If you are having a hard time sleeping at night because of the responsibilities and heartache you are going through, please don't be desperate and think first and foremost about protecting yourself and your family. Please believe that as long as you are alive, you can start again.
From the teachings of Master Ryuho Okawa, we have selected prescriptions for the mind that you need now.
As long as you are alive you can always start again
Once things have become hopeless, it is important to consider the best way to dissolve the company. If this is done smoothly there will be no need to commit suicide, but if the owner fails to properly shut down his business, it can result in his suicide or even that of his whole family.
For this reason you must not think only of success, but also consider an exit strategy when things go badly for you. It is important to keep the damage as small as possible. If you get out of the business and have been able to keep the damage to a minimum, you will be able to rebuild your strength for another try, but if you fall short in this, your losses may be total.
Looking at Japanese history, even Nobunaga Oda, the famous 16th-century feudal lord who tried to unify Japan, fled from battle when he realized he could not win. A clan leader he considered his ally, Nagamasa Azai, betrayed him by joining forces with his enemy Yoshikage Asakura. Being unexpectedly attacked on two sides and seeing no hope of victory, Nobunaga retreated, barely escaping with his life, back to his base in Kyoto.
He did not stay and fight to save face. If all he had wanted was a reputation as a great general, a mighty samurai warrior, he would have continued to fight no matter what the odds. Even though his forces were outnumbered two to one, or even though he had been betrayed, he would have continued fighting, but he did not. As soon as he realized he could not win, he retreated home.
There is no such thing as a successful general who does not know when to retreat. Achieving victory when the odds are favorable and retreating in a skillful way when loss is most likely—this is the way to achieve long-continued success.
The same can be said of management. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but the important thing when you are losing is how well you cut your losses and rebuild your business.
There are business owners who feel a responsibility for people who have been employed with them for many years, so they take out new loans in an effort to keep their company in business. However, rather than doing this, they could think of ways to retain about eighty percent of the employees, if not all of them.
What can be done to protect the 80%? There must be unprofitable sections that could be shut down, or products that could be dropped. There must be some debt that can be repaid. In this way they should focus on trying to ensure that 80% of their employees can remain on the job. But if they try to look after everyone, there will sometimes be no alternative but to go bankrupt.
Use all your wisdom to plan a strategy to pull back; otherwise you will simply be fighting a losing battle that in the end could drive you to suicide. You need to use worldly knowledge in all places where applicable.
You should not prematurely think that you will just end your life when all else fails. Life is life because you are living and as long as you are alive, you can always get back on your feet again. No matter how many times you failed in the past, you can always recover.
If you are considering committing suicide and maybe even taking your whole family with you, surely there must be other actions that can be done before that. From this perspective you will see there is always something that can be done. Before you reach the point where death seems to be the only option, there will be any number of things that you can give up or different actions that you could take. After doing everything you can, you should retreat.
As long as you can impress people, your business will surely move forward
If I had to draw only one conclusion about "what is the secret of a prosperous business," it would be this: to impress people.
If you want your business to thrive and become more profitable, it is important to impress people. This is the key to a prosperous business, regardless of industry or type of business, and can be understood by anyone in any position, from the president to the end employee or part-timer.
The only conclusion is this. It is about impressing others through your words, your attitude, the products and services you sell, and the many other tasks you perform.
Those who are able to continue to succeed in this are assured that their work will continue to improve, no matter what industry they are in.
Under the influence of a president who is able to inspire many people, if the employees are also able to work together to inspire customers, the company will surely grow.
The same can be said for religion. In order to promote missionary work, it is still important to impress others.
As long as you can impress people, you will always move forward, no matter what kind of business you are in.
From “Introduction to Management” by Ryuho Okawa
A company will require experts on finance after growing past a certain point
I read an article on the front side of an evening paper about a company that runs vegetable factories. It is a company that was able to survive a tough competition where it is said that only one company out of ten survives. The company is currently being shown on television and written about in newspapers. The company is planning to expand by building more factories. Although this is uplifting, I would say they are approaching danger in terms of finance. The company may go bust if it does not have a well fit expert on finance. Even if the company progresses, there must be somebody looking after cost control and keeping watch to see whether the investment can return profitable results. Otherwise, it can get dangerous.
Even though there are needs for the product, there are plenty of cases where a rival that appears later on may take market share from your company or the demand for your product may be lost. This is where you must look out for danger. The management of a company becomes more difficult after it grows past a certain size. Management of a company gets dangerous when it grows more than what the CEO can handle. Management will not be possible without the help of an expert on finance.
Sometimes the bank could serve as the substitute of the company's finance department if it doesn’t exist. When the company wants to expand its factory or production line, the bank can give them a loan. The company must provide paperwork and the CEO must communicate with the bank for a loan. However, banks may not give out the loan even after listening to his explanation.
In some cases, a company cannot hear an insider's opinion because the finance department is not yet trained enough. However, as an outsider's opinion, if the bank does not want to lend any money, it means that the bank sees it as dangerous to give out a loan to the company.
Even if internally the company believes it will succeed, if an outsider sees risk, the company must think of why this is so. This means the company requires a more advanced skill of persuasion.
Why the company president needs to make final decisions for "finance" and "human resources"
The finance division is a division that determines how money should be handled with the question of, "How should we procure and use money?", and the human resources division is a division that thinks about, "How should we procure and use people?" These sections are, in corporation terms, "staff sections."
In other words, although they are supposed to have some authority to make decisions about issues close to the job field, they are ultimately a section that organizes information, serves as one arm of top management, and, with the heart of the top management, directly tells the top management, "I think we should do it this way," and asks them to make a decision. In that sense, it is a section of staff advisors.
This means that it is important to have a neat and precise way of thinking as a general staff member, and to present the ideas to the top management with a plan and ask for a final decision.
On the other hand, as for the top management, "If you escape from this final decision, you are not the top manager". This is because this decision making is where responsibility arises.
This is because employees have a hard time understanding "management principles" and "management policies" when they are told about it. Even if the president's management policy is announced at the beginning of the year, they may say, "He is saying something, but I don't understand it. 'The global environment is changing, the business environment is changing, deflation is happening, what are we going to do about it?' but it is like listening to an old sutra, and I feel sleepy and don't understand it at all."
However, (employees) can understand personnel affairs. Of course, this may be a little difficult for new hires, but even younger employees and female employees can tell what the company's policies are by looking at the personnel announcements. Even they can understand this kind of thing, gossiping, "What kind of people were promoted, what kind of people were demoted, and what kind of people were let go? What kind of job is considered important?" In other words, for employees, the results of personnel affairs are easily understood as part of management policy, and it is obvious from personnel affairs what the top management thinks at any given time. In this sense, it must be known that personnel affairs remain the responsibility of the top management.
In addition, the way personnel decisions are made will give some indication of "what kind of future the company envisions." The top management will be held accountable for it.
This would be the same with respect to "finances".
Even if there is an opinion from a money expert, a major decision should not be made solely on the basis of the judgment of the finance director, for example, "Do we build the factory by borrowing money? Or, rather than building a factory, should we reduce our borrowings?"
The finance manager may give various opinions with rationales, such as "Let's build a factory even if we have to borrow money," or "No, let's pay off the debt." He may also say, "We are expanding our business, so let's add 100 new employees," or "Let's hire as many mid-career workers as we can," or "Let's pay out as much as we can in retirement benefits," or any number of other opinions.
But ultimately, "To do or not to do. To move forward or to move back? Or modify some of it?" the decision remains at the top.
While the "human resources" and "finance" sections are very important as the General Staff section and must have prominent corporate executives, I would like to state, "Your judgment as General will remain." I would like to state that if you abandon this, it is the end and you will go into a Dutch roll.
From "Management is a Tough Thing indeed" by Ryuho Okawa
Management philosophy also gives employees a sense of purpose in life
In times of recession and rising bankruptcies, the managerial environment turns worse and people always turn timid. This leads to a situation in which everyone becomes timid and avoids taking new risks.
You may have had courage when you established a company, but once it grows to a certain size, your self-preservation kicks in and you seek stability. Courage disappears as the company gradually heads toward maintaining the status quo.
We can see how this feeling might come about. As the number of employees working beyond your range of vision increases, you might feel, “No matter what I say or don't say, nothing will change.” In addition, the number of people who refuse to take responsibility will increase.
Nevertheless, when you lose courage, you, as the CEO, must think carefully about the following matters.
First, when a company is founded, the CEO's intention may be to do what he enjoys, feed his family, and make sure his employees have a full stomach. Yet, as a company grows, this alone becomes insufficient.
You must be prepared to answer why it is valid for your company to develop and prosper.
This is because, as mentioned above, a CEO has no one to teach him such things. Having no teacher means you must figure it out by yourself. It is no use handing out a questionnaire to your workers.
Though it may be painful, a CEO must think by himself.
“Why must my company grow from 10 employees to 50 employees?” “Our goal is to surpass an annual sales of 10 billion yen. Why do we need to do this?” This is where you need to think carefully upon the deeper meaning buried in such objectives.
This is called management philosophy, which is often lacking in small to medium-sized companies. Generally, in smaller companies, as the CEO thinks of himself as the sole manager, he is embarrassed for others to know the management philosophy since it is something like his own personal diary. Thus, he does not make his thoughts known to others.
However, a company cannot grow unless the management philosophy is implemented.
Your company cannot grow as long as it is based solely on your own understanding, so you must rack your brain and develop a management philosophy.
“For what purpose does my company exist?” “What, precisely, is involved in my company's growth? What are my intentions?” Such questions need to be thoroughly examined in the process of developing a management philosophy.
Despite this, in most cases, the CEO of a small company will say, “I have no need for such a thing. It's enough for me if I can stock up and make sales. As long as I can keep profits above debts, that's all I need.” Many people think this way.
Nevertheless, when a company employs 20, 30 or 50 employees, these people will also need to have a purpose in life beyond work.
How to Create Surprises that Set You Apart from Your Peers
Business management must be done standing on one's aptitude, and in order to do so, one must determine "where one's talents lie."
However, even if you think you have no talent at the moment, there are cases where you can create talent by working hard and changing your way of thinking, so you should consider this when choosing a business.
If you have chosen a business, the next step is to find the "seed of business," or rather, the "seed of work" or "seed of income," and it is important to gather some kind of information, and in the process of gathering this information, you must make an effort to increase the number of repeat customers.
And if customers are losing interest, we must make an effort to do something, improve or add something.
These efforts are necessary, and ultimately, it is still important to consider "surprises" in order to make a huge difference to other companies in the industry.
What is one of those surprises?
The basic formula is still "the combining of dissimilar things". It is a surprise when there is a combination of dissimilar things that seems a bit unlikely and makes people think, "No way, how could this be?”
Or it can be "a little thoughtful" or "something unexpected for them".
For example, when a repeat customer comes in, you may remember their full name, or even their family constitution. If you ask, "How are your children?" or "How is your son?" or "How is your daughter?” It's a little frightening.
Furthermore, if you even remember things like, "We were talking about this at that time," it is really something. If you have talked to a customer before and he or she said, "I'm having trouble with this right now," then when he or she comes again, ask him or her what happened after that, that way you can show how you care. The customer would feel some surprise.
However, even a long-time customer who has been coming to the store for a long time may become angry and stop coming if the person in charge of the store takes a vacation and is replaced by someone else, and the customer is treated like a complete first-time customer.
In short, places that are willing to please their customers with "surprises through attentiveness" or "surprises in combination with the way they present their products and services," etc., can last for a long time.
Therefore, although it is difficult for customers to tell us, when they are getting less satisfied with your business, you must think carefully about why they are not satisfied with your business. Please be mindful of that.
From "Creation of Management" by Ryuho Okawa
Learn about cash management before you're cornered
Some people think, "I have an accountant under me, so that's good enough," but an accountant can't run a business. Accounting is different from management. Management requires looking at the whole picture, and unless the president himself learns about money, he will not be able to do management well.
Therefore, in many cases of managerial suicides, people from technical backgrounds commit suicide because of financial difficulties.
It also often happens to presidents who come from a sales background that they commit suicide because they are not sure of their cash flow.
You need to learn about cash flow before you are cornered.
If you go to a bookstore, you will find many books on cash management. You may think, "I didn't study this in college, so I don't really understand it," but it doesn't have to be a difficult academic book. There are many lightweight books that can be read in a couple of hours. If you buy five or ten such books and spend about a month reading them, you will be able to understand some of what is important.
Try and achieve a turnaround in the time that remains to you
In general, life in this world only lasts decades, though some people may live up to a hundred and twenty years old. After death, even though you may wish to be reincarnated soon, it cannot be done so quickly.
You came into this world because of your repeated pleas to do so. This being the case, once you have succeeded in being born, do not try to hurry to your death. Everyone is eventually doomed to die, and your time will also come one day.
So it is worthwhile to try and achieve a turnaround in the time that remains to you. Do your best in your given circumstances, for you will never have the same chance again.
In order to do so, it is best not to be too much of a perfectionist. Accept the imperfections that come with humanity, what can be called the animalistic part of your being. You and those around you share this animalistic aspect of human character; that is why you are sometimes at the mercy of emotions and feel anger, lament, cry out, make a blunder, feel victimized, or become aggressive to others.
All humans have this kind of imperfect inclination, and it is because of this that you still have much to learn in your soul training. Please be aware of this, and accept the imperfections of being human.
Blaming yourself too much for your sins will some-times lead you to commit another and greater wrong. People who seek too much perfection may often commit another great sin.
Failure in business is quite common. During such times, your pride may stop you from knowing when to draw back and you may remain obstinate in your position, leading you to greater downfall. It may then result not only in suffering for you, but also for your family. But it is possible to find a way to avoid this.
Therefore, do not fight for the sake of your honor or pride alone, rather think calmly to find an appropriate approach. Use every bit of wisdom you possess to solve the problems that can be solved with earthly wisdom.
When wisdom falls short, what is needed is courage. You need courage to forgive yourself and you need courage to forgive others. Having courage is essential.