When I was 13 years old, my father showed me pictures from one of his business trips to Australia. It was that early that I started to dream of going overseas and doing business for myself abroad. My entrepreneurial spirit and attitude guided me even during my high school years.
At this age I wasn’t interested in getting paid – no, I wanted to learn how business worked! From ages 15 to 18, I worked for two different tropical fish stores – completely free of charge.
Through these years, I could see how these two business owners ran their businesses and what differences they had in their management styles. These experiences were lessons that cannot be taught in classes or a text book.
Upon my high school graduation, I was set to attend an American college. I knew this would be a very big challenge. Like most people from Japan, my English wasn’t very good but more importantly, I didn’t know anybody and starting a life in a new country without contacts and with the new language would prove to be difficult indeed. However, I knew very well that if I made it through this sort of college education, I would come out a different person with experiences that would play a very important role in my professional and my private life in my career as a businessman and entrepreneur.
My first weeks in Florida however, were a very pleasant surprise to me. I was introduced to dozens of new friends over the course of a single weekend – everyone helped me with whatever I needed. This encouraged me to start enjoying my life in the states and at Santa Fe Community College.
After I finished at Santa Fe, I transferred to the University of Central Florida in Orlando where I could take the Entrepreneurship Management major. My interests during this time had not shifted – I still wanted, more than anything, to start my own business, making the major a very good fit for me. Most of the classes were related to starting up new businesses, and all the classes were helpful when thinking “what if I start my own business…”
However, I wanted not only to learn from a textbook. I also wanted to learn from real-life experience. That’s why even while I was in college, I started my own business at a mall to see what it was like. In addition, I studied by myself how to set up websites and do the internet marketing starting in 1999, during the very inception of several important internet marketing concepts. When I came to the U.S., computers were everywhere and I was just shocked. I thought the internet would be really important thing in the business, especially for the marketing purposes. This turned out to be the truth.
After my graduation, I returned to Japan where I could establish my company (January 2006). Once again I started with virtually nothing. There was a crucial difference this time, however. I wasn’t nervous – instead I was confident. I think this came from finishing my college degree as well as my experiences. Another difference was that I now had a business partner – an administrative scrivener.
At first my business did not do very well. We had virtually no sales and had 10 000$ worth of expenses every month without virtually any income whatsoever. In short, I failed and could barely manage the company during the first year of business.
One day, a man gave us a call and queried us whether we could help him to obtain a wine import license – offer him consulting, as it were. It made us wonder – Why is he asking this question? We were not specialized in the alcohol licensing field.
This was the turning point for us as a company.
Instead of working on our pre-concieved notions about what our clients desire, we became fully committed to listening to our clients requests and help them with what they wanted.
We then began to specialize in Sake consulting as a trade and haven’t turned back since.
So we changed up. Instead of providing many different types of licenses, we focused on helping our customers with liquor licenses, and we finally went for the big fish. An export license. The Sake export business is a much more difficult market than any other online wine or Sake market because the requirements are much higher. The company needs capital enough to export a 40 feet container worth of Sake and the person managing the business needs skills that are transferrable to other countries.
When this started, we weren’t yet specialized in these sorts of licenses, but this was how it all started. We listened to what one of our clients wanted and realized; ‘There’s an opportunity here, if we supply our client/clients with something they want. The important thing in business is to always listen to the voice of the customer, interpret and follow his needs and requirements. We’re not trying to push products upon them, but rather trying to find out what they want and then providing this to them.
Now, years later, we’ve realized the purpose of our business. When I took the Sake professional course for foreigners, a lot of people came from overseas, and they said “Only a few sake brands are available. We want more quality items!”. This was one of the things that started me thinking. We are now a full-fledged export/import consulting business in the world of Japanese Sake. Our customers are international and want to experience the full world of Japanese spirits without being bound to the brands that are exported to international restaurants or specialized stores. Domestically, we are constantly approached by different Kuras and asked to carry their products internationally, make a market for them in foreign nations. Offers and interest is now coming in at a completely different rate than before.
As a business, we offer a complete service to our customers that is specialized upon giving our customers the Sake they want – complete with accurately translated boxes and etiquettes. That is how our business idea and how our business has involved.
There is true potential in Sake. These days, it is is getting popular worldwide, but I think this is just a beginning. As people start caring about their health and different types of foods and drinks , there will be a higher demand for quality products like premium Sake.
If you’re interested in premium Sake, then I am the man to help you.
7,300,000 YEN ( about 96,000 US $)
Koganei Build1 #201, 1-7-6 Sengen-chou Nishi-ku,