Small Business Owner in Japan
Becoming an independent small business owner in Japan was initially a frightening prospect. Upon graduation from university I moved to Japan. I got a job at the biggest English school in Japan and life was good, or so I thought. Less than a year in, the company went bankrupt. Unemployed and living in a Japan was not an ideal situation for me. With my visa expiration looming, I started frantically job hunting. Then came an email from Mark Smith, and life was good. For real this time.
Employee to Owner
First of all, was the move from working for a big English school chain as an employee, to a small business owner. Secondly, as far as my commute, I switched from being sent all over Kyoto and Osaka, to working at my English school 10 minutes from my house. Finally, As for my colleagues, they changed from a constantly rotating group of 20-something inexperienced co-workers to a solid core group of colleagues. This new group is a collection of English teachers and small business owners, entrepreneurs and linguists. I am happy to be part of this group, who have years and years of experience in this industry.
In my years as a Smith’s English School owner, I have had the privilege to work with the most collaborative and diverse group of people. One of my colleagues studied at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and is currently doing his PhD at Doshisha. Another colleague survived a tsunami in south-east Asia, attended university in America and finally became a businessman in Japan. Furthermore, I also have 2 colleagues who are published writers. Personally, my background is in math & philosophy, other members come from education backgrounds, still others from business.
Diverse group, Powerful Synergy
I love this group of owners and coaches that I get to work with. As a diverse set of people working together, we have created an amazing corporate culture at Smith’s. Individuals working together towards a common goal, creating a dynamic company. Today I may be working with a linguist and an educator to create curriculum whereas tomorrow may see me working on promotional materials with a web designer and an economic analyst. Consequently, whatever I need, the group has something to offer. In conclusion, running a small business can be scary, but with this group it is fun. My initial fears are no more, having been replaced with constant awe at the power of our group. These days, I love being a small business owner in Japan, thanks in large part to this great bunch of people.
Edward Iwaskow, Smith’s School of English Otsu Owner