What is the “entrepreneurial spirit” required of entrepreneurs? Points that can be seen from successful cases

In this article, after explaining the background and definition of why entrepreneurs are needed, we will discuss “What kind of person is an entrepreneur?”, “What kind of entrepreneurial spirit is required of an entrepreneur?” What are the elements in the background? ” For business people who have started to think about starting a business, we hope that it will be a clue to take the first step.

Table of Contents

Why Entrepreneur is Needed in Japan

The background to the demand for entrepreneurs is related to the number of startups in Japan. Although it has been on the rise for the past few years, it is still sluggish, and entrepreneurial motivation is low even by international standards.

When compared with overseas, the difference is obvious. Comparing the number of university-launched ventures in Japan and the United States, which is the background to the birth of entrepreneurs, as of 2017, there were 1,080 companies in the United States and 184 in Japan, just one-sixth.

In addition, the scale of investment to support startups is less than 1/20th that of the United States, and the number of unicorn companies is less than 1/65th.

Looking at the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the United States has doubled compared to 20 years ago, while Japan’s GDP has remained almost flat at 0.1 times, indicating that Japan’s ability to create new industries is weak. I understand.

However, there is absolutely no such thing as starting a business in Japan. Former Prime Minister Abe made the following statement at the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation held in 2020.

We will connect new innovations and the power of science and technology to the resolution of various social issues. That engine is entrepreneurship. Venture spirit is the driving force to open up a new era. We will continue to produce human resources with an entrepreneurial spirit. To that end, we must create a new ecosystem in Japan.

In today’s world, where society is changing dramatically and consumer needs and values ​​are diversifying, entrepreneurs are indispensable as key players in bringing about innovation. In response to these changes, there is a need for entrepreneurs who can develop their business not only in Japan but also overseas.

What is the definition of an entrepreneur?

I know the word entrepreneur, but what kind of person does it refer to? Few people can give a clear answer.

Entrepreneur is commonly defined as an “entrepreneur,” but it has a much broader meaning.

According to the educational philosophy of Tokyo University of Science, which participates in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Next-Generation Entrepreneur Development Project (EDGE-NEXT) , an entrepreneur is defined as a person with the following “entrepreneurship”. increase.

  • Utilize own expertise (science, technology, management)
  • Solving social problems and creating new industries and new services
  • ambitious for a better future

Looking at these, we can see that entrepreneurs are people who take on challenges in new business areas and create innovations that bring growth and prosperity to society.

In other words, anyone who has these three spirits can be called an “entrepreneur” regardless of their title, whether they are a large company, a venture company, or an in-house entrepreneur.

3 things you need to be successful as an entrepreneurial spirit

Elements of success for entrepreneurs

What kind of person is suitable for entrepreneurship? Here are three common denominators I see from successful entrepreneurs.

1. Have a vision

Entrepreneurs must have a vision of what they want to achieve in society in the future.

For example, Mr. Miyata, an entrepreneur who developed the human resource management software “SmartHR”, faced many obstacles such as changing jobs, intractable diseases, and business failures before he succeeded. Mr. Kamata of UUUM, which develops business using influencers, said, “If you want to start a business, think 100 times and deny it 100 times.”

If it is simply “for the sake of making money”, it will be a failure if the sales decline. In order to face such difficulties, we need a vision that does not waver no matter how many times we are asked, “Why are we doing this?” and “Is it really necessary for society?”

2. Know what you’re good at

The best entrepreneurs gather information until they know more about their business than anyone else.

For example, Mr. Minami of BizReach searched for information on “direct recruiting,” which was not yet available in Japan at the time, and conducted extensive research, including overseas. Mr. Miyata of SmartHR, who was mentioned earlier, decided to start a business with a strong desire to “create a product that will go down in history” in his field of specialty.

If you’re going to take on the challenge of starting a business that has no precedent , mastering what you like and what you’re good at will be the trump card to survive the pinch.

3. Repeat hypothesis testing

Have a clear vision and fight in your area of ​​expertise. The last thing you need is a heart that never gives up .

Mr. Kamata of UUUM, who was mentioned earlier, made a big change in three months from the business model he had in mind when he started the business. Mr. Miyata of SmartHR analyzed the cause of business failure in the past as “not seeing the needs of the world”, and created the human resource management software “SmartHR” through thorough interviews and verification.

“Never give up” means repeating the hypothesis verification process to brush up products and services in order to meet the needs of society and customers, rather than stubbornly defending one’s sense of values ​​and style. .

Startup Stories of Successful Entrepreneurs in Japan

entrepreneurial spirit

How did entrepreneurs who are actually active think and act? Share your thoughts and success stories.

Entrepreneur ① Launch of Japan’s first “direct recruiting” service Mr. Soichiro Minami, BizReach

・The opportunity to start a business

After working at a foreign investment bank, Mr. Minami joined the Rakuten Eagles in pursuit of his dream of becoming a sports business. However, during his job search, he felt a contradiction in the job change service at the time, and got an idea for a business problem that would open a hole in the recruitment market.

・Actions for entrepreneurship

Mr. Minami began by collecting and researching successful cases from around the world, instead of thinking about the new business with only his own head, and building a problem-solving method.

Then, he found the direct recruiting site “The Ladders.com”, which was still unknown in Japan at the time, and demonstrated his thorough ability to take action by traveling to the United States to interview the founder directly.

・The turning point leading to success

Mr. Minami explains that there is no right or wrong answer to the information obtained through interviews, and that it is important to look at things from various angles and set your own challenges.

“In the first place, what is the essence of this problem, what kind of approach, added value can be solved? Furthermore, when this is placed in the context of Japan, which elements are the same as overseas and which elements are different? It is my way of launching my business to drop it into a model while doing it.”

You can see that it is important for entrepreneurs to always keep an eye out for what kind of problems there are in the world when creating new businesses .

Entrepreneur 2 Job change, intractable disease, business failure … Mr. Shoji Miyata, Smart HR with adversity as a springboard

The cloud software “SmartHR”, which makes it possible to make various procedures related to personnel and labor affairs paperless, has registered more than 30,000 companies in the five years from its announcement in 2015 to 2020, and the service continuation rate is 99.5%. In 2018, it acquired the No. 1 share in personnel and labor software (according to Deloitte Tohmatsu Mick Economic Research Institute, “HRTech Cloud Market Reality and Outlook 2020”).

・The opportunity to start a business

Before developing this popular software, Mr. Miyata experienced many setbacks. After graduating from university in 2007, he changed jobs twice due to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, and developed an intractable disease called “Hunt Syndrome.”

“I was obliquely looking at the glittering people who were active at the cutting edge of the industry. I was smoldering because I couldn’t get it.”

He says that when he became ill, he felt a great sense of frustration because it overlapped with the time when Internet services were being created one after another.

In addition, I got a hint from the document application for my spouse’s maternity leave and childcare leave, and focused on service provision in personnel labor, which will grow into Smart HR later.

・The turning point leading to success

Mr. Miyata initially launched an IT comparison service for corporations, but the product failed to fire off, and even continuing to run the business as it was was a difficult situation. After experiencing two failures, Mr. Miyata analyzes the cause, saying, “I didn’t see the needs of the world.” Mr. Miyata’s third work, “SmartHR,” was born as a result of thorough interviews and verification of more than 10 ideas and analysis of what was the problem in society.

Mr. Miyata’s words, “I want to make a product that will go down in history,” even now that he has succeeded, are a manifestation of his strong desire to use his own technology as a starting point to convey it to the world in some way .

Entrepreneur 3 Mr. Kazuki Kamada of UUUM who continues to change speedily regardless of business type

UUUM, which provides a management business that supports influencers such as YouTubers and provides promotion plans that utilize them, has achieved rapid growth with sales of 22.4 billion yen and 502 employees (4Q of the fiscal year ending May 2020). accomplished.

・The opportunity to start a business

Originally, Mr. Kamata was entrusted with the operation of a mobile phone sales shop as the representative of a telecommunications company, but when he looked ahead to his own future, he began to think about establishing a venture company. While thinking about starting a business, in 2013, I met Mr. HIKAKIN, who is active as a YouTuber, and founded ON SALE, a company that aims to sell products using creators’ distribution.

・The turning point leading to success

As the world of Internet business continues to grow rapidly, the provision of related services is also required to change.

Although we started providing the above-mentioned ON SALE service, as we interacted with individual creators, we realized the essence of their needs, such as “cannot negotiate with companies” and “must be a corporation at the time of contract”. Therefore, we changed the trade name from ON SALE to UUUM Co., Ltd., and shifted to providing services that focus on creator management.

“What part of the business was accepted by users and what part was not? After assessing that, we focus on the part that was accepted and build a new business in the shortest way. That is the secret to success. I think.”

If you want to start a business, Mr. Kamata says, “Think 100 times why you should start a business. Then try denying it 100 times. Even so, if you can judge that there is a need, you should do it.” Instead of unilaterally imposing your own ideas, the process of verifying hypotheses while having dialogue with the market is essential for new business formation.

Entrepreneur’s “power to give” cultivated regardless of success or failure

Entrepreneur's "power to give" cultivated regardless of success or failure

Many entrepreneurs start businesses with the desire to meet someone’s needs and provide value that makes them happy. Also, when they think that a product or service is “different,” they immediately analyze the cause and actively change.

Until now, our values ​​have been based on the idea of ​​”technology first, product first”, such as “how to develop excellent technology” and “how to make overwhelmingly excellent products”.

However, today, when technological innovation is saturated, rather than forcing such self-satisfying values, I think that it will lead to a good human relationship with others if we work hard to give them values ​​that they will be pleased with .

At HubSpot, we have been advocating the idea of ​​”inbound” since the beginning of our founding: “First we provide value, attract the interest of the other party, and build a good relationship from there.” The underlying idea is to support entrepreneurs with strong values. 

Entrepreneurship without precedent entails risks, but famous angel investors say that in the future, “the time will come when entrepreneurial experience will be useful.” The ability to “provide value” through the experience of starting a business will be a power that will be incomparable to other employees even if you enter a company later. Entrepreneurship, which is cultivated regardless of failure or success, is worth considering as the greatest asset when considering a career.

Leave a Comment