Juxtaposing Japan

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.


Fearless Females

According to the 2012 Amway Entrepreneurship Report, women in Britain are less afraid to fail at business than their male counterparts and a  full 74% of them believe they have already have the skills to succeed as entrepreneurs.

We know that lack of courage/fear of failure is a barrier to starting a business for many, but when it comes to what motivates people, this year’s study held a surprise – showing that fitting work around family life is an equally important inspiration for women and men.

This article explores other gender-specific differences discovered in the study, which includes interview with nearly 18,000 people from 16 European countries. It was done in partnership with Entrepreneurship Centre at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians University and GfK in Nuremberg, Germany.

We believe the Entrepreneurship Centre Director Andy Goldstein best summarized the findings on females. He said, ”We have already seen women breaking down the barriers that existed in business and making a huge contribution in terms of ideas and the drive to make them work. The research shows that if they have an idea, they are prepared to run with it and this is something the UK and the rest of Europe must harness.”


Amway goes to Harvard

The Marketing and Consumer Packaged Goods Club at Harvard Business School had a powerhouse of speakers come to its recent Marketing Innovation Conference, including General Mills CMO Mark Addicks and ESPN CEO John Skipper.

Amway was honored to have our very own Mike Edwards invited to participate in a panel discussion about social media and ROI.

Edwards, Amway’s director of digital and experiential marketing, served on the panel with Jan Rezab of Socialbakers, Ken Mah of Danaher and Seth Diamond of Catapult RPM. The panel spoke in front of a crowd of about 50 Harvard Business School students.

Rather than identifying the shortest line between “likes” and profit, the discussion focused more on strategy and purpose. Edwards said social media at Amway is key for crowdsourcing innovation.

“It’s tremendous, and it’s proprietary for us,” he said.

That is one of the things that drives strategy, he said. He also commented on what doesn’t drive strategy.

“Getting fans and likes is not a strategy,” he said. “And planning your strategy based on content going viral is like planning your retirement based on winning the lotto.”

Panel members agreed that the definition of ROI in social media needs to be broadened.

“Social is about driving aspiration,” Diamond said.

The participants did not limit their topic to social media. After the official panel was over, they shared lunch with the business students where discussions turned to lofty matters of the Chinese economy, Indian infrastructure and issues in Pakistan. 

Combine that with their tour of campus and you could say the Amway team got a pretty nice Harvard education. Check out a photo album from the trip at our Amway Facebook page.


Wellness collaboration

Today in Moscow, Nutrilite scientist, Dr. Keith Randolph presented research results from two new studies at the US – Russia Scientific forum. The results demonstrate that overweight Russian adults have stress markers – biological indicators of stress – that may be linked to poor long-term health outcomes. Like their American counterparts, many Russian adults are exhibiting signs that suggest future poor heart health.

The research results highlight the successful collaboration between the Russian Institute of Nutrition, a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Amway Nutrilite Health Institute.

Scientists can use these markers to help people threatened by the onset of cardiovascular disease take proper wellness steps to improve their health.

Here’s Dr. Randolph discussing his research:

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