Battling Against the World with Motorcycles, Fate, and English
CEO of QQEnglish & Author: Raiko Fujioka
I currently operate an English conversation school that is named “QQEnglish” in Cebu, Philippines. It consists of over 100,000 registered students on our online English conversation program, as well as a study abroad program for English in Cebu, the Philippines where we are able to accommodate over 6,000 students on a yearly basis. I established this school 7 years ago, and it has now become the largest English conversation school in the Philippines with over 700 full-time teachers. It is the very first formally established English conversation school in the Philippines that was founded by a Japanese person.
In 2015, we welcomed Shinjiro Koizumi to the QQEnglish office in Cebu. He is a Japanese politician and is a member of the House of Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party. He is also the second son of the 56th Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi. Japan’s current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and his cabinet are emphasizing the importance of increasing and fostering Japan’s output of globally talented individuals. As a result, there has been great attention towards the exponential increase in online English conversation schools and study abroad programs for English in the Philippines.
In Tokyo, I operate a delivery service using motorcycles, which I named “QQ Delivery Service.” The company runs around 100 motorcycles within the city. Therefore, QQEnglish is a little unique in that it began as a motorcycle delivery service in Tokyo.
Now, I’d like to talk about why I began my English conversation school in the first place. As a result of the Livedoor scandal in 2006, our sales from my motorcycle delivery service wouldn’t rise no matter how hard we worked. No matter how desperately we worked for our business, developed new businesses, or even created new products, it simply wouldn’t work. In addition, the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers in 2008 caused us to lose close to 20% in revenue. Even after that, the products we had been delivering through our motorcycle delivery service were beginning to be delivered online—which made our revenue drop, even more, every year onwards. Although the economic recession was large to blame, these events combined with the business’s structural issues resulted in no sign of recovery. If we kept continuing, my business would fall apart. It would keep me up every single night because it was such a large fear of mine.
So, rather than just waiting for my business to fall apart in shambles, what I decided to do was to begin an English conversation school. In other words, I suddenly began a business that had nothing to do with motorcycles. Because I only have a high school diploma and have only received formal education at the level of a high school graduate, I started with just studying English. I really started with the very basics of the language. I eventually became able to speak English and in 2009, I was able to start my English conversation school business in the Philippines—a feat that no other Japanese person had yet accomplished.
And now, what you are reading here is a compilation as to why I began my business specifically in the Philippines, what I did to have my business survive, and how I was eventually able to create the largest English conversation school in the Philippines.
Part 1: Online English Conversation
- Chapter 1: If you’re going to perish anyway, you better give it your all
- Chapter 2: Everything began with my motorcycle delivery service
- Chapter 3: A plummet in student enrollment & the threat of bankruptcy
- Chapter 4: The greatest crisis – “Sell us!”
- Chapter 5: The ultimate learning method
- Chapter 6: A school made for Koreans, according to a true Korean
- Chapter 7: A decision that I could never take back
- Chapter 8: How to catch opportunities
- Chapter 9: Doing it in a way that nobody else had done
- Chapter 10: No expectation of ghost members
- Chapter 11: The biggest weakness that nobody noticed
- Chapter 12: Creating a school that exists nowhere else
- Chapter 13: The obvious isn’t so obvious
- Chapter 14: From scratch?
- Chapter 15: Involving the motorcycle delivery service too
- Chapter 16: Let’s teach children
- Chapter 17: Waking up at 5 AM for 2 years
- Chapter 18: 4x as fast – The miracle of the Callan method
- Chapter 19: Everything began in the midst of trouble
Part 2: Studying abroad in the Philippines
- Chapter 20: From a single-cylinder engine to a V-twin engine
- Chapter 21: Throwing out all our possessions & battling with our last chance
- Chapter 22: Selling off everything in Tokyo and converting to Pesos
- Chapter 23: Drink until you die to understand the face of reality
- Chapter 24: Make nothing of your stomach and just do it
- Chapter 25: The preferences that a motorcycle delivery service holds
- Chapter 26: The need for a dorm
- Chapter 27: My connection’s connection is a friend
- Chapter 28: Handcrafting an English Conversation School
- Chapter 29: You’ve already lost when coming up with excuses
- Chapter 30: The real hardship starts now
- Chapter 31: Another shot at a restaurant
- Chapter 32: A Reliable Team
- Chapter 33: A small sprout that slowly begins to change (Part 1)
- Chapter 34: A small sprout that slowly begins to change (Part 2)
- Chapter 35: When it rains, it pours
- Chapter 36: Typhoon Haiyan
- Chapter 37: And everything was lost
- Chapter 38: A 3-day march without rest
- Chapter 39: An unbelievable experience
- Chapter 40: Crises turn into opportunities
- Chapter 41: It’ll be okay even if everything is lost