Entrepreneurs, young and old, are always on the lookout for the next big start-up business venture and these breakthroughs always start with an idea.
It is not always money that drives people to do start-up businesses. The best start-up ideas are inspired most times by a person’s passion and driven by a person’s willingness to solve a problem. Start-up entrepreneurs are eyeing ideas that will provide long-term solution to the problems posed by the target market.
Why are many young Japanese people nowadays venturing into start-up businesses?
The shift in technology is one of the factors in the increasing number of entrepreneurial young people nowadays. The statistics is not limited to the young Japanese but it also says the same to a lot of young people around the globe. The easy and affordable access to technology is creating a challenging yet promising culture of innovation among the millennial.
The strong and inclusive economic growth of Japan is also another factor. It means the country’s economy has the capacity to produce goods and services and the target consumers are capable to expend for these goods and services. It is an opportunity that entrepreneurs can take advantage of.
Where do entrepreneurs get their start-up ideas?
You’re not an entrepreneur yet, you didn’t finish a business degree, you don’t have any background on business, you never came from a family that runs businesses, but can you venture into start-up businesses? Definitely, YES!
Many start-up founders nowadays are like you – some of them are even school drop-outs – but their lack of business background never stopped them from launching start-up ideas that eventually became the next big thing. You can also do the same.
Most start-up founders got their ideas after recognizing a problem they personally experience, or their family and friends experience, and their start-up journey started by building their business around a solution to these problems. Surely, the question “what business should I start?” helps, as well as, “what could be a possible solution to this problem?”
Look around you, what are the issues, challenges, and problems that need to be addressed? Ask yourself, how can you help solve these problems? Ask around you, as well, and be open to ideas you’ll get from your friends and family. You can create a tool, a platform, or a system that could solve these problems.
You can also build an idea from things you are passionate about, things that you love. Doing a start-up business may sound easy, especially at the start when your energy’s at its peak, but as time goes by you need a lot of motivation to keep going. Doing something you love will help you keep going when things start to get tough, so better build a start-up idea around something you really, really care about.
Here are some of the start-up business ideas you might want to consider if you’re planning to establish one in Japan.
- An online platform for Education Assistance. You can make an online platform or application that will allow university students to seek assistance on some of their homework and projects, specifically essays, research papers, among other academic papers, as well as, presentations. The same online platform will allow experts in different field of study like Psychology, Literature, Marketing, among others, to accept writing stint for a corresponding fee. The target market of this start-up idea is not limited to the Japanese student population alone. It could also cater to university students from other parts of the globe.
- An application that will help farmers sell their products online. Japan is an agriculture country and there is a high demand for fruits, vegetables, livestock products like eggs and cheese, among others. Other may have thought about this already but a start-up that will cater to helping farmers sell their products directly to consumers through an app is a good idea.
- An application people can use to hire Interior Designers. This app can be useful not only to the Japanese market but globally, as well. Nowadays, everyone suddenly wants to #KonMari their houses, more and more people are going minimalist. Offering the market a platform that will allow them to tap experts that can help them design their houses could be the next big hit. It will not only feature Japanese interior designers, it could also feature other talents from around the globe. The app will allow clients to look into the profile of the designers, its previous and current works, and its rates and packages.
- Online English Tutorial platform for Students or Salary-men. English is still one of the universal languages, and more Japanese nowadays, especially students are keen to study English because most of them dream to travel around the world or work abroad. More salary-men are also keen on studying English for career advancement, however, unlike others who can travel and study abroad, most of them would prefer to learn at home if possible. An online platform that would allow them to do just that while at home could be a good idea.
- Personal wellness coach. Young people around the globe are already meticulous about their fitness and wellness programs. More people are putting so much time on their wellness activities that an online application that will allow them to be with a personal trainer virtually to motivate them is something to consider venturing into. The platform will also give budding wellness coaches the opportunity to offer their expertise either through recorded sessions or live sessions.
- Wedding photography and videography. I guess most if not all would love to have a nice memento of their weddings celebration. Many Japanese couples nowadays even hire international photographers and videographers for the prenuptial shoots and during the ceremony. A platform where Japanese and even international photographers can be featured so they ca easily be tapped is surely helpful for couples. You can start with tapping promising wedding photographers from Japan and later on expand to other Asian countries, where most Japanese couples usually prefer to have their destination weddings.
- An application that would feature performers, artists – bands, DJs, etc. In Tokyo and even in other major cities, events and parties are everywhere. It would be awesome if organizers will have a one-stop platform online where they can tap DJs, budding performers, and artists in Japan. It will also be an avenue for these artists to advertise themselves.
- Website development and SEO. Everyone is online. Your target market is online. You need to be where your market is and one way to go is to build your own website. Start-up businesses and even small businesses are now more open to bringing their product and service to where they are easily visible and accessible, thus there is still rising demand for website development and search engine optimization services. The playing field is getting more dynamic, especially online consumption and access are also constantly changing. If you can build a start-up that will offer web development and SEO services, it’ll still be a great idea this year and in the years to come.
- Social Media Marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, among other social networking sites, will continue to be relevant, especially for businesses. One very important element of digital marketing is social media marketing and it has proven to be as effective as placing an ad in a newspaper, and it even gives a much better return on investment (ROI). Putting up a start-up company offering social media marketing services is not a bad idea at all.
- Online Life Coaching. More people nowadays are open to enrolling themselves in short courses on specific fields that they feel they need more coaching on. Creating an application or a platform where people can tap life coaching experts is definitely a good idea. The platform shall offer services through online communication platforms like Line or Skype, or maybe in person, depending on the preference of the client. This start-up business will turn people’s best skills into something with value, as well.
All successful businesses started from an idea that is as simple as the ones we’ve listed above. You can still modify these ideas depending on your target market.
What are the necessary elements of a start-up business?
Don’t stop when you’re With your ideas on hand, there are plenty of things you can do to move forward with your start-up and here are some simple reminders that might help you.
Create a business description. What are the products and services you will be offering? Describe them and how do you plan to market and sell them. You can also include in your description the uniqueness of your start-up and how different it is from its possible competition.
Do a market analysis. Others overlook this aspect of business but you shouldn’t because this is very essential to the progress and success of your start-up. You should study your market, their demographics, behaviors, interests, and how do you plan to reach these target markets. You must study the existing competitions and how they fare in the market share, and how your start-up can be of more value to your target market, among others. Include in your market analysis the marketing trends and how your start-up business can take advantage of these. You can do a survey, interviews, and small group discussions, among others. Just don’t be complacent about your market analysis. It may entail a lot of leg work but it’s worth it!
Create a market strategy. Once you’re done with your market analysis, the next big step is creating your market strategy. If you’re eyeing investors for your start-up, your marketing strategy is one of the things your investors will look into. They would want to know how you plan to actually generate business. You’ve identified your target market already, then how do you plan to reach them? What are the channels or platforms are you going to tap to reach your market?
Do an estimate of the cost. A start-up endeavor cost time, energy and money. In laying down the basic foundation of your start-up, you have to give an estimate of the cost to start it, as well. Some people are scared of this part, you shouldn’t. You just have to be honest with your estimate so you would know how much you more or less need to get your start-up starting. You can also include in your summary of costs your forecast on expected expenses and revenue.
Plan how you will do the management. Market research and market strategy are important, and so is the management of your start-up. How many staff do you plan to hire? How do you plan to do the administration of your start-up? These are some of the things you also need to think of.
Come up with an executive summary of your start-up. It will come in handy in the future to have an executive summary of your entire business plan, covering the concise description of your business, your mission, vision, goals, market research, market strategy, and your financial forecast, among other important details.
I’m sure you already have your own ideas in mind by now and you’re probably writing them down. Keeping a journal of your start-up journey may help you and it may one day even be a useful reference for a book you will publish about how you launch your own start-up. Believe in your idea, believe in yourself, and believe in your cause.
Are you ready to create your own Japanese start-up business?
Again, success doesn’t happen overnight, it takes effort, time, and a lot of smart and hard work. If you start today, success may not come right away tomorrow but it will come eventually if you become relentless and you never stop believing in your idea.
Good luck on your endeavor and we wish you all the best!