When Mr. Omori was working for an engineering firm affiliated with a major trading company, he was stationed in oil producing countries in the Mid East and Indonesia, where he was in charge of export of petroleum plants and coordination of financing and engineering. After returning to Japan, he was asked by an acquaintance in Indonesia, the last place he was stationed in, to purchase some machine parts. This eventually led to the establishment in 2000 of Grand-Place Est for the export of industrial products. In the first two years, he did not limit to any countries or products. He found numerous customers and business proposals from B2B sites operated in Japan and overseas, but failed to secure any major business deals through it.
After that, it focused on use of three trustworthy sites run by the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and JETRO and began putting out and picking up feelers. The best responses to its proposals were from the JETRO’s
TTPP, so now he pretty much uses just the TTPP. No doubt the high response rate is due to the trust accorded to contact e-mails through the
Mr. Omori registered himself as a user in the TTPP in May 2001. Right now, he does not register any proposals of his business and offer inquiries only to interesting proposals and other proposals, which he thinks he can handle. Nine times out of ten, nothing happens. Of the deals secured, exports of consumer goods such as Japanese ornamental manekineko "welcoming cat" figurines and kimono fabrics begun on an off-hand basis are both small and do not lead to repeat business. On the other hand, exports of capital goods such as glass fiber for small boats and ferrous metal products were relatively large in volume, so that containers were used for the transportation. These export business continued for a long period. Furthermore, Mr. Omori has been able to build partnerships with 10 businessmen in six different countries. This network has generated coordination business for him as a general "fixer".
Responses to E-Mails Written with Sincerity is a Key to Judge Counterparts’ Personalities and Seriousness
From his experience and knowhow gleaned from his years of working in large corporations, Mr. Omori feels he can discern the personality of other parties and their mutual compatibility through three or four e-mails through the Internet. He stresses the importance of writing sincere messages. Most of his work is conducted over a PC. He uses actual face-to-face meetings with other parties to confirm his judgment of their personality and their compatibility.
Business talks and deals fail due to mismatching needs. This mismatch can be determined through two or three exchanges of e-mails in some cases. In other cases, however, it takes 10 or more exchanges before communications are broken off. Mr. Omori believes that in developing new business, one successful deal out of 100 inquiries is sufficient. He plans to continue tackling deals for niche products and small lots.
For small traders like Mr. Omori, the TTPP is a motherload of business opportunities. Mr. Omori has succeeded in parallel exports of industrial use machine parts to Southeast Asia and the U.S. and exports of chemical and physical related equipment to Canada. Up until now, Mr. Omori has only looked for proposals offering to buy products, but in the future, he plans to register his own proposals to further expand his business.