When I was working at the International Division of a major Japanese commercial bank, I had a mission to merge with a foreign financial institution. I did it with about 10 times higher investment return than the capital employed. I also worked as business consultants for the bank's clients to make them more successful. When I worked as president of a major real estate company which is a closely related affiliated company of the bank, I doubled and tripled sales and profits of the company. Since its annual earnings growth was highest in the industry when I worked there, the achievement was covered by major newspapers. When I served as president of a prestigious country club, an affiliated corporation of the bank, I got the corporation with cumulative huge debt in the black in a few years despite the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and March 11th earthquake.
Father of 100 yen lighters
About 4 decades ago, when I was working at a branch of the bank as Assistant Manager, I used to serve as a business consultant for the bank's clients.
One day, I got involved in the decision making processes in producing new products of a lighter maker. The company's president wanted to launch disposable lighters when expensive lighters such as Dupont, Cartier, Dunhill, etc. were available in Japan.
They consulted me on pricing for their new products. The production cost for their disposable lighters was 75 yen per unit. Accordingly, they wanted to sell those lighters at more than 200 yen per unit. I did not think that it was sensational enough. I suggested them to sell the products at 100 yen with one coin. It was the first one-coin price product in Japan. Amazingly, the company sold more than 15 million units of lighters per month and could decrease its production cost and wholesale price considerably. In this way, the lighter maker solved the high production cost problem. Nowadays disposable 100 yen lighters and 100 yen shops are disseminated to all over the world.
Restructuring of a prestigious country club
I was dispatched from the bank to a dying major prestigious country club to pick up its business as president. During the real estate bubble era in 1990s in Japan, the price for the country club's membership stood at 300 million yen, the second highest, in Japan. However, after the collapse of the bubble economy, the country club bought some more golf courses and was hit by the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers so that it was in quagmire of vast debt and the bank's closely affiliated real estate enterprise I worked for merged with the country club. When I went there at first in 2008, the company's management and employees lost their presence of mind.
I launched drastic countermeasures. After the March 11th earthquake in 2011, no Japanese felt like joining or holding entertainment events. After months of national mourning, I thought that many Japanese want to find a reason to go out to do something for a change. Therefore, I made up an excuse for them to go out. We printed special coupon tickets to allow visitors to play at much lower than usual and asked them to make monetary donations to the disaster hit area via Japan Red Cross. The project was very well received.
The country club could eliminate enormous amount of deficit and made over 30 million yen of financial contribution to the Red Cross.
I also made them to redesign their VIP rooms. I asked office clerks to wear kimono and work as waitresses when dignitaries used VIP rooms. The VIP did not go back to downtown Tokyo to wine and dine at Ryo-tei, high-end traditional Japanese restaurants. Instead, they dined at our club's restaurants because they could experience the atmosphere of Ryotei. In these ways, I could restore the crushingly debt-ridden country club into black in 1 year period or so.
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