Hoshi Ryokan

The ideology is among other things to be a small but powerful business.

One specific dream, one night, 1,300 years ago, was the start of one of the world’s oldest businesses. Hoshi Ryokan a traditional Japanese Inn, launched from Taicho Daishi’s dream, has been a family managed business since 718 A.D. The Inn is currently in its 46th generation of Hoshis, with Zengoro Hoshi preparing to transition the business to his grandson. The Hoshi family credits the success of the business and transition longevity to clear succession rules with each passing generation, as well as instilling a motto in each new generation “study the water running down a small current”.

The ideology is among other things to be a small but powerful business. The power of the water was the successful origin of the spa Inn. Taicho’s dream told him specific details where a special hot-spring was located that would serve the village people forever. Taicho sought the help of villagers to locate the hot-spring; the village sick who immerse themselves in the water soon found their health was immediately restored.

While many businesses stories are not that unique, we can learn from the Hoshi Ryokan family succession plan that strict training in family protocol, values and personal ethics has ensured the success of the business transitions for over 1,300 years. The protocol includes a strong set of ethics and values. Each generation has had its own set of idea’s but the Hoshi family hasn’t waivered from their commitment to family succession for 1,300 years. The family knows what made them successful, and they (the Hoshi family) is not permitted to forget.

Planning for the next five or ten years for your business? How important do you think the values of your management culture will be to your businesses continued success?

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