The Things You Need to Know When Doing Business in Japan

Japan is a leading center for innovation, with its highly attractive business and living environment – making it one of the ideal locations to grow business in. As a survey by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) demonstrates – Japan has a stellar reputation among Western and Asian companies which are attracted to its Research and Development (R&D) capabilities and advancements and well-developed laws (i.e. intellectual property rights).

However, despite that companies are continuously pulled to Japan’s shores because of a number of reasons, and while it ranks as the world’s third largest economy; when it comes to ease of doing business, it lies in the 114th place – making the country quite difficult to penetrate.

For many businesses, particularly the Westerners’, the Japanese culture and their ways of doing business are often quite difficult to understand. It’s like trying to read emoticons not knowing what they mean – you are never really sure what’s going on in business meetings and negotiations and there is always that hesitation to ask questions because you might not get a straight answer or no answer at all.

Often times, the perhaps-most-asked-question, “why is business in Japan so difficult?” demonstrates the challenges faced by firms. However, rather than discussing the pitfalls of entering the Japanese market, it is better to consider the following tips of the things you should bear in mind when doing business in Japan.

Do your research.

Now, this might be a very obvious thing to do when establishing businesses anywhere. But when entering the Japanese market, there is no winging – conducting significant market research in Japan before launching your service is very crucial as it is one of the primary keys of creating a winning market entry strategy.

One of the important things to conduct research about is understanding the Japanese consumer behavior. According to Nicolaos E. Synodinos – in his paper “Understanding Japanese consumers: Some important underlying factors” published in the 2001 Japanese Psychological Research – understanding the “critical factors is a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for the development of theoretical frameworks of Japanese consumer behavior.” Moreover, he added that pinpointing the important factors that affect Japanese consumption can broaden one’s understanding of consumer behavior, in general.

Create a digital presence.

Japan has the reputation of being technologically advanced. This means that they are very much aware and can easily adapt to the modern technological changes, particularly the social media. One of the most popularly used social media platform in Japan today is Instagram.

While the rest of the world use these applications merely for entertainment, the Japanese people understand that there is more to using them than just sharing photos, they utilize them as tools to share experiences.

Grab the opportunity to create a well-thought-out digital strategy and web presence. This will not only capture consumers’ interests and attention but will demonstrate that you are serious about being successful and most importantly, will create legitimacy.

According to an article written by Gary Mcrae, there are three critical points to consider when creating a Japanese website: always use a native Japanese copywriter, make sure that the owner or the CEO of the business is on the website, and always remember to put the FAQ page as it will help build trust among the inquisitive Japanese consumer.

Learn the Japanese business etiquette.

Aside from having a competitive mindset, the Japanese put a high level of value on etiquette and the different protocol during business affairs. And because this holds true to foreigners as well, though the Japanese are generally forgiving to foreign partners as long as they show respect and effort to understand the Japanese culture, it is important that you learn even the basics.

While it holds true that the nature and make-up of market in Japan is quite different from the rest of the world and thereby “has been characterized as an enigma to most foreign observers”, analysts believe that in terms of quality of growth, its rivals – particularly China which has a love-hate relationship with Japan (over issues such as world war, Nanjing massacre, and territorial disputes) and overtook Japan in 2010 to become the world’s second-largest economy – still lag Japan.

How to Become a Successful Etailer

The number of ecommerce and etailer businesses are continuing to rise. In fact, by 2020, online purchases are predicted to represent 14.6% of all sales worldwide, reaching a staggering $4.058 trillion.

While shopping malls and stores are experiencing a decline – of the 1,200 malls across the US, only half are expected to remain open by 2023 – thanks to convenience, competitive pricing and fast delivery services, ecommerce businesses are experiencing an unprecedented boom.

But with so many new ecommerce businesses appearing, how can you launch a successful etailer?

Social Media Presence is Key

Social media for etailers can do two things: build brand reputation and increase customer base. Social media provides an opportunity for online businesses to increase their presence, interact with customers, drive conversations, and give their brand a personality. Posting social media stories, answering questions and liking comments can all help to drive traffic, helping your ecommerce business to become successful.

Find Your Marketplace

There are two ways to operate an etailer: either by building your own website or launching a store through an existing marketplace. Each method has benefits – for example, a website allows you to design your own customer service and update your site’s SEO (make sure it’s optimized for mobile); while large marketplaces (such as Amazon and Etsy) are popular and viewed as trustworthy.

Software and Services

When starting your etailer business, you may be a solopreneur, or have one or two employees. Either way, with limited staff, it is essential to speed up and automate processes. This could include outsourcing accounting or hiring a software developer to build your website. This can free up time for core business activities – helping your company to grow faster – and make your business look more established and professional.

Think About Your Customer

Customers are vital to the success of an etailer business and should be your primary focus. Going the extra mile for your customers can help you to stand out from your competitors and  there are many ways to increase customer satisfaction. This could include: evaluating prices, offering free upgraded delivery, rewarding customer loyalty with promotions and discounts, and offering fantastic customer service.

Only Launch When the Above is Complete

Finally, wait before you launch. While you may be excited about your new ecommerce venture and eager to open your business, the launch is your chance to make a fantastic first impression – this is crucial to success. You only get one shot, so wait until everything is ready and in place.

As ecommerce continues to thrive, now is a great time to start an online business. Hopefully these tips will ensure your business is launch ready and help you become a successful etailer.

3 Pros and Cons to Staying in a Luxury Villa Instead of a Hotel in France


Southern France is a popular destination for people who are looking to have a wonderful vacation. There are simply so many things one can do in this part of the world that cannot be missed. The picturesque view of the Mediterranean, the serene countryside, and the delicious food you can try are just a few of the things you can see and experience. This is why for people looking to have a grand vacation; Southern France is one of the top destinations.

And speaking of vacations, vacationers like to consider staying in a luxury villa instead of a hotel in France. People have different preferences with regards to their choice of wonderful accommodation. While staying in a luxury villa can sound so amazing, there are also pros and cons that one must consider before choosing this type of accommodation for their vacation.

Here are three pros and cons for staying in a luxury villa listed on in the south of France.


  1. It ensures privacy.

If you are looking to have some peace and quiet on your vacation, staying in a luxury villa would be the best choice compared to staying in a hotel. Basically, villas provide you a stunning scenery and quiet atmosphere away from neighbors. This would be a great option especially for honeymooners looking for a romantic holiday. If privacy is your utmost priority in your vacation, then staying in a villa would the best choice.

  1. You get to have more space.

Villas are generally a lot more spacious than hotels. If you are on a holiday with your whole family or a group of friends, you would certainly not feel like you are cramped in a small space just like staying in a hotel.

  1. You can take advantage of excellent facilities.

While a lot of hotels can provide the same excellent and state-of-the-art facilities, luxury villas are well-known to have fully equipped kitchens, television, luxurious en-suite bathrooms. And what makes it even more attractive is that you have it all by yourself and not have a shared facility such as swimming pool with other guests.


  1. It is a lot more expensive.

Everything comes with a price and if you are looking for a more luxurious stay, staying in a luxury villa instead of a hotel in France is way more expensive. However, if you want to enjoy the advantages of what a villa can offer, then most definitely it will be worth it.

  1. You can’t easily go to the nearest attractions in the area.

Generally, luxury villas, especially the most secluded ones, are situated far from the town center where all the activities and attractions can be found. However, if visiting the nearest attractions is the least of your priority, then this should not be an issue.

  1. You will be left to your own devices.

As with other private lodgings, luxury villas do not have restaurants, bars, or casinos readily available. You cannot expect the type of service you can get in hotels such as ordering pizza at 3 AM or a midnight excursion to the bar in a luxury villa.


5 Popular Places to Buy a Home in Texas

  1. San Antonio

One amazing and popular place to buy a home in Texas is none other than San Antonio. The city is endowed with a myriad of benefits that can motivate you to buy a home in Texas. For example, the cost of living in San Antonio is quite affordable and therefore, buying a house in this beautiful city will not be a daunting task or a challenge. The city has social amenities that will cater to you and your entire family’s needs, be it entertainment, education, or healthcare. The city has some of the best healthcare facilities, amusement parks as well as learning institutions that offer high-quality education. Moreover, besides all these great facilities, the city has a diverse culture which is an extra plus. There are quite a number of sites you can visit which offer information on homes for sale in San Antonio TX, and this research will enable you to choose the right house to buy.

  1.    Dallas

Dallas has a high rate of employment, therefore making it a suitable place to buy a house in. It is especially favourable for college graduates who can easily get a job in Dallas and find an affordable place to rent before gathering up a substantial amount of cash to buy a house. Even while experiencing high temperatures like general Texas, the place has great climate all year round, another great reason to make Dallas your home. For those who love the arts, then Dallas is the place for you. It has a large arts district which comprises of various institutions and museums, making Dallas a hub for the celebration of the arts.

  1.    Austin

For the food lovers, Austin is definitely a great place to live. It has a large amount of popular local eateries with excellent food and treats and high-quality service. The city is also a haven of beautiful trails for nature lovers to hike on or to ride bikes. Austin has beautiful natural sights and lots of outdoor pools to hang out in on a hot day. The city celebrates the music and film industry as it is endowed with various music and film festivals, as well as film studios which support local production of films. This helps to provide a source of livelihood for those individuals in the film and music industry.

  1.    Houston

Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center, an establishment that trains all the crews involved in space travel. The Center is also used to carry out research. It is manned with able staff that are able to handle flight traffic and control it. Having such an institution in Houston has opened up opportunities for smaller aviation companies, allowing for the creation of employment opportunities for a lot of people and families.

  1.    Galveston

It borders the Gulf of Mexico and therefore has a large stretch of the beach, an extremely great attraction for the ocean lovers. Living in Galveston, therefore, provides a person with the opportunity to wake up to beautiful ocean sceneries daily. Moreover, the place mostly has buildings that were constructed using Victorian architecture, making the city a suitable place for history lovers.


3 Things I learned While Working in Commercial Real Estate

Venturing into real estate offers individuals an opportunity to interact with people from diverse sectors. You’re able to develop a wide variety of skills that transform you from a newbie to a who’s who in the commercial real estate industry. But for you to succeed in anything, you must have sufficient passion to enjoy your career and enough resilience to pursue it.

Most people consider real estate to be a complicated endeavor. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Philadelphia commercial real estate contains all the information you need to start investing in real estate.

I learnt these 3 things while working in commercial real estate:

  • Networking is crucial

A huge part of the real estate business involves networking and making numerous connections. If you’re the reserved, introverted type, you’ll probably learn a great deal from real estate. It’s one of those careers that prompts you to be at your very best at all times. So volunteer for an organization, visit your favorite coffee shop more often, join a gym or get a golf membership at the local club. Introduce yourself to people and make new friendships. Those connections might prove to be beneficial in the future.

When speaking to potential clients, avoid talking a whole lot about yourself. Some real estate brokers just love rambling about themselves rather than talking about important real estate business. Here’s another tip: instead of trying to connect with dozens of people within a short span of time, focus your quality time on one individual at a time. This way, you will create better bonds and longer-lasting relationship with clients.

  • Get a mentor

As the adage goes, no man is an island. You’ll need a lot of professional help as you maneuver through the murky waters of commercial real estate. Be proactive and have an exquisite attitude. This will help you to be more approachable. Apart from showing some genuine interest towards senior brokers, be teachable. Listen to the words of real estate modules. Have one-on-one conversations with people that will add value to your life and career. Ask questions and seek clarifications where necessary.

It’s tough when you’re starting out in commercial real estate. It’s possible to close one or two deals within the first few months – what matters is your persistence. So get a few mentors, learn from them, research the market and learn your way around the ropes.

  • Maintain current trends

Many brokers make the mistake of sticking to their guns even when their peers learn advanced techniques of closing deals and making new connections. One thing I learned from this industry is to evolve. Maintain the learning curve and engage with the latest trends and technologies. After all, your ultimate goal is to become a lion in the real estate jungle. Be willing to actively learn new skills, expanding your technical knowhow to stay ahead of the pack. It also pays to follow your gut. Remember, life will throw you a lot of lemons. What you do with the lemons is entirely up to you. Make lemonade!

How to Save a Lot on Real Estate Photography

When it comes to selling your home, having professional pictures is crucial to creating appeal and value. If a home’s listing has terrible or absent pictures, a buyer will not be interested in viewing it at all. The quality of real estate photos can make or break an entire listing, and it’s important to know how to take photos that reach an industry professional standard.

In this guide, you can gain a few tips on how to save a lot on real estate photography. Whether you have the tools and skills to take the photos yourself, or you are interested in hiring a professional, you will want to do everything you can to cut costs while still having the best pictures possible.

Here’s how to do it!

Step 1: Bring a Wide Angle Lens

Having just a single lens won’t be good enough to capture the shapes, sizes, dimensions, and structures of the home. Each room should be photographed with special care and attention to its layout. A wide angle lens can really encapsulate an entire living room, and can help viewers see that each area is truly sprawling. With a narrower lens, you may leave some essential viewpoints out of the picture.

Step 2: Use Plenty of Lighting

With real estate photography, lighting is your best friend. If there isn’t enough lighting available in the rooms you’re shooting, be sure that you or your photographer brings plenty of light stands. Bring light stands of different sizes, too. There won’t always be an available table for you to set your light on. Whether your light is on the floor or held up high, keep things bright and illuminated for a better quality picture.

Step 3: Learn the Power of Editing

The concept of editing professional-quality photographs may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Popular software programs such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Bridge can help you make fast, easy, and beautiful edits. Plus, you can keep your pictures all in one place for quick access.

Step 4: Establish an Excellent Contract

Having a well-written contract can really help you save a lot on real estate photography. If you aren’t sure where to start, get a photography expert to help you. You can see what other professionals recommend when it comes to establishing the perfect home photography contract. Without a contract, the home may not even be camera ready when you arrive. A lot of cleanup and staging needs to happen before you can take good quality photos. Plus, you want to make sure your photography efforts are worth your time. Don’t waste money for no reason.

Whether you are taking your real estate photos yourself, or you are trying to hire someone to get the job done right, you can save a lot by knowing how to prepare beforehand. The photography session can be fast and simple without any obstacles being in the way. Be sure that the home is thoroughly cleaned and set up for the best photography moments. Establish a contract between the photographer and the owner to ensure that everyone is being compensated fairly for their time. Use a few simple editing programs to really make the pictures pop. And remember, try to take as many pictures as possible – you can never go overboard with professional quality photos!

Tips for Building Your Credit Without Getting a Credit Card

Credit cards aren’t for everyone, and you don’t need them to have a high credit score. Having credit cards won’t make building your credit easier or faster. In fact, they’re just as likely to get you in financial trouble as they are to help build your credit profile.

In that vein, the following tips will help you build a robust credit portfolio and help you achieve the kind of excellent credit rating you need. More than that, you’ll also learn a few “credit building” strategies you might want to avoid and the reasons why.

Check Your Credit Report

If you’re trying to improve your health, you check with your doctor to green light your exercise plan. If you’re aiming to improve your credit, you need to know your credit score. There are a number of free, legitimate online tools to help you do just that.

Once you have your score and your report you know where you’re starting from. It’s important to go over your report to make sure that any entries are justified and correct. If there are any mistakes on your credit report, you must correct them. Those mistakes could be anything from a clerical error to identity theft.

If you think you can skip this step and everything will be fine, consider that a 2012 FTC study found that 1 in 5 consumers had a correctable error on their credit report. The follow-up study found that higher than 60% of those with errors felt that their scores would be positively and significantly affected by correcting those errors.

Challenge Any Mistakes or Inconsistencies on Your Credit Report

Correcting something on your credit report can take time. Once you have found an error, such as a closed account showing up as active or unknown credit activity, you can move to have it corrected.

  • First, gather any information or documentation supporting your request to correct the error.
  • Second, contact the credit bureau that has logged the error. This may mean contacting more than one credit bureau.
  • Third, if the issue is clerical, you may be able to work it out with the data furnisher aka the company that logged the mistake.

Though the process is relatively straightforward, it can take 30 to 45 days for a dispute to reach its conclusion. However, most disputes are solved in 14 days or less.

Have a Plan

Once you know your starting point, you need a plan for where you want to go. What part of your credit report do you need to work on? If you’re starting from zero and just want to improve your score, just about any of the following strategies could be your starting point.

In any case, it’s important to know just how many resources and how much money you’re willing to put toward any credit building plan. It’s also important to remember that, over time, you will need a healthy mix of loan types and credit lenders to raise your score. Plan accordingly.

4 Top Credit-Building Strategies

Ask for Your Utility and Recurring Bill Payments to be Reported

Payment history can make up as much as 30% of your credit score. By asking your utility companies to report your payments, you can set up a stable payment history in a short amount of time.

Make Sure Your Rent or Mortgage Payments are Reported

Will this affect your credit? Yes and no. While rental payments may not change your score directly, they may raise your chances of securing a better loan. Many lenders will look at your living situation and payment history, rental or mortgage, to determine whether your not to approve your loan. It shows that you are capable of making steady payments and helps with proof of income.

To make sure they see these payments, make sure you are listed on the rental agreement of any property you pay rent for, even if it’s just a room.

Take Out a Credit-Building Loan

Credit-Builder Loans were created for the exact purpose of building credit without access to other types of loans or accounts. Once your application has been approved, and nearly every application is if you have significant proof of income, you will start making payments. Those payments are sent to a special type of “savings” account. Once you have made all of the agreed-upon payments, the money in that account is released to you.

Utilize a Short-Term Loan or Installment Loan

You can get a credit-building short-term loan at Check Into Cash as well as a traditional bank. These types of loans are meant to be paid back in a short period of time, as little as two weeks and as long as six months. A short-term loan, if all the payments are made on time, will help build up your payment history and add diversity to your credit profile.

Less Effective and Risky Credit-Building Methods:

  • Student Loans – Students can receive a small credit boost from student loans if handled appropriately. However, taking on a student loan just to build credit is usually a bad idea. There are much easier ways.
  • Rent-to-Own – Rent to Own Companies rarely report your payment history to the credit bureaus. When they do, it may not be consistent, even if you ask.
  • Authorized User Status – By becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, you link their score to yours. While this may be fine if they are responsible now, you never know when they’ll get in a tight spot and need to use that credit. This, ultimately, drops your score in addition to theirs.
  • Taking on Too Much at Once – If you are just now building your credit, it may be hard to get into a tight spot. However, it’s important to stick to your plan and only take on one, maybe two, credit building projects at a time.