I recently read this story in an online newsletter that echo’s my own experience:-
“Before the pandemic lockdown put a stop to my normal walking route, I used to visit one particular coffee shop that baked the most incredible croissants. For months, I used to start my early morning sitting at my favourite table in the window of that coffee shop, planning my day while enjoying that delicious croissant and sipping my tea. This week, I walked to the shop to see a shuttered building and a note on the window which read: “Sadly our journey has come to an end in our neighbourhood, we can no longer stay open due to the impact of Coronavirus on our business. Thank you for your support.” I was so sad to see yet another business closing its doors, a business I had come to love and that was part of my daily life.”
Reading this made me feel both sad and also grateful that our business is still standing. While contemplating the strategies, planning, hard work, determination and perseverance that goes into it, I found myself humming Elton John’s song ‘I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah.’ Whilst it is a love song, the relevance of the words are not lost on me:
“Don't you know I'm still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I'm still standing after all this time”
Did you know that the oldest company still operating today started in 578 AD and is still operating in the same town as Kyocera Document Solutions Global Headquarters – Osaka Japan.
The Kongo Gumi construction company was established by an immigrant, who was commissioned by Prince Shotoku to build the Shitennō-ji Buddhist temple. Kongo Gumi was a family-run company for around 1,400 years until 2006, when the company struggled financially and became a subsidiary of Takamatsu. Before the merger, it employed over 100 individuals and had an annual budget of around $70 million. A family business for one thousand four hundred years!
It is interesting to note that 9 of the oldest companies still operating are Japanese. The fact that Japanese companies emphasise sustainability over the quick maximisation of profit, is a major reason why so many of the nation’s businesses have such staying power. Many long-standing businesses are also dedicated to high level customer service, an element known as omotenashi, and try to anticipate what customers need because they fuel the sustainability that Japanese companies value.
In this phase of rebuilding our own business, it bodes well to remember our roots and the key philosophies on which Kyocera was founded. By taking a long term view and focussing on our customers, we at KDZA look forward to adding our names to history as a company that has survived and thrived over the years.