Personal business history: My theory for making dreams come true
The other day, the publication period for a piece I contributed to a certain corporate public relations magazine expired, so I have republished it here.
The title is “How to make your dreams come true.” There were many failings and foolish mistakes, but the piece was intended to encourage and excite businessmen, so the style is a bit boastful. Your forgiveness, please!
I don’t look back on the past much, but there was this opportunity so I wrote it while remembering the past.
I am grateful to be able to receive a wide variety of work requests each day.
I receive consultations for art production, corporate branding, agent work for entertainers, startup investment, longevity, health foods, and, increasingly, on subjects related to SDGs.
Before the coronavirus, I had around 5-8 interviews a day and responded to the requests made there. In a year, I meet around 200 companies. Now, things are online and have become easier, but the uncertain times have not changed the number of consultations.
There are two types of consultations I do not do.
The first is get rich quick schemes. I am not interested at all. I tell them to get rich on their own.
The other is when, along with the contents of a project, I am also asked to help raise funding. In general, I refuse these. “Raise funds on your own,” I say.
My first fundraising attempt was in my third year of middle school. Until that point, I had been shooting independent films with 8 mm film. However, to submit films to international competitions recognized by adults, I needed 16 mm film. With that proposal, I visited the homes of several film directors. I did not know producers were the ones who acquired funding for films.
At the time, there was “Film and TV Almanac” of sorts from which I would note down addresses at the bookstore. Luckily, my proposal caught the attention of the director Yoichi Takabayashi. I was able to borrow equipment without charge from the Osaka Institute of Photography, where the director was an instructor. Also, if I recall correctly, he provided around ¥100,000.
Afterward, as a high school student, I achieved a small success by airing my film in Osaka as a pair with Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Woman in the Dunes.” A huge factor in this was that I was able to place an ad (with a photograph) in “L Magazine” (at the time, the publication was something like the Osaka equivalent of Pia).
My next successful project occurred during my time at Nihon University College of Art. I started a theater troupe and managed to make public performances profitable. Student-run events had low prices because they were only attended by friends and relatives. This put all of the events in the red. However, I thought that prices could be set high precisely because only one’s inner circle was invited—they would attend regardless. This put the project in the black.
Then, I became a member of society. At Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, I carried the bags of Banjiro Uemura, the company’s founder. Up close, I watched and learned as he launched new projects one after the other. From how to set up a TV station to how to install a supermarket banner, there were all sorts of new and original things to work on.
At Sony Pictures Entertainment, as the person responsible for new projects, I was involved in a lot of media development and was able to learn of Hollywood’s “Jewish way of thinking.”
When establishing Sony Digital Entertainment, Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony’s CFO at the time, invested ¥700 million after a single presentation. At that time, he said, “If it doesn’t work in three years, quit. Until then, I won’t interfere.” He kept his word. Thankfully, after being blessed with successful titles in its second year, the company has been in the black ever since.
At age 52, I left Sony and started my current company, Speedy Co., Ltd. We launched as a cafe with capital of ¥10,000, but, so far, all our projects are on the right track. I am blessed with my staff and the friends around me. That may also be the secret to having things go well.
In my career, I have never raised money from VCs to start companies. This is probably because I worked at a veteran’s owner-operated company and a large corporation. One can save time when there’s only one person to convince.
Now, as for the main subject of “how to make a businessman’s dream come true,” my method is simple.
– Take the project you want to make into reality and distill it down until you can explain it in one minute.
– Write that project down in bullet-point form on a single sheet of paper.
– Make several copies of the project proposal and put each copy in a plastic sleeve. (By the way, lately, some of my dreams are to make electric cars, become a rapper, make a city with 3D printing, and purchase a radio station)
Last but not least, whenever you meet someone, regardless of their situation, tell them about your project. Projects will not come true if you do not talk to people about them. That energy is important, and, as you speak about your projects, you will come to understand their weaknesses and society’s sensibilities. The more you talk to people about your projects, the better they will get. Each time, make revisions to the single-page proposals.
Now, the secret to success. This is the simplest. Do not stop until you succeed!
That is my “method for making dreams come true.” Everyone can have their way of doing so. But I hope that my method can also be of help.
Eat well, sleep well, and keep on talking. Then, without a doubt, your dreams will come true!