The current pandemic has made an enormous impact on the global economy and affected millions of businesses worldwide. The social distancing rules and lockdowns put millions of business owners in an unfavourable position. They had to send workers home and adapt to a new type of virtual workspace.
Despite the evident struggles that businesses are going through, these challenging times will teach us valuable lessons on how to handle a crisis and come out of it as winners. With that in mind, we bring you the story of an old Japanese Mochi store. It can serve as an example for modern businesses struggling to survive during a pandemic.
The Extraordinary Japanese Mochi Store
Japan is known for its variety of unique businesses that have been running for centuries. This Mochi store has been around way longer. A Japanese family started this business over 1000 years ago. They wanted to help people find pandemic relief while traveling across the country.
Located in Kyoto, Japan, this shop sells toasted mochi that still serves as a delicious refreshment for travelers in the area. Naomi Hasegawa’s family started the Ichiwa shop to support travelers during a pandemic in the year 1000. Believe it or not, this same shop is still up and running at full speed during yet another pandemic throughout history.
Like many other businesses, the Ichiwa shop was affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Sadly, the number of tourists in the city dropped to zero. However, the shop’s owners are confident that their business will survive. It has already survived many crises throughout its 1020 years of existence. These days, many travelers visit it just because they want to be a part of this store’s history.
The family that owns the shop has always put tradition and stability over profit and growth. This mindset allowed them to carry their heritage through years of plagues, pandemics, and floods.
What Makes the Ichiwa Shop Different
The Ichiwa store can teach us some valuable lessons that can be applied to modern business. Namely, a company or brand must have a higher purpose to survive for such a long time. It takes more than chasing profit to build an empire that can last for a millennium.
The Japanese business tradition includes maintaining core values known as “kakun”. They guide business owners through different challenges. These values consist of policies related to the quality of their service, employee support, and the way they serve their community.
The Ichiwa shop owners held onto their core values for centuries. The owners even resisted the urge to modernise their business. They declined to expand to UberEats and enable delivery because this type of modernization does not go along with their core values. They also refused to add any other items other than the traditional mochi and green tea.
The UberEats expansion and the menu’s change could bring the business more profit, giving the customers more options. However, the business owners chose to put their core values and tradition above profit, which allowed them to keep the shop alive for so long.
Lessons to Learn from a Millennium Old Japanese Store
If you look at most modern businesses today, they focus on rapid expansion and profit. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and similar food chains all seek to profit on every corner. That is why these businesses are likely to suffer from enormous sales drops in periods of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also, even though modern threats such as cybersecurity attacks were present way before Covid-19, the pandemic made the risks much higher. Hackers are actively trying to take advantage of the current situation. Also, they want to profit from people’s lack of cyber threat prevention knowledge. With that in mind, consider using a high-quality VPN as a part of your security plan for a modern business.
Modern businesses should learn from this millennium-old Japanese store that tradition and core values should be put first. This type of loyalty to tradition makes customers differentiate the shop from the competition in the area. The store’s exciting story and historical value are what make them a must-visit place on people’s travel lists.
Although modern businesses can pick up plenty of lessons from these traditional stores, we shouldn’t forget that we live in a completely different world now. With modernization and digitization being a major part of our lives, we must not forget the risks of running a business in the digital age.