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Final blog post

This is my last blog post during my time at SOPHOLA and I thought I would try to summarise my thoughts and the past 10 months as best as I can. Overall I have enjoyed my time here and above all found it a learning experience. Until now I had never experienced working in a “typical” Japanese office, although SOPHOLA is far from a typical Japanese company in many respects, and there was a learning curve required to adapt to a very different business culture. This was despite my familiarity with everyday Japanese communication and customs. Once that transition period passed, I found Sophola an enjoyable place to work with clear rules and expectations.

In terms of main takeaways that I would share with any future SOPHOLA employee that has a similar profile to mine:

1. SOPHOLA combines a clear hierarchy with collaboration, this can be difficult to navigate at first depending on what your background has been previously. You will be expected to give inputs on your coworker and manager’s ideas, performance and so forth. The organisation is in these moments quite flat, however keep in mind that it is still a Japanese company and you will be expected at other times to adhere to those expectations. The best advice I can give here is to pay attention initially and take any feedback you get to heart.

2. SOPHOLA has a relatively complicated product lineup, make sure you put in the time to research it in advance to familiarise yourself with it as much as possible. Once you start, really invest yourself in understanding it as quickly as you can. It will make a very big difference to how well things go during your first few months. The next point is related:

3. When studying and familiarising yourself with the tools, do not ask questions which can be easily answered with some simple research. Particularly if you are not familiar with the fundamentals of say digital marketing, it is your responsibility to deepen your understanding. Of course questions are fine, but make sure you’ve attempted to answer it yourself first.

4. Focus on your personal KPIs and those of the company. As a small and new company with ambitious goals, SOPHOLA is a very KPI and growth driven company. Be prepared to use your personal and professional networks to find prospects. Most employees will be expected to set sales and lead generation goals, make sure you have some ideas for how to achieve those.

5. Depending on your previous background, reporting could be a much more involved process than you are used to. Make sure you report frequently and highlight any issues as early as possible. Despite being a small company, SOPHOLA has some characteristics that are more common in larger companies, reporting and goal setting processes are two of those. Make sure you take them seriously.

While I am leaving to devote more time to family and prioritise the well-being of those that are the most important to me, I really think SOPHOLA’s long term vision is one that is worth pursuing. Above all, I think my soon-to-be former colleagues there are incredibly good and hard-working people that really deserve their current level of success and will I have no doubt continue that success into the future. I have no doubt that I am making the right decision for myself, but that doesn’t change that I feel some regret that I won’t see this project come to fruition over the next few years. I will still support SOPHOLA in whatever way I can and will follow their development closely.

Sebastian Benedikz
Global Sales Executive