When it comes to entrepreneurship, inspiration can be found in a variety of places. For Michie Nagaoka, founder of renowned engineering firm, Miracle Solution, Inc., Japan’s innovative culture serves as great motivation.
1. What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
MN/ “I put a great amount of importance on the phrase ‘natural result,’ which means results will come naturally if you do what you can in the moment. I had originally heard this phrase from my grandfather, but it seems like more of a Buddhist teaching.”
2. What was the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as an entrepreneur?
MN/ “In business, I’ve never thought being a woman was a drawback. However, we don’t participate in after-hours business entertaining, called ‘Settai,’ which is a typical Japanese way of business communication that may lead to contracts. I think female entrepreneurs have to win business contracts solely through the quality of services we provide. However, that’s a world standard.”
3. What core values drive your business?
MN/ “In order to create the world’s best engineering company, I aim to control the management of the engineers, by the engineers, for the engineers.”
4. What value does EO provide you?
MN/ “There are many things I’ve learned from my Forum and chapter events. I have been largely influenced by meeting wonderful people and inspired by their accomplishments.”
5. What type of support did you receive when you first started your business?
MN/ “My mother gave me the support I needed in accounting, and colleagues helped me in the technical and managerial fields. Also, my experience and network in the local IT industry helped a great deal.”
6. What are some advantages of working in Japan?
MN/ “In Japan, there are a lot of business opportunities, not to mention a great infrastructure. It’s a lot of fun running a business in such a progressive environment.”
7. Are there any challenges associated with running a business in Japan?
MN/ “The biggest challenge is that engineering remains an industry that lacks manpower, especially in Japan. Another disadvantage is high taxes.”
8. What characteristics do you look for in an employee?
MN/ “I look for people who have excellent abilities and good personalities, as well as those who are unique and fun. It’s an added bonus if they have a good sense of humor!”
9. How do you manage your work/life balance?
MN/ “For starters, I make sure I eat well and drink alcohol in moderation. Recently, I’ve been trying not to work on weekends and rest more. This way, I can have more energy and concentrate during the week.”
10. Where do you see your business in five years?
MN/ “Our company will have approximately 100 IT engineers who will help solidify our role as the world’s best engineering company. Additionally, we will grow to earn one billion yen each year.”