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This week, I have been talking about how to start a Sanpo-Yoshi business, and yesterday, I discussed the aspect of Kaite-Yoshi, which means the buyer is happy.
Does it mean a convenience store that is open 24 hours a day is a Kaite-Yoshi business since it satisfies customers’ needs?
To answer this question, I need to bring up the next aspect; Seken-Yoshi, which means society is happy.
Seken-Yoshi is the key aspect of Sanpo-Yoshi, and it makes the whole Sanpo-Yoshi philosophy special and differentiates it from other business models.
So, what is a Seken-Yoshi business?
In the book Zen and a Way of Sustainable Prosperity, I covered 5 elements of Seken-Yoshi.
3, Environmentally friendly
4, Socially just
Let me explain one by one.
Making It Environmentally friendly
By making your business small and local, it automatically becomes environmentally friendly. You can also produce some eco-friendly products or services which include organic food, clothes made of organically grown cotton or hemp, building houses and furniture using domestic wood, green tourism, and so on.
Making It Socially Just
One thing lacked in the old days in Japan where people practiced Satoyama economy was the concept of social justice. For example, the role of women was harder than that of men. They often had to work in the fields with their husband during the day and when they come home they had to do their housework, as well. Working condition in general wasn’t good either where many people had only one day off a year which was a New Year’s Day.
Ethical labor practices are indispensable in today’s Sanpo-Yoshi businesses.
Making It Holistic
Holistic means that things are all interconnected, and when we look at things we look at the whole thing rather than individual parts. The term is often used in the field of medicine or education as holistic medicine or holistic education. Engaging in those fields is one way of making your business holistic.
From those 5 elements, what do you think of a convenience store that is open 24 hours a day?
It might be a Kaite-Yoshi business, but it isn’t a Seken-Yoshi business is it? It isn’t an Urite-Yoshi business either. Hence it won’t be a Sanpo-Yoshi business.
It may not even be good for the buyer. Convenience doesn’t always make us happy, does it? Especially when it becomes too convenient, we become lazy or impatient, which makes us difficult to lead a sustainable lifestyle. Kaite-Yoshi doesn’t always mean to satisfy your customers’ needs; sometimes you need to educate your customers to co-create Sanpo-Yoshi economic activities.
Seken-Yoshi business such as making it local sounds wonderful, and yet, it is very difficult to localize our business in a rural area with a limited population.
That is an important question. I am going to discuss Seken-Yoshi further tomorrow, including answering this question.