Kongo Gumi is a Japanese company functioning from the 578 AD, it’s in construction, and it pride itself in restorations of shrines and temples. It stayed for this long because of strong traditions, business acumen and strength and keeping the company in the family. The element of care is a strong reason for staying long in business, the element of keeping the company within the family and also the element of high quality products and services.
Most businesses wind down because they move away from the tradition upon which they had started their company; there is no continuity and no maintenance of brand loyalty, they change what they do and start to deteriorate their products and service as they bring employees or directors who have no idea why the company had started to begin with. When a New employee join, there are no lessons to give, and no standards to adhere to. Most companies do accreditations and certifications (mainly the most known is ISO) but these certifications remain in archive and no new employee is told about them. And even if they were told, they tell the name and not when it was done and how we must maintain the certifications.
I remember in one of the universities I had worked in, we (the new employees) were given a week of introductions on the various departments, the teaching staff, the accreditations, the certifications, the international awards, and the quality of the teaching as well as the buildings; also the requirements specified for recruitments. I haven’t heard the word “care” in the whole week. Also I went to a university in Switzerland and another one in UK, they are is no longer in existence, as they were private and probably the owners had waken up at night thinking “oh, I must open a university”; and because of the lack of knowledge, the low quality and the lack of follow up with the students, both had closed down.
To be in business and for a long time one needs to have few factors ascertained:
- why am I opening
- what products or service am I offering
- what kind of team do I need to hire
- do I have enough money to open the business
- where will I open?
- are there businesses similar to my concept? or is it totally new
if we think of any coffee shop chain, the original shop was opened because the owner loves coffee, its not a new idea, its not the only cafe in the world, it doesn’t even manufacture coffee. Then he or she did a lot of advertising, and made it a very good coffee, made money so he or she opened another branch and another. The opening of international branches follows, and if you drink coffee in Timbuktu, or Baghdad it will be the same, hence the longevity. When the same person finds that the coffee is different, words will be told, and the business will go bust.
I still remember when we opened our little business, I thought that it was something new (this was prior to google or search engines), and then I found out that the whole world has a similar business. I thought “WHAT WILL MAKE US STAND OUT?” its quality, customer care and keeping it within the family. Once these factors change, we must evaluate and decide what to do next. A business has to be brutal, if we find it draining our resources with little income generations, we must cut our losses and wind down.
Remember, a business will survive when it has high quality products and services, it has “care” as the main factor: care for the clients, care for the team and care for the company.
Do not worry if you want to start a business, but worry that it must continue to survive for your family when you are long gone.