In the K-A Momtrepreneur’s Corner, we introduce a K-A Mom Facebook Group member running her own small business in Japan. A special discount for KA blog readers is included at the end of the post.
This month, Rowena Pike-McFadden introduces Playpourri, an English School that runs various programs for children and adults with all types of learning abilities and interests in Nagoya.
Along with morning and afternoon programs, we also offer Kindermusik Classes for Mums & Babies as well as Kids Only Kindermusik English and Me Classes for children who are a little older and in regular school environments. We work with special needs children and our teachers are interested, experienced and knowledgeable in all areas of child development. Our school is run by working mums…all of us have kids so our team effort is very understanding, cooperative and helpful. You can check out more about us at the following sites.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge being a small business owner? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge running a school has been to learn and accept that I can’t please everyone. We want to give each family the most rewarding educational experience but in these days, lots of parents think only of themselves and not the collective whole. Running a school means thinking of the whole, keeping the system fair for the whole while at the same time meeting each child’s, classroom and teachers needs. To overcome this, I have learnt to copy our school guidelines for parents who I want to help out but can’t. It saves a lot of time when parents try to negotiate.
The biggest challenge running a business has been educating Japanese staff on understanding foreign communication styles. As foreigners we tend to say what we mean but Japanese often navigate between the lines. Even though we are all speaking English, we can often misunderstand because we aren’t reading the right line. At our school, we all speak directly and avoid any misunderstandings. Having great staff that can have a laugh and work together without offending helps a lot and as we are all in the same boat, we get along really well and always pitch in when needed.
What do you enjoy the most about being a small business owner?
I started our little school when my first son was only 2. Even though he was at Hoikuen, I could be there for him if he needed me and still be able to keep doing a job that I absolutely love. I enjoy planning my school calendar around all of our teachers’ family commitments and making sure that our school is a solid foundation for us all. Being able to feed my shopping habit of books, educational materials and crafts, as a tax deduction is an added bonus.
What advice do you have for fellow momtrepeneurs?
For anyone opening a business, trust your instinct, connect with a great lawyer (not as expensive as you think) for advice, and find a fabulous accountant. I once read not to let fear steal your idea and also to do something small everyday to make your dream come closer. I remind myself of that quite often.
Rowena is from the Gold Coast, Australia. She has lived in Nagoya since January 1995. She wears many hats and loves them all. She has two active boys; one in the Japanese school system and the other is home-schooled. Her family enjoys weekend outings, skiing in Hakuba, camping at Kizakiko, watching movies, doing handcrafts (if there is ever any time) and spending time with her great girlfriends who help keep her sane in this wonderful country.
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