Business Analysis

Whether you sell cakes or cars; we assume that you know your business.
Still this does not mean that you can sell your current product range in the same way as at home. You may be exporting to 50 countries and think Japan is just one country more – and fail.

Japanese have a different mind set, different customs and different expectations. You’re well advised in analyzing your market, competitors and the general business environment. Depending on your view point the related costs may be regarded as insurance costs or as market entry costs. If it turns out that Japan is not a good market for you you probably forgo bad investment and sleepless nights. If the decision is positive you learned a lot about your business environment.
We structure Business Analysis into 4 sub topics:

Market Research
Learn about your market. How and where are similar products sold? What is the price level? How do your products compare with local products?

Competitor Analysis
Do you have few big competitors or many small companies? Which companies would be your main rivals? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your main rivals. What are the main sales points of your products?

Distribution Channels
With the exception of few products like (download) software and services (e.g.outsourcing of software development) you need to physically handle the product i.e. import it, get it through customs, store it in a warehouse and ship it to the customer. The Japanese distribution system is expensive and you need to understand structure and costs.

Product Localization
Be it the Japanese product label, smaller packages, additional wrapping, translation or additional development in most cases you need to make some modifications to your products.

The result of these four sub tasks is a feasibility study which shows you either how it can work or why it won’t work. As such it serves as the basis for a GO or STOP decision.