Japanese business owner Chiseko Murata believes that women are poised with unique strengths like seriousness, tenacity and persistency that make them some of the best workers to finish the job.
In 1983, during an economic boom in Japan and on the backend of a divorce, Murata had the courage to start her own business typing on a word processor so that she could work from home and better balance raising her five-year-old. After 20-hour days for seven years, one of her clients, the president of My Business Service Co., Ltd. invited her to be his successor. At the time, it was nearly unheard of for a woman to own a business in Japan.
Headquartered in Nagoya, My Business Service (MBS) primarily provides professional services for data entry, aggregation and analysis, mainly for university research and surveys. The company also offers web production and system development tools, and even recently expanded into security software last year.
“When MBS was founded, computers and the internet did not exist,” Murata reminds. “The introduction of word processing was also groundbreaking, and I was convinced that the world would become IT-centric in the future, so I specialized the company in the IT field.”
It has been difficult for Murata to keep up with the rapid growth of the industry and everchanging needs of her clients. Murata lacked management expertise and so as she took over as president in 1995, she faced a series of financial hardships: a large deficit and excessive debt.
Yet, she persevered and spent nights working with her employees to solve MBS’s business problems and gain profitability. Through research with her team and visits to clients to promote the company, as well as the introduction of new technology, Murata made sure MBS kept up with IT changes in the world.
Although MBS operates in a niche field, there is a definite, growing need for its solutions— especially as the team’s credibility increases and more clients want its services. Murata has ensured that MBS stays agile for new clients and projects.
As an SME, MBS has changed its scope of work to specialize in research studies as the need arose. For more than 20 years, Murata and her team have been supporting HIV prevention and awareness after accumulating great expertise upon an initial partnership with a pharmaceutical company and university researcher. Helping people in need is a core value of Murata’s, and one she feels proud that her team’s heartfelt communication and earnestness achieve.
MBS provides its services throughout Japan, but has grown beyond its borders.
“We have established a joint venture in Dalian, China, so that we can input large amounts of data in a short time,” Murata notes of her company’s growth. “We also now have a marketing company in Hong Kong that can match Japanese and Chinese companies based on our contacts.”
Murata got certified with WEConnect International in late 2019, a connection that has enabled her to connect and communicate with other global WBEs. Through her membership, she has gained greater confidence and the ability to promote her work. Murata presented and promoted MBS at the APAC Conference and the last two International Days, as well as attended the P&G Development Program and Moody’s Boot Camp, where she learned to increase her company’s corporate value and proactively appeal to member buyers.
Through the WEConnect International network, MBS was able to sign a new project with J&J. Murata is grateful for the network because she feels it is impossible for small businesses to sign such large contracts without help.
Murata has big goals for the future of MBS, including doubling—if not tripling—the size of her business within the next three years. To do so, she has her sights set on the U.S. and Europe and plans to participate in regional WEConnect International conferences and trainings coming up.
Murata believes in gender equality and strives to create a society where more women can be active and shine in business. She hopes to be able to do business with other WBEs and grow together.