Episode 3:Tragedy


1/5/20241 min read

On January 15, 2014, the dream of opening Otona no Eikaiwa was realized. Transitioning from a corporate marketer to an entrepreneur, Tanaka-san believed that his concept of business was not only cool but also exciting.

For Tanaka-san and his company: DialogPlus Japan, the early days were marked by optimism, marketing expertise, and a unique concept: Otona no Eikaiwa [Online English conversation for Adults]. It truly is an exciting idea, it has the potential to resonate with its target audience.

However, reality is much more challenging. The hardest task was getting the first customer. After starting his company, Tanaka-san realized he should be doing something. He then started to monitor the visits of the website, but Google Analytics showed gloomy numbers. The average site visit duration was less than 5 seconds. Nearly 99% of the visitors immediately dismissed the service, finding that the service is not for them.

All the plans were misunderstood. The responsive website, large icons for seniors, was not helpful. It turned out that the seniors were not able to trust dynamic websites without detailed explanations.

Six months had passed and there were no sales on sight. The business was still struggling to find its first customer. The dream of transforming Otona no Eikaiwa suddenly seemed distant, and it is a harsh truth that businesses are an uphill battle entrepreneurs need to face. He had taken a bold step of partnering with a BPO company in the Philippines to provide instructors, but the fixed costs such as instructor salaries were depleting the bank account and the sight of business closure seemed to approach.