Melissophobia is the fear of bees; blennophobia is the fear of slime; and chorophobia is the fear of dancing. In fact, from A to Z, clinical names for numerous fears exist.
In the 2010-2012 editions of Amway’s Entrepreneurship Report, the “fear of failure” was consistently among the highest obstacles to becoming self-employed. We believe this fear leads to a high gap between people who can imagine starting their own business and those who actually do.
So in our 2013 report, we took a closer look. We wanted to know: Did the fear exist because people did not believe in their abilities, their networks and ideas? Or because they did not feel supported by their environment?
Among the polled countries worldwide, 41 percent of respondents feared “financial burdens up to bankruptcy.” For 31 percent, “the economic crisis” turned out to be a considerable obstacle (even truer in the European Union). Non-financial fears included disappointing one’s family, loss of reputation, and and not being unable to handle the high level of responsibility.
The percentage of respondents who are fearful of starting an enterprise is represented below for six of the 24 countries studied.
These fears may not have clinical names, but at Amway we seek to “treat” them with a business model that is low-risk, low-cost and has built-in mentorship and support. And fear not, if it doesn’t meet a person’s expectations, it has a money-back guarantee.
The Amway Insider has brought you several stories about the Georgetown University Leadership Program, known more commonly as GULP.
The partnership between Amway, Georgetown and the Japanese Times daily newspaper brings Japanese professionals to Washington D.C. and Grand Rapids, Michigan, to get a primer on the American political system and see public-private partnerships in action.
In D.C., they visit prominent attractions and meet with well-known political insiders — most recently former White House Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. In Michigan, they meet with local politicians, including Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, and visit local attractions, such as Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
Now, over at the Amway Newsroom, we have an in-depth look at the whirlwind program, its history and its impact. The session is only a week long, but Georgetown officials say they can do a lot in that week.
James V. Parenti, senior associate dean for Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies, called GULP “the most energetic international engagement we have (at Georgetown).”
And GULP Principal Instructor Bradley A. Blakeman said the value of education is not judged in time, but in content.
“We can be flexible and nimble and entrepreneurial enough to create programs for a student body that only visits for a week,” Blakeman said. “But the content will last a lifetime.”
Read more at the Amway Newsroom and see a photo album of their recent trip at the Amway Facebook page.
When Amway releases its annual sales, people focus on the big number, sales of USD$11.8 billion for 2013, another record for the company.
But we measure our accomplishments in smaller terms – the individual successes of a lot of ones, twos and threes.
Ones, such as Patrice Deibert of the U.S., who has built a thriving Amway business in Japan.
Twos, including Vladimir and Elena Sidorov of Russia, who found an outlet for their entrepreneurial spirit in Amway.
And threes, like Minnie Wen, Li Man Bong and Roy Li of Hong Kong, each of whom started a promising career but wanted more control over their future.
Millions of people like Patrice, Vladimir and Roy are achieving their potential through their Amway businesses.
That’s why our annual sales are more than a number. They represent the collective achievements of our business owners all over the world, supported by our more than 21,000 employees.
To them, we say thank you, and congratulations on another amazing year.
When placing Japan’s results side by side with those of the 23 other countries studied in the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), some of the most glaring cultural differences about entrepreneurship become evident.
Others have reported on Japan’s hesitancy to embrace entrepeneurs, who have been viewed as self-promoting in a culture that values group harmony over individual expression. In addition, in Japanese culture, business failure quickly evolves into personal and societal shame, which is in deep contrast to a country like the United States, where failure is often seen as a necessary precursor to success.
The AGER data does not contrast these conventional beliefs, but gives insight into what could make Japan’s would-be entrepreneurs more risk-tolerant. We learned that:
- Only 17% of Japanese respondents ranked “independence from an employer” as an important consideration for starting their own business. For the rest of the world, that number was 43% and consistently one of the highest ranking reasons.
- In Japan, fear of failing with one’s own enterprise was the most prevalent in the world. More than nine out of ten respondents (94%) saw fear to failure as an obstacle to starting a business. This is 24% more than the international average.
- When participants in Japan were asked what would encourage them to start a business, half said that finding “mentoring and support through business networks” would. This number is twice as high as the international average (24%).
Thankfully, mentoring and support is becoming more prevalant in this nation where career success has traditionally been defined too narrowly to include entrepreneurship. And on the horizon: more entrepreneurial courses offered by top Japanese universities.
We look forward to following Japan’s emerging entrepreneurial culture in the coming years – and doing all that we can to stimulate it.
In 24 countries and from 26,000 people, Amway recently sought opinions on the attitudes, concerns and desires of would-be entrepreneurs.
Titled the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, the study provides an up-to-date view on self-employment potential and obstacles hindering entrepreneurial activities in Australia, Austria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.
The good news:
- More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship, a 1% increase over 2012 data. Even more encouraging? Nearly half of them can imagine starting their own businesses.
- Respondents from Denmark have the most positive attitude toward self-employment (89%). Finland follows with 87% and the Netherlands rounds out the top three most positive countries.
The rest of the story:
- We found that 65% of would-be entrepreneurs were motivated by the desire to be independent. People want to control their time and their futures. They want to set their own hours, goals and priorities — be their own boss.
- For years now, our study has shown that fear of failure is the biggest obstacle to becoming self-employed. The fear to fail has lead to the gap between the number of people who can imagine starting their own businesses and the number who actually go for it.
- We believe it’s urgent to support the activation of potential entrepreneurs by jointly raising awareness, encouraging further debate and doing anything we can to negate fears.
Amway offers a unique business opportunity and we take seriously our responsibility to engage in the public discussion on entrepreneurship. The Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report is one way we do that. It provides decision-makers in the realm of politics, economics and education with real data to inform actions that encourage the foundation of new businesses.
After all, the more entrepreneurs, the merrier!
In three decades as an Amway business owner – primarily building her business in Japan – Patrice Deibert has learned a thing or two. Last month, she shared those learnings with employees at Amway World Headquarters.
Fascinating facts included:
• The entrepreneurial spirit often lives where you least expect it. Said Pat, “We can never tell who’s going to be successful – there is no specific personality type or DNA.”
• In Japan, an Amway business owner who has reached the Platinum level of achievement has an average of 169 people on their team. “The horizon up to and between different levels of achievement can be a long one. We always tell people the truth about the amount of work it takes,” she said.
• Japan is one of the leading Amway markets in GenY participation. In fact, she says the lobby of Amway Japan’s Plazas are often packed and at their liveliest at 10 o’clock at night.
• More math from Pat’s perspective: “The toughest part about the business is learning to overcome rejection. To sponsor one person [into the business], I talk to 20.”
• Even after 34 years in Amway, no two days are alike!
Pat and her husband both earned master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, and landed in Tokyo when he joined the United States Air Force. They started an Amway business with nine products to offer and zero Japanese language skills.
Owning a new business while adapting to a new culture was a lot to take on – but Pat reminded us that although no two days are ever alike, it’s a different story with people. ”Inside, we’re more similar than we are different.”
She speaks the truth.
A recent YourMoney article reports a sizable boom in the number of young professionals under the age of 25 becoming direct selling representatives in the United Kingdom.
How did they define sizable? A 29% increase from 2011 to 2012. In fact, the UK Direct Selling Association says that under-25s now make up 19% of its direct sales force. That’s 75,000 new entrepreneurs — a figure that might surprise those who think direct selling has lost some of its consumer influence to online shopping. But it does not surprise us here at Amway.
Last year, a study on 2012 Amway applications by generation showed that globally, more than one-third of our new Amway Business Owners (ABOs) were born after 1981. Leading the charge and recruiting the highest percentage of next-generation business owners is Amway Vietnam, followed closely by Australia, Malaysia and Japan.
Lynda Mills, director of the UK DSA, said it well: “For many young people, the jobs market is incredibly difficult to break into and there is a real desire to work for themselves and get up and running quickly. Direct selling offers just that and a chance for people, whatever their age, to be their own boss and make a very successful career.”
A recent study in Canada supports her assertion. It revealed that 30% of young Canadians believe they will be self-employed in the future, and one in four expects to be their own boss within the next five years.
Call it optimism. Call it an economic necessity. We call it reality — and we embrace it!
It was two years ago that the Minamisanriku area of Japan was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. Recovery is still underway, and it includes a project by Amway Japan called Remember Hope.
Last month they celebrated the completion of the framework for the first of eight Amway Houses, built with assistance from Amway Japan and Amway business owners. The community buildings will provide space for conferences, meetings and community activities for local residents.
It will be a gathering place for families and a spot for children to learn, play and have fun.
The celebration was marked with ceremony. Amway business owners and local residents attended, witnessing the traditional throwing of rice cakes from the roof.
The gesture, called jotoshiki, is a prayer for safety during the rest of the construction project. See more photos at our Amway Facebook page, watch for construction updates at the Amway Japan Facebook page and look for the full story at our Amway One by One blog.
In 1912, Japan gave 3,000 cherry trees to the United States as a goodwill gesture. Every spring hundreds of thousands of people visit Washington D.C. to see these trees in bloom.
To celebrate the centennial of that generous gift, the U.S. Embassy of Japan has given additional trees to communities all around the U.S. And one of those trees is taking root right here in West Michigan.
As part of Amway Japan’s sponsorship of the Georgetown University Leadership Program (GULP) with The Japan Times, a cherry tree has been planted at the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden under construction at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
The GULP program is designed to identify and develop future Japanese government and media leaders and build positive relationships. The fourth GULP delegation visited Grand Rapids last week, including the garden site.
Just as the original gift of trees was designed to foster friendship and positive relations between the two countries, this tree is a symbol of the relationships Amway Japan is growing with emerging Japanese media and government leaders through the GULP program. See more photos on our Amway Facebook page.
Our Vice President and Chief Sales Officer John Parker is the new Direct Selling Education Foundation’s (DSEF) Chairman of the Board.
He will guide the Foundation as it works with strategic partners that execute programs promoting ethical entrepreneurship and championing consumers’ rights. Some of these partners include American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI), National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Consumer Education & Protection Initiative and many more.
DSEF Executive Director Charlie Orr notes that John “knows and respects the distributor mindset as well as anybody in our industry.”
John has been with Amway for nearly 20 years, including stints as chief marketing officer and president of Amway Japan, so we know Orr is right. We also know that the DSEF is in good hands.