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Australia-Japan Society of NSW

Reports from recent AJS-NSW Events

Events 2017

60 minutes with Mister Minit 

Reporter: Yukari Wilson

September 14 2017

Don’t feel offended when the executives’ eyes are completely shut during your business presentation, which you are delivering with great enthusiasm, when your audience is Japanese business people. They are not asleep!

This is just one of the many observations and lessons learnt on the job by Mark Rusbatch, the CEO of Minit Oceania and Southeast Asia (MOSEA), the company behind the ubiquitous Mister Minit.

On 14 September, Rusbatch gave AJS members in Sydney a little insight into working with Japanese investors, as well as the differences between Japanese and Australian markets and customer needs.

Mister Minit opened its first door back in 1957 in Brussels as a “While U Wait” Heel Bar. Since then, it has expanded both geographically and in service offering. With every new market, new trends and new challenges, Mister Minit advanced by never losing sight of its ethos - Real people fixing problems.

For the Japan market, where the average Japanese female owns 40 pairs of shoes (!), the problem to solve is fixing shoes. It’s a problem that’s worth fixing for Mister Minit as they now have over 309 stores just in Japan. Closer to home in Australia and New Zealand where the population is just one quarter of the Japanese population, Mister Minit has expanded their services beyond fixing shoes to services such as key duplication, mobile phone repairs, and watch servicing in a bid to drive growth.

Having had three Japanese owners since 2005 (MOSEA has been owned by Aoyama Trading Company since 2015), Rusbatch has observed his fair share of Japanese business culture. Rusbatch was kind enough to share his top five keys to doing business in Japan:

  • Respect the difference even if you don’t understand it;
  • Understand that the key business driver may not necessarily be economic merit. In Japan, maintaining employment is as important as finding ways to cut costs and increase efficiency;
  • Local governance is important;
  • The process may take longer and time efficiency isn’t necessarily considered a positive business process or decision; and
  • Japanese work ethic and standards are high regardless of who they work for, be it for themselves or for an employer.

As Mister Minit celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, we reflect on a brand that is a household name for both Japanese and Australians. No matter how high the heel trend soars in Japan and whatever the must-have gadgets Australian households acquire (that inevitably require fixing), your friendly Mister Minit stands by at your nearest station or shopping centre ready to fix your problem.

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About the Society

The Australia-Japan Society of NSW Incorporated (AJS-NSW) aims to bring together Australian and Japanese people living in NSW to explore mutual interests.

AJS-NSW holds regular business, social and cultural functions, at various locations around Sydney.

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