Newsletter 58 Boom

Issue #58 Boom

Welcome back! I hope you had a great holiday weekend with friends, grilled food, and firework smoke wafting through your party. 

Ahh, gunpowder. 

Remember when you were a kid, and people would talk about how big their firework was? Somebody knew somebody who had M-80s, somebody else knew somebody else with M-160s (or whatever).

Okay, so maybe just my world.

But over the weekend, I came across a guy who never stopped and now makes the world’s most giant firework. And, intentional or not, he offers sage advice for your business. 

I’ll explain in a second, but first:


🤔 Ready for Performance Evaluations? Hiring, firing, and retaining people has become a major topic lately. Ideally, your focus goes to retaining the right people. How do you do that? Clear expectations and honest feedback. This is why we put together our guide to performance evaluations. You can read it here.

💵 Do you know how much a customer is worth to you? You should, here’s how. Also, here are some thoughts on how to understand how much customer acquisition costs, here.

🏦 How do you take money out of your business? Well, there is a right way if you want to protect your business and keep your records clean. Read more here.


Yamauchi Fireworks is a 135-year-old Japanese fireworks company.

Typical large fireworks are around 10-pounds. 

The Yamauchi signature product is the Shakudama, a 19-pound firework too large for urban areas.

But their biggest firework is the Yonshakudama, a 925-pound firework resulting from years of, “I can make mine bigger than yours” focus.

What interested me, though, was how a company stays in business for 135 years and what can the rest of us learn from them?

Lesson 1: Value is in repetition – find your signature offer and stick to it. 

Often entrepreneurs think that value comes from constantly innovating something new. But for the last 135 years, Yamauchi Fireworks has made fireworks pretty much the same way.

They are spectacular fireworks that everybody loves, and yeah, they tinker here or there with colors and designs but at the core of this business are reliable, repeatable processes.

Lesson 2: It won’t be perfect.

No matter how refined and purposeful you make your process, mistakes happen. Once every couple of decades or so, the 925-pound firework that takes 6 months to construct doesn’t launch.

In the words of the owner Masanori Honda: “I can never know whether one might succeed or fail. There is no knowing, so I might as well give it my best shot.”

Lesson 3: The executive’s role.

At one point, the interviewer asked Masanori Honda if he was an artist or entertainer. 

His answer: he is an executive, and his role as executive… well, here’s how he put it.

You'll need to click on the image to get to the interview clip
Issue #58 Boom 3

(You’ll need to click on the image to get to the clip, but it’s worth it)

So there you have it – fourth of July business advice straight from a Japanese executive who one-upped himself into the records’ book.

And how do you make a 135-year-old business work?

⭐️ With executive leadership focused on creating an amazing experience for his customers over and over again. 

Resources – what we are reading, using, and trying out.

Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz – a great book on systematizing your business, this is where we get the 4D mix and the Queen Bee exercise.

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg, a parable about relationships in business… honestly I am tired of the parable style, but there is some good thinking in here and it does stick with you. And it is a super-fast read.  

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