True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker


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The purpose of this article is to provide an alternative solution to management and employee issues faced by entrepreneurs. In this review we share our experience with FileMaker, a program that proves to be useful in your everyday life at work.

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True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker

  1. 1. True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker Written by Hiroshi OKAMOTO and Yusuke MAYUZUMI Designed by Clémence BONNET
  2. 2. True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker In five parts, under the title “True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker”, I will provide information that is useful to management. Written by Hiroshi OKAMOTO and Yusuke MAYUZUMI Designed by Clémence BONNET
  3. 3. True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker Recruiting by FileMaker For 25 years, our company has been engaged in the import retail business. In May 2011, we stopped selling records, which had been our core product for over 20 years, and departed on a new venture of selling music software, along with other software used in business. Upon our withdrawal from the record-selling business, many of our record- and CD- “At this crisis point, when it was imperative to keep the business running, FileMaker was of great use to us.” enthusiast staff left us. For our company that, with a staff of just less than thirty, imports Hiroshi Okamoto, dmr! CEO who wished to leave. At this crisis point, when it was imperative to keep the business products and runs an online shop, the loss of a few employees was a massive blow, and threatened our ability to run our day-to-day business. Despite this, we willingly let go those running, FileMaker was of great use to us. It is people who support business. As such, recruitment holds exceptional significance. To achieve recruitment success, there is a need to evaluate applicants from multiple perspectives. In other words, by examining candidates from various angles, we can prevent distortions in evaluation that arise from the biases of the various decision-makers. However, when several people are involved in evaluation, it is very difficult to devise and adjust a recruitment schedule. Furthermore, in the recent business environment, where companies are emphasizing the diversity of working practices among employees as an essential part of their arsenal, it is a daunting task for an eclectic team to manage the recruitment process efficiently and thoroughly. At that difficult time, FileMaker was extremely useful. By creating three tabs, 2
  4. 4. “Document Screening”, “Primary Screening”, and “Secondary introduction of FileMaker Pro 7. It appears that Pro 7 was launched in Screening”, we were able to efficiently manage the necessary 2004, meaning that this database will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its information. construction next year. As for many companies, part-time and temporary employees are an I believe the reason we have continued to use this database for so important part of our forces. When it suddenly became necessary to long is quite simply that FileMaker allows us to customize our databases, employ several new staff, by using with no extra cost or hassle, at a time that suits us. FileMaker to manage resume screening, multiple interviews, and various evaluation tools, we were able to quickly and prudently go about recruiting people who fitted our company’s recruitment criteria. Another benefit of FileMaker is that this kind of database can be processed within a single day. As it is a database we construct ourselves, it is possible to make small-scale corrections right there and then. In fact, I have even been able to edit the database layout during the free time at a company information session. As for any company, recruitment is a difficult task for us. However, I will describe a case that illustrates the effectiveness of this kind of careful selection process. Recently, there have been applications from a variety of overseas students, including a student of a French MBA school, a graduate of a well-known Russian University, and an African student who was set to enter graduate school at MIT. Of course, we have not been using one of the “students of prestigious overseas universities recruitment support” services that are often found nowadays. I made the database to process these foreign applications at the time of the 3
  5. 5. True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker Credo by FileMaker The other day, an intern who had returned to France, his home country, said something interesting about The Beatles’ song, All You Need is Love. As you will discover if you search for this song title along with “La Marseillaise”, its intro mirrors that of the French national anthem. An interpretation often found on the Internet is that this song was used to promote friendship between the two countries. However, according to the French intern, the use of La Marseillaise by The “Since the start of operations, the Credo has been announced more than five thousand times.” Hiroshi Okamoto, dmr! CEO Beatles was an exercise in high irony. In fact, the lyrics of La Marseillaise are extremely aggressive (please refer to Wikipedia et al). It seems that using All You Need is Love as a title, and putting it to music designed to fire up warriors, was a first-class joke on the part of The Beatles. In any case, the connection of this story to this book, “FileMaker Entrepreneurship”, is that this story was part of a speech that the French intern delivered at our daily morning meeting. The Famous Credo of the Ritz Carlton I think there are many companies who have decided upon and are using this Credo. However, all too often, once adopted, the Credo is left to one side. 4
  6. 6. Our company has also established a Credo. There is the approach In these days of fierce inter-company competition, the importance of creating a Credo, only to look back on it when something happens. On of mutual understanding between employees and management is the other hand, I think there is also the approach of consistently increasing. However, we cannot waste time. On such occasions, as implementing what is written in the Credo. Our company takes the latter described above, FileMaker facilitates the efficient handling of business. approach. However, as a result, we must be careful to avoid increasing the burden on our operations. We are operating our Credo on a FileMaker FileMaker is also an effective tool in human resource management. database, and we are using it along with some mechanisms to prevent I strongly encourage you to try it at your company. operational overloading. For example, I have heard that there is a system whereby one employee can, by way of a “thank you letter”, express gratitude to another for their contribution. I think there is considerable joy in receiving such a letter that someone has taken the trouble to write for you. However, there is also some time and effort involved in exchanging letters within the company, and in terms of quantity, problems may arise from the accumulation of letters shut inside desks. In our company, in place of these letters, we have our employees announce their gratitude in front of everyone, and we record and store the announcement as audio data. By doing so, we can share the audio data instantly, even between distant locations. Also, each employee of our company announces “staff who do business to a high standard in accordance with the Credo” in front of everyone. Since the start of operations, the Credo has been announced more than five thousand times. The speech by the French intern mentioned earlier was delivered on the occasion of such a Credo announcement. 5
  7. 7. True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker Raising Motivation by FileMaker It’s out of the blue, but I have a question for you. Did FileMaker used to run a commercial on television, or did they not? The answer is, they did. The commercial used to be aired during Tetsuya Chikushi’s show, News23. It seems that there are not many people who know about this; in fact, upon searching on Google, I found only one result. The only software commercials being broadcast that come to mind are OBC’s “Accounts Magistrate” accounting software, and OBIC’s software. “You may well say, “What, that’s it?”, but in my experience this has proven to be a greatly effective technique.” Hiroshi Okamoto, dmr! CEO However, perhaps due to the effect of that commercial, FileMaker’s share of the Japanese market is extremely high compared to their market share in other countries. In fact, it was seeing that commercial that led me to introduce FileMaker into our company, dmr!. The other day, I took part in the final day of a series of lectures held at a particular university by one of our company’s officials. I spoke mostly on the subject of entrepreneurship. Afterwards, one of the participating students brought up this problem: “I am thinking of starting a business, but it is not working out very well with my associates”. I advised him that rather than working together “because we’re friends”, it would be a good idea to work together with people who share the same view of themselves, and the same philosophy, and to continue to seek out more people like that. However, as is often pointed out in Management Studies field research, there are some companies that start out with as yet vague views and philosophies, and that then 6
  8. 8. evolve and prosper through a process of policy corrections and adjustments as time goes by. photo on Google or social networking sites. Upon entering a company, In the management of a business or a club, the role sought of a leader is to raise the motivation of members. In terms of management, what course do you take when you are appointed the leader of a Nowadays, it has become commonplace to be able to display your and working only with text and charts within the company system, it would be a shame if a new employee were to feel ill at ease, and if their performance were to drop, even if only slightly, as a result. Happily, unlike Excel et al., one special feature of FileMaker is that it is project? Nowadays, a great deal of practical knowledge on easy and hassle-free to display photos. this topic is available in books and online, and there are also many IT services that support such FileMaker no longer broadcasts commercials, knowledge. and general familiarity with it has diminished. However, if by posting a photo, in the style of the This time, I will introduce a device for raising much-used social networks, an independent spirit and motivation that employs FileMaker. That is, to display each member’s photo in FileMaker-made documents (databases) which are circulated between members of a company or team. You may a sense of initiative were to arise naturally in employee’s input, then that makes it worth a try. well say, “What, that’s it?”, but in my experience this has proven to be a greatly effective technique. also follow the style of wearing our casual clothes to work, so I can use If you spend all day reading a web page packed with text and information, that page will start to appear very dull. However, what if (By the way, we re-take the photos annually at our company. We the photo taken for work as my Facebook or Google profile picture. It has proven quite useful!) your own photo were to be displayed there? When you have a group photo taken, and look at the finished result, where do you look first? I think the majority of people will first search out their own face. Databases that have been made with FileMaker come to be used throughout your company or club; what if pictures of employees, parttime staff and club members were to be displayed in, for instance, the sales results report of the sales department staff, the daily report of a part-time job, or the activity log of a club. 7
  9. 9. True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker Adaptability by FileMaker The other day, a French female exchange student began working for us as an intern. It seems that shortly after she arrived in Japan there had been an earthquake while she was sleeping, and that she had since been unable to sleep well out of fear. Among those who live in the Kanto and Tohoku regions, there are many who have become accustomed to feeling the aftershocks of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Nothing should make us forget that “In the current fiercely competitive business environment, even apart from our own company, all organizations are being forced to make major or minor changes.” Hiroshi Okamoto, dmr! CEO unprecedented disaster, but recently there have been fewer palpable aftershocks, and for many it has thankfully become easier to sleep soundly. Listening to the intern’s story, it occurred to me again what a terribly frightening thing familiarity can be. On the bright side, we may have become able to control our fear of the shaking brought about by an earthquake, and this could be taken to be an improvement in our powers of adaptation; however, this fear of shaking is instinctive, and there is a danger that control of our fear could actually delay our response to danger. How, then, should we deal with these “gradually changing circumstances”? In this fourth article, I would like to write about the usefulness of FileMaker as a means of properly grasping “gradually changing circumstances”. As I have already written, our company has been in the import retail business for twenty-five years. In May 2011, we stopped selling records, which had been our core product for more than twenty years, and we dramatically changed course to start selling business software such as FileMaker, along with music software and miscellaneous goods. 8
  10. 10. I think that, in the current fiercely competitive business things in the company each month. Around 200 improvements are made environment, even apart from our own company, all annually. organizations are being forced to make major or minor changes. Whether organizations are expanding or repeatedly experiencing the initial fear of the aftershock, shrinking, people, things, money and information need to people gradually grow accustomed. “Things accumulating be scaled accordingly; if the durability of the organization little by little” is also a “gradual” process. In corporate and is to be assured, we can’t avoid these realities. organizational management, grasping that condition of Formerly our company had two direct retail outlets gradual change is essential. and a separate headquarters, and FileMaker was very useful in managing the “things” at each base. With the management of things. We define the meaning of each of present example, FileMaker is also effective in the standardizing, and sustaining), and we have established a system whereby every month a person in charge patrols and checks the things at all our bases, and makes immediate improvements. Furthermore, at our company the monthly checks are not performed by one particular person, but are conducted on a rotation basis, in order to give everyone a sense of involvement. management of things. There is no organization without Artist the 5 S’s (sorting, set in order, systematic cleaning, The words “database software” tend to stir up the image of dealing with numerical data, but as shown in the concept of 5S as a foundation, and using FileMaker as a starting point, we continually strive to improve our As I mentioned at the beginning, I think that, through In the seven years of implementation since we started in 2007, 1475 improvements have been made. From the proposal for a drastic change of the storeroom layout, to dealing with the employee’s chocolate bars left behind in the fridge, we have put a system in place to check all things. This is even truer for retailers like us. In addition, once the management of things has been allowed to become sloppy, when you finally set about reforming, improvements will take time and effort, and will impede everyday business. It is possible to prevent this situation in advance by using FileMaker in the way I have mentioned. Although every organization must tackle the “management of things”, there is the issue of not wanting to waste time. By applying the excellent concept of 5S in combination with FileMaker, which facilitates its implementation, it is possible to efficiently boost results. Please try it out for yourselves.   9
  11. 11. True Entrepreneurship by FileMaker Shikumika by FileMaker My hobby is collecting records. As mentioned in previous issues, our company used to specialize in selling records, and so has many music-loving staff, more than a few of who still purchase records to this day. I am one of them. The other day, I was asked by a friend who manages a café in Harajuku to make a summer-themed compilation CD as background music for his shop. I agreed, thinking I just “ the number of proposals increased, so did the volume of data, and it became difficult to quickly access the required information.” Yusuke Mayuzumi, dmr! needed to pull out some records from my collection, but as I set to work, I discovered that, no matter how hard I searched, there were certain records that I simply couldn’t find. I own about 1500 records, and it is a tremendous hassle when I can’t find one of them. Even after laboriously checking each and every record the missing ones didn’t appear. I was absolutely sure I had bought them: where on earth could they have gone? Eventually, out of frustration, I gave up the search for the records I had gone to all the trouble of buying, and decided to find the music online. In this case, it was my fault for being poorly organized, but this is also a problem that is prone to arise in business. In this issue, using our company’s Shikumika Suggestion System as a case study, I would like to describe improvements that can be made in organizing information, and in making it easier to locate. 10
  12. 12. The Shikumika Suggestion System is a system whereby, every Thanks to the fact that it was now possible to narrow down quarter, all our staff including part-time workers, make proposals for and searches to a particular project, after the data was imported into the vote on the introduction of new projects. We only allow approved FileMaker database it became easier than ever to check the status of each projects to be implemented. Furthermore, after three months, the results project, evaluation, or presentation proceedings. Furthermore, using of the approved projects are presented in front of the whole staff, and are Excel requires a lot of scrolling, so it can be stressful to check the scored based on an independent evaluation standard. information at the bottom of a page, but by using the FileMaker tab By doing this, members of staff who proposed a good idea that raised performance get a chance to be evaluated. The DMR Online Shop and the service at the feature, we can review all the information within one screen. Shibuya store were born of this suggestion system. This system has become the driving force of our company, and precisely because it is essential that all staff access this data, I would like “Shikumika” is a word that you have probably heard if you to make it stress-free to use. Also, I want to make its operation as frequent the business world in Japan, and it is a concept that our seamless as possible. The appeal of FileMaker is that it intuitively company values greatly. It serves as a means of boosting the added value responds to such needs. of our services. However, when this system was initially devised, the overall I am really keen to avoid further frustration by also using FileMaker to manage my home record collection. process was complicated, and we used an Excel list to manage everything, including the status of each project, the proceedings of the presentations, and the evaluation grades. As a result, the effort required 
 just to operate the system was much too great. Also, as the number of proposals increased, so did the volume of data, and it became difficult to quickly access the required information. This is where FileMaker helped. I proposed importing the operation of the Shikumika Suggestion System into a database. This is because I believed that by switching from accumulating data in Excel to managing it with FileMaker, we could increase the visibility of the information, and also reduce the operational load. 11
  13. 13. True entrepreneurship by FileMaker About the authors Hiroshi Okamoto Yusuke Mayuzumi Hiroshi Okamoto is the Founder Yusuke Mayuzumi joined dmr! in and CEO of dmr!. Established 2007. Directed all aspects of the Dance Music Record in 1988 company’s web-site. Maintained and reshaped business model in and Managed the company’s 2010. 24 years of extensive infrastructure. experience in starting up and growing business. 12