Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Power of Being "Helpful"

It was a historical drama in Japanese Language TV Broadcasting here in San Francisco Bay Area.  So, I do not know how much it could be true.  But there was something which struck me to the extent that I wanted to share it with you here.  The age was the end of Edo Shogun Era.  There were lots of fighting and killing that time between Shogun side and Emperor side.  The ideology was everything and people kill, die, and fight for their ideology.  It was time for confusion for giving birth to new borne Japan.

While majority of Samurai were fighting each other for their own ideology, there was one Samurai trying to be a merchant.  He was originally one of ideology man.  He was against his clan's policy and put into a jail.  In jail, he met a merchant and learned goods value varies depending on peoples needs.  Out of jail, he bought a lot of wood materials.  He thought there were needs and market.  Yes, there are.  Most of houses were old and farmers and lower Samurais were living in half broken houses that time.  He was right.

However, he could not sell even single wood material until one day in his effort to sell his woods, he offered farmer family that he would repair their wall if they buy wood materials from him.  After he started to offer repairing houses for the people who buy wood materials from him, his business started to take off.  Soon he sold out his wood and could start to grow big.  He grew real big. Soon his company started to take government deals for transporting.  He is the founder of Mitsubishi Corporation, Yataro Iwasaki.

This story tells us 3 things. 
1)  Even the legendary modern merchant of Japan had to go through difficult time. 
2)  We cannot think light of power of "Service".  Repairing house is secondary for him and for his customer, but the customers did not buy wood material until they could get the service. 
3)  It is not material, but people's mind which makes a deal.  It is power of being "Helpful".  People buy from other people who they believe to be "Helpful".

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Shaw Funami
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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. Yataro Iwasaki certainly came up through the hard school .. I liked this example of showing how he needed to show how the wood, his product, could be used and then he was on his way ..

Thank you - Hilary

Shaw said...

Dear Hilary,

Thank you for your comment. Definitely Iwasaki came through hard learning. But it paid off for him. Do you think that we should learn from him when we go through some toughness?

Thanks, again!
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link