6 Articles for Rethinking Effective Business Strategy for Japan

6 Articles for Rethinking Effective Business Strategy for Japan

What does an effective business strategy for Japan look like? 

Japan has the world's 3rd-largest economy, yet it ranked 29th in the Ease of Doing Business ranking. Why such a low score for a top 5 GDP country? 

Many reasons spring to mind: There are 11 days and 8 procedures before you can officially open your doors. (Side note: It shouldn't be so hard to open a business in Japan—and that's one of the reasons we started TokyoMate in the first place. Read our origin story here.) 

Another reason, and one that we covered recently, has to do with Japan's digital competitiveness score. Japan placed 27th in a field of 63 countries evaluated by the Institute for Management Development (IMD).

Countries were scored by how they fared in knowledge, technology, and future-readiness, and other sub-categories. For instance,

  • Japan ranked last in Talent: International experience

  • Japan ranked last in Business agility: Opportunities and threats

  • Japan ranked last in Business agility: Agility of companies

  • Japan ranked last in Business agility: Use of big data

Knowing the reality of Japan's business landscape can feel disheartening. However, opportunities are present for the enterprising. 

These articles will help you pinpoint deadweight, discover alternatives to under-performing methods, and streamline your processes to gain a significant, competitive advantage for your business in Japan. 

1. Effective Startup Strategy for Japan and Anywhere: Q&A with Jay Winder

Effective Startup Strategy for Japan and Anywhere: Q&A with Jay Winder

What can a foreign entrepreneur do to launch a startup in Japan? Should you worry about your startup idea being copied? What does an effective startup strategy for Japan look like? 

With 20+ years in the technology industry, Jay Winder is the Tokyo Hacker News Community founder and has established and sold 2 tech companies in Tokyo—Webnet IT and MakeLeaps; MakeLeaps, a business invoicing solution for Japan, won the Good Design Award in 2019. 

Australian(ish), currently in Singapore, with business investments in Japan, Jay Winder is an advocate for decentralization and cryptocurrency, an enthusiastic emoji user, and TokyoMate K.K.'s advisor.  

Here, Jay Winder answers your questions, drawing from his years as a serial entrepreneur and business owner, with executable insights on effective strategy for startups in Japan—and anywhere. Learn more


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2. Business Subsidies in Japan You Should Know About in 2021

Business Subsidies in Japan You Should Know About in 2021

Business subsidies in Japan in 2021 are plentiful and generous, but the application process requires a sturdy constitution and some targeted assistance. 

This article reviews the business subsidies that the central government has in place, eligibility requirements, subsidy amounts, links to official pages for each subsidy, open session deadlines and application periods to be aware of, and more.

The subsidies covered in this article include the following:

  • Manufacturing subsidy「ものづくり補助金」

  • IT/software subsidy「IT導入補助金」

  • Business restructuring subsidy「事業再構築補助金」

  • Temporary aid for alleviating the impact of the state of emergency「緊急事態宣言の影響緩和に係る一時支援金」

Learn more

3. Haken Agency or Virtual Assistant Company?

Haken Agency or Virtual Assistant Company?

You need to hire, but the process comes with delays, fees, and few good candidates—let alone results. Additionally, as a foreign executive in Japan, you are looking for a bilingual individual. Where does all this leave you? 

Often, right where you started: Needing staff, but not finding many options. 

In Japan, a standard answer to a plight like this is to turn to a dispatch agency and hire haken shain (派遣社員), temp staff sent by a dispatch agency. However, a remarkably parallel but less-widely known option is that of virtual assistant companies. 

Virtual assistant companies, such as TokyoMate KK, provide many of the same benefits as dispatch agencies, e.g., the speed of hiring and flexibility based on immediate need. 

Here's what you need to know about the similarities, the differences, and the issues of concern to think about as you look to expand your staff. Learn more

4. Looking for a Translator or Interpreter in Tokyo? Here's a Better Option

Looking for a translator in Tokyo?

Looking for a translator in Tokyo? Someone who can handle your Japanese vendor communication? Or your Japanese client communications for you?

What about an English to Japanese interpreter who can go with you to city office or your next big pitch meeting with Japanese clients?

There's an easier way than how you've been doing it up till now. From English-to-Japanese translation to Japanese-to-English interpretation, hiring a bilingual virtual assistant in Japan can help you navigate Japan with greater comfort and confidence. Learn more

5. How to Switch to a Virtual Office in Japan

How to Switch to a Virtual Office in Japan

Ready to say good-bye to high office leases? Want to know how to switch to a virtual office and shed unwanted overhead by using a virtual mailbox address?

Business owners who want to transition to a fully remote work model have a specific hurdle to clear: Japan's business regulations require companies to have a registered address. 

But is there a way around that?

Enterprise-sized companies might have the capital to maintain a physical office space while also branching into a remote work structure. But the dead weight of an office lease is a financial drain that could otherwise go to growth-focused business initiatives. 

Is there a way around this regulation that requires businesses to have a registered address? And how can you shift your company over to a fully remote work office? We take a look. Learn more

6. How to Do Market Research Like a Japanese

How to Do Market Research Like a Japanese

In the English-speaking world, a simple Google search will deliver to you the data you need. But in Japan, where you'll need to know the specific Japanese term to get any results, you might do better by building your own directory of relevant sites that you check regularly. 

To help you with that, here are the sites that Japanese research specialists and executives use when conducting market research for their industries. 

Bookmark this page for quick access to the information you need to make your next move. Learn more 


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