By Marc W. Polite
Entrepreneurship is a difficult endeavor, and it requires a lot of those who embrace it. Given the current instability of the global economy, entrepreneurship is being considered as a viable path by increasing numbers of people. Today, we have the opportunity to hear from Kingsley Kobayashi, founder of Harry Kings International Limited. He is an entrepreneur with 25 years of experience building businesses and operates internationally.He shares his thoughts with us on investing, cryptocurrency, and the millionaire mindset. Please see below.
Polite On Society: Why did you start FGC Group?
Kingsley Kobayashi: Myself and Tony Evans, my business partner, started FGC Group about 6 years ago when we saw the trend in blockchain and the opportunity that was coming up in digital currency. At that time, lots of people were not interested in blockchain, fintech or digital currency because many projects were not working out. There was no governance and rules and regulations in place yet. But we used the old traditional finance system to apply to the new blockchain and fintech projects and technology and also, we were lucky that we are in Japan. Japan was one of the first to accept blockchain and regulate the industry, whereas other countries like China and South Korea were against it, Japan embraced it. That helped us grow. The timing was right, the conditions were right and people were willing to invest. Most of our projects were very successful and paid their returns, which added to our credibility with investors and also to our own financial abilities to make other projects work.
POS: Can you explain for our audience what is cryptocurrency and why they should take notice.
KK: Cryptocurrency, simply put, is a digital currency. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control, which means they are not controlled by one person or government. It lets its users make secure payments and store the currency without the banks. They run on blockchain. One of those or THE cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, but there are many more. Bitcoin is the most popular. Cryptocurrency aims at the exchange of goods and services in a safe and secure environment, without middlemen or government interference. Basically, cryptocurrency is the technology that acts as a medium for conducting financial transactions, a digital currency that provides a safe and secure platform, without any central banking systems.
Because it is now used for trading almost anything through the internet, it became very popular with many companies around the world. It also became a very popular investment opportunity for many people and large companies. It is a good investment if you do your due diligence on that particular cryptocurrency. You must always remember, cryptocurrencies are projects as any other and not all of them are liable, and not all of them will succeed. Blockchain can exist without cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrencies cannot survive without blockchain.
POS: Your focus on entrepreneurship has an international aspect to it. Tell us some of the challenges of this.
KK: As a serial entrepreneur, who owns businesses and has investments around the world, the most difficult part of it is that every country has different laws, rules, and regulations. They have different governance pertaining to different industries and businesses. So when you are starting a business in any country, you have to be willing to follow and embrace the rules and regulations of that country to avoid any problem in the long run. People think that they don’t need government but compliance is very important of any business and blockchain too and is part of what we do. In my company, I make sure that every business I invest in is compliant with the laws and regulations of that country. That’s what I have in the back of my mind when starting any business, not only in regards to the government but especially in regards to the communities. I make sure we put back into the communities, we invest in their development and their environment, and that we include them in the project.
Other hurdles of international entrepreneurship come with current situations. Before corona, our biggest hurdle was traveling all the time, because we had to attend meetings around the world, conferences, board meetings. If we learned one thing with the current pandemic, it made us realize that we don’t have to travel so much to make things work. We have technologies to help us, we are able to have zoom conferences, we are able to attend board meetings over the internet, we can work from our homes. It has changed the way we will do business forever. This will also further deepen the importance of blockchain business and technologies, as it is because of its security and reliability.
POS: What in your opinion constitutes a millionaire’s mindset?
KK: You know, there are many different ways to look at the millionaire mindset. It differs from continent to continent, country to country. Millionaire in Africa is different from millionaire in America. They are all different. But to me, what is most important to me is to be content with what you have and what you can do with it. The first step is often what you can buy with your money for yourself, your family, and the people around you, without being worried about the actual cost. But personally, I think it’s empowering people around you, those who are willing to work hard, to grow. To see people who are willing to grow, to grow, and get better. I always say it’s for people who are willing to work hard. Why? Because we all have people around us with a sense of entitlement, that only ask. Give me, Give me, without wanting to do the job, without the will to work hard. To have the millionaire mindset, you have to be willing to work harder than anyone around you, work harder, longer than anybody. If you want to make it, you have to be willing to put up with the long hours, often work around the clock, especially for us doing business internationally. But one question I ask myself often, is Am I happy and content with what I have? Do I have enough to help those around me? Am I doing enough to motivate and empower people? That to me is the right mindset.
POS: What advice would you give to a person who wants to delve into entrepreneurship, but does not have a lot of money?
KK: First of all, you must have a plan and you must be willing to work for it. Many people want to become entrepreneurs, but they look for excuses instead of solutions. Most of us did not have enough money when we just started. Important is to have the right idea and be confident about it. If you need funding, you can go and pitch your idea to investors. Important is that you know your project or business very well. You must be able to explain your idea to a 5-year-old or to an absolutely analog person, so they can understand it. If you can do that, you go around and start pitching. Yes, your first, second, tenth investor might refuse you, but don’t give up, go after your dream. The fact somebody says no to you doesn’t mean no forever. It is no for now. Maybe you are not the right fit for them now, it might happen in the next season, next year.
So what I advise to anybody wanted to start their own business is to have a clear and detailed plan, be willing to sacrifice for it, work hard and long for it and hustle your way up. If you do not have the funds, start small and scale as you go. The most important thing is, YOU HAVE TO START.
I’d like to thank Kingsley Kobayashi for taking the time to discuss with us some of his endeavors and perspectives.