Our College of Management alumnus Mr. Ken Fujiwara gave a speech at NSYSU in Professor Young Ko’s class on the following topic: Strategy and entrepreneurship: how to start and grow business. We are glad to share an info about Ken’s background and the contents of the speech.
After graduating from Seattle University, Ken started being a car salesman in Toyota. After a few years, he was headhunted by Mercedes-Benz as a Project manager, then headhunted again after six months to be a regional manager.
When he was in the United States after college, he also served in the US military for about 2 years and was stationed in Iraq for 3 months. He decided to come home to Taiwan after 2 peers of his sacrificed during battles.
As an entrepreneur, Ken has several businesses going at the same time. He started the scooter leasing business targeting foreigners and local students for short-term leases or rental. Another business he has, which is running steadily, is a language educational school. In addition, he also owns a car sales business and an AI system business.
During the speech, Ken shared some business strategies to us with his personal business running examples.
Ken’s scooter leasing company also offers transportation services, and different payment methods (Paypal and bitcoin), customers can even pay at convenience stores too. The strategic differentiation highlights the user experience for their customers.
Another example is that, their AI system used for Online check-in might seem costly to their customers (it costs 2.5 million NTD), but it turned out to save their customers almost 3 million NTD in labor costs, pension and insurance costs at the end of the year. This tells us, differentiation can sometimes also save costs when it is properly executed.
Brand positioning is important to make your customers feel like they are in a higher status to enjoy your service. With the prestige branding, although Starbucks and 7/11 use the same coffee beans (according to Ken) but the prices are totally different for an Americano (from $150 to $35 a cup).
Expand your customer base and connections, and don’t trust anyone, because the business world is evil! Especially in regions you are not familiar with, you need to be careful about people talking big games. Also check the trade quotas and import/export taxes for countries that you want to do business with (for both suppliers and buyers).
Lastly, Ken mentioned that entrepreneurship is 50% luck, and 50% hard work. In a way, starting a start-up as an entrepreneur is to start begging for money when asking for venture capitals. This is one of the reasons why Ken did not ask for angel investors or venture capitals. They will also interfere your business decisions, especially when you are making profits.
His advice is to start business in a small scale and only use your personal savings or your personal capital. In the future, when people are interested, they will provide investment and capitals willingly without asking.
We thank Ken for his brilliant and practical speech and wish him success in future endeavors!