Market entry and market success are obviously not the same thing. Once entry has been secured, consistent effort will be required to succeed in one of the world’s most competitive markets – even with the strongest of partners.
Your ability to bridge the cultural and language divide and stay connected to the action – providing timely support and encouragement – will have a major impact on results. Capable partners will be busy, with many demands on their limited bandwidth. To compete against all the noise and assure you receive proper attention, it’s necessary to engage personally and drive your company’s goals.
JapanLinx can be very helpful in this regard, acting as a regular liaison for day-to-day communications and project oversight.
Keys to success
Be patient. It’s well known that business in Japan can move slowly, especially in the early stages. Japanese business culture is risk averse and companies are cautious when evaluating new opportunities from abroad. Check your expectations about speed at the door and allocate plenty of time to find the right partners and get established.
Invest appropriately. One of the biggest mistakes foreign companies make is insufficient resourcing to support market entry and development plans. Japan is a rich market, but it can be expensive to operate in. Budgets should be driven by a clear view of what’s required to succeed there – not by abstract calculations made in the home office.
Nurture your relationships. Particularly in Japan, business is all about people, whether they be employees, customers, partners, or government officials. Maintaining positive relations on all fronts is essential to continued success and great effort should be made in demonstrating your commitment to the people who make it all possible.