Five words of wisdom on setting up a business

From an idea through to a smile, veteran Japanese businessman Masaaki Ogino lays down the path.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 June, 2016, 9:11pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 June, 2016, 9:13pm

An idea, planning, capital and courage may be vital, but a smile is also important when setting up your own business, according to veteran Japanese businessman Masaaki Ogino.

The founder and chairman of clothing manufacturer Fenix and chairman of the non-profit organisation Wakyokai, which aims to help Japanese youngsters do business in Hong Kong , shared his views on how to start up a company.

Idea — All companies need to start with a business idea. If the idea is not practical and realistic, it will not work. Ogino said young people do not lack ideas but often the problem is that they only have the idea and have done nothing to turn it into a realistic business.

Capital — Any idea would only become a reality with the necessary capital investment. This is easier today than before because although banks are reluctant to lend to young people, there are still a lot of venture capital or private equity funds that are willing to invest in start-ups.

Courage — This is what youngsters lack nowadays. Many young people have enough money to begin a company but they are too worried about losing it and are not brave enough to set up a firm because of the fear of failure.

Planning — Ogino said this would be the role of Wakyokai, which can provide help to young people in planning a business by giving them advice on such things as how to manage their cash flow. His organisation could explain that products launched at the wrong time would not work, or if a product sold well, but customers did not pay on time, it would affect cash flow.

Smile — If a person is running a retail business, the management needs to make sure the staff have smiles on their faces. He recalled many years ago when he was in a branch of City’super, he found all the goods were fine but the staff did not smile. A smile is important to show gratitude to customers. After his advice, the staff at the chain now smile more, which he said is the key to success for attracting customers to come back.