How To Build A Business That Lasts 1,000 Years

February 25, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Japan has a few companies that have existed for over a thousand years. Joe Pinsker took a look at the secrets to their success:

  • The oldest businesses are in industries that don’t go out of style: making food, shipping goods, and constructing buildings.
  • The country is flexible about passing businesses down a generation. If a family felt that their own child wasn’t worthy enough to run the family business, they would “adopt” a more suitable heir.
  • This explains why while in most of the world those adopted are usually children, in Japan 98% of adoptees are 25-30 year old men.
  • For a long time Japanese banks were expected to help out all struggling companies. As a result, according to one estimate, between 1955 and 1990 less than a hundred companies went out of business.
  • Things are changing though. In 2007 a 1,429 temple construction business ran out of money. Soon after a 533 year old company, and a 465 year old company went out of business.
  • This is in part because a change in the law meant that it was difficult for struggling businesses to get help from banks.
  • Younger Japanese consumers also care less about a company’s history.

Read about some of the older companies still operating in Japan, the 10 foot 17th century scroll that traced a company’s owners, some fascinating statistics, and much more over here.

Source: The Atlantic