FEATURED MEMBER - Jason Winder
Interview - March 1, 2004
Webnet IT is a technology services company that specialises in the design, setup, configuration and maintenance of information technology networks for small and mid-sized offices. “Uncompromising customer service and technical excellence Eis the company motto. The company is headquartered in Australia with a Japanese branch office where our bi-lingual, multi-cultural team has an unwavering focus on customer service and satisfaction.
Webnet IT provides a variety of services to help companies?ost cost-effectively Set up and maintain their IT networks. These include network design, hardware and software procurement, configuration and initial set up as well as ongoing maintenance, support and IT personnel outsourcing. Webnet IT will shortly be offering network inventory management as an additional service. We are in an ideal position to support foreign companies with no Japan experience. We understand how to get things up and running quickly and efficiently in an environment which can be confounding to a new entity.
We always enjoy an opportunity to talk about the best way we can help you. Contact details are on the website ∁E
Interview with Jason:
1. When did you start your first business? What was it? What lessons did you take away from that experience?
We started Webnet IT September last year. It is an IT consulting firm specialising in creating strong long-term relationships with our clients. I am learning every day but the most important lesson so far would be “Don’t ever let someone tell you what you can’t do E
There is nothing wrong with having lofty goals if you have the determination and team to back it up.
2.?hat are some of the challenges you have faced in starting your business and how did you overcome them?
Business was the challenge I faced in starting my business. I have been working with computers for longer than I can remember ∁EI got my first clunker PC when I was 4 years old, so the technical side of IT is completely second nature to me. However, actually starting a business and dealing with administration, HR, lawyers, accountants, cashflow, tax, etc has been an incredible experience.
I have been dealing with this challenge by reading. for 1 month I became Amazon.com’s favourite customer, as I progressively ordered books on subjects I realised I was inexperienced in.
My first large book order was customer relationships and customer service (keeping and satisfying the clients I managed to find), then negotiation (ensuring we were both getting a good deal), business and accounting (figuring out what all the numbers mean), selling and marketing (expanding and finding more business), and now management and motivation (helping staff achieve their personal best while reflecting the company values).
This advice was given to me just 2 weeks ago by a valued mentor, and I believe it 100% : “Never stop reading E
Challenges after this have been name recognition. We are excited that we have been able to service global companies, but we still remain largely unknown. This should hopefully change over the next few months.
3. How did you form your business? (Yugen Kaisha, Kabushiki Kaisha, etc.) How long did the start-up process take?
The head office of the company is in Australia, and we operate through the Japanese branch. The company is limited by shares, so it is a KK - the Australian term being Proprietary Limited. The start-up process took about 1 month in each country ∁Eit was perhaps slightly more complicated than the average Japanese company setup.
The flexibility of having 1 section of the company in Australia and the other section in Japan is fantastic. I am also trying to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in some people in Australia ∁Ehaving a company ready for business is a good motivator.
4. Where do you see your business in 5 years?
The same place its in right now. Serving a wide range of clients through a strong set of values and supporting our clients businesses. Of course in 5 years I am aiming for this to be happening on a much grander scale.
5. Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Why?
I suppose I am involved in entrepreneurial ventures, but I won’t consider myself an entrepreneur until I have reached a level of business that I am personally satisfied with. I set high goals so this may be a long time, but it will be worth the wait.
6. What is your definition of an entrepreneur?
Someone who can identify an opportunity, step out of their comfort zone and successfully pull in every resource they have in taking advantage of it.
7. What piece of advice would you give to a person wanting to start his or her own business in Japan?
Do it. similar to bungee jumping. the longer you think about it, the less likely you are to actually go through with it. You can come up with good reasons to not do pretty much anything.
For Japan specific resources, a Japanese person who is excited about what you are trying to achieve can be invaluable. They will be able to give you advice and help with the culture, language and things you might not have thought of in your business plan.
8. Can you recommend any resources such as books, websites, or support centers for entrepreneurs in Japan?
For books, my short list would have to include :
The Trusted Advisor
10 day MBA
On Writing Well
The Sales Bible
What Clients Love
Hug Your Customers
The E Myth
Your best support centre is a person to bounce ideas off. Whether they are a partner, business partner or good friend, you need a sounding board for your thoughts. On a side note, keep little whiteboards all around your house and a notepad next to your bed. All of my best ideas have arrived when I wasn’t expecting them ∁Eand you have about 5 seconds to write it down before it vanishes forever.
9. Who are your mentors in business?
I have a wide range of mentors, many of whom are my clients. I try and meet them regularly for an exchange on ideas and business status. I think an important key to succeeding is finding someone who has done what you want to do. The more time you spend with them, the more ideas and structure you will receive for your own venture.
10. What makes you happy?
Seeing a client happy with a solution I created or introduced.
Realising how lucky I am to be surrounded by such a fantastic array of friends, colleagues and mentors.
Trying to do something I thought was impossible ∁Eand succeeding.