Is Your Business Planning a Miracle? Japanese brand could offer lessons

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Immediately after World War II, the Japanese economy was in shambles. Years of bombing have reduced the country’s ports, towns and factories to rubble. Despite poverty and decimated production capacity, the period in Japan’s history is now called the “Japanese miracle”, due to the rapid economic recovery which, within decades, would see cars, electronics and culture. Japanese women touch all corners of the world.

The period immediately following the war created unique opportunities for entrepreneurs who found solutions to the problems created by the economic crisis. One of these entrepreneurs was Tadao Kashio, who invented a small device called the Yubiwa pipe: a ring worn on the finger that held cigarettes and allowed wearers to smoke while using both hands to work, and also reduced the amount. of expensive tobacco that they wasted in every cigarette. It’s an archaic problem by today’s standards, and while I don’t approve of smoking (especially not while weaving textiles or mixing flammable chemicals), the Yubiwa pipe was an invention. important because it served as the starting point for the global company that still carries the Kashio brand. name: Casio.

When I think of the economy today, I can’t help but think of Casio. They turned a simple invention designed for a very precise moment into a lasting and innovative brand with decades of endurance. Over the coming year, countless companies will benefit from the pandemic economy, but will they be able to adapt and remain relevant over the long term? If they can keep the following things in mind, they may stand a chance.

Is it a product or a business?

If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, this question may sound familiar – and for good reason. Almost everyone has an idea for a product that they could bring to market, but creating operations that can improve products and bring them to market to generate consistent revenue growth is what makes a business.

Since the start of the pandemic, one category of consumer products that has exploded rapidly is that of protective masks. Scroll through social media and you’ll likely see ads for masks in different styles and colors, some of which may feature logos of sports teams or characters from movie franchises. These are bright young companies that grow quickly and demonstrate the power of entrepreneurs to meet the needs of consumers while accommodating different tastes and preferences. But if these entrepreneurs expect their businesses to endure beyond the pandemic, it’s time for them to start looking for the sequel.

Eventually (if not already), most households will have their mask needs met. Even further into the future, the pandemic will end and masks will no longer be necessary in everyday life. The difference between companies that will pivot successfully after the pandemic and those that will not is whether their leaders are already analyzing trends and developing new products that will keep them relevant.

It’s safe to say that Casio still wouldn’t be around today if they stuck with their original product. Instead, they predicted the growth of consumer electronics and focused their efforts on entering a new category. When planning your business, be sure to plan for current conditions and the next normal.

Is your market ready for long term disruption?

The above problem has a polar opposite, which has the potential to be just as problematic for existing businesses. It’s seeing the pandemic as a slowdown in their strategy rather than a protracted new normal and failing to adapt. Airbnb is an example of a company that quickly reinvented itself, shifting its marketing away from vacation and short-term rentals to helping renters find apartments and houses for longer stays. In their case, acceptance of the new normal quickly put the company on a strong V-shaped recovery as other hotel brands were hammered by the pandemic.

Executives cannot live in denial of how COVID-19 will affect their market. Events, travel and hospitality players may particularly need to rethink the fundamentals of their business models. Even when the pandemic ends, the “stay-at-home economy” could produce a long-term shift in consumer preferences that will see more virtual events, fewer trips and fewer nights on the town. Companies should conduct customer research now and try to predict how their market will evolve, and design products and revenue strategies for a post-pandemic world.

Will collaboration be your savior?

The real reason Japan recovered from WWII so quickly wasn’t a miracle. It was a masterfully managed economic strategy that included the help of policymakers and the collaboration of private sector groups called “keiretsu”. which included suppliers, manufacturers and banks with a common interest in increasing the value of each other’s shares. These collaborations created a close alignment between market and supply chains that helped meet the country’s reconstruction needs while rapidly capitalizing on new business opportunities.

Getting through the pandemic and thriving may require looking outside your own area of ​​expertise and leveraging partnerships. Leveraging the expertise of established players in a space is typically faster than building a competitive solution from scratch, so don’t forget the speed partnerships can provide to quickly reach and bring new customers to them. of value in an inventive way.

Prepare for your own miracle

However you plan to run your business during the pandemic, execution will either be your secret weapon or your downfall. Employees work remotely and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. Therefore, putting in place an alignment to pivot your business model and make major changes will take more effort than ever before. It is essential that companies invest in technology that creates visibility and accountability between your management and your teams. Working quickly, accurately, and clearly is essential for moving with the urgency needed in these pressing times.


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