Young businessman holds up clear cube frame, thoughtfully, performing a start-up opportunity assessment

Influencer Marketing

Expand your reach and engage with your target audience using this trending technique that blends celebrity endorsements with social media marketing.

Leading High Performing Remote Teams

How can leaders ensure that performance remains high in remote or hybrid-work environments?

Design Thinking

Learn the 5 phases of this problem-solving methodology and switch from technology-centered to user-centered thinking.


Learn what reciprocity is and how it can motivate people and boost sales.

Gantt Chart

Invented in the early 20th century, the Gantt Chart is one of the building blocks of modern project management. In this online course, you'll learn how this tool can be used effectively to monitor progress and achieve your team's goals.

Navigating Change Successfully

The working landscape is continually shifting and being disrupted, so how to employees maintain a sense of stability? Listen to CEO and president of Carl ZEISS Japan Stefan Sacre share his expertise on dealing with change in organizations and entire industries.

Halo Effect

The halo effect is often leveraged for marketing and promotion. But as a type of cognitive bias, it can also have a subconscious impact on decision-making in the workplace. Learn why and (how to overcome it) in this online course.

Anchoring and Framing

Want to increase your confidence during negotiations? Master the principles of anchoring and framing to take your negotiation skills to the next level.


Understanding ZOPA and BATNA will help you become a better negotiator, create more value, and feel more confident at the table.

Content Marketing

In this course, you’ll learn how compelling blogs, videos, podcasts, and other media can reach customers and drive sales. You’ll also learn steps for creating an effective content marketing plan, and some important ways to measure its impact and success.

Content marketing is a essential digital marketing strategy for companies looking to provide relevant and useful information to support your community and attract new customers.

Get started on your content marketing journey today.

Sustainable Innovation in Times of Disruption: Choices for a Better Society

There are opportunities for progress all around us. The key is to innovate on these opportunities sustainably.

To help identify most effective path forward, you'll need to gain a global perspective to these challenges in an open discussion. How can Japan and the world take action to create a more sustainable, innovative world? Where do you fit in?

It's time to find out.

Social Media & Digital Communications: Impact on Global Public Opinion

Social and digital media have dominated the communications industry for decades. But it's no secret that social media has the power to sway public opinion, and the way in which many companies use these platforms could be seen as manipulative.

What do companies need to be aware of when utilizing social and digital media? How can these mediums be used to better communicate strategically with the world?

Discover what top media and communications experts have to say.


Blockchain is one of the most captivating technologies out there. Learn what it is and how to make use of its opportunities in this short online course.

Mehrabian’s Rule

The 7-38-55 Rule, developed by Albert Mehrabian, suggests that effective communication relies less on the words we choose than on our tone of our voice, appearance, and body language. Learn how to put this theory to use for better communication in business.

Pareto Principle

Your time and resources are limited. Efficiency means learning to prioritize. The Pareto principle (also called the 80-20 rule) can help you identify the best way to use your time for maximum results.

Country Analysis Framework

Overseas expansion requires careful planning. The Country Analysis Framework can help you look beyond an industry-level analysis and reframe your view based on performance, strategy, and context. Try this short course to learn how it works.

SECI Model

The SECI model illustrates how knowledge is created and shared. Learn how to put it to use for best practices, and how the Japanese concept of “ba” fits in to broaden your perspective.

Johari Window Model

The Johari Window Model is a self-awareness framework that helps you better understand . . . you. Learn how its four quadrants can help you identify gaps between how you see yourself, and how others see you.

Sunk Costs

Wondering if you should continue an investment or look for something new? Sunk costs can have a powerful psychological impact on decision-making. Learn how to recognize them to ensure rational decisions.

CAGE Distance Framework

Want to expand overseas? The CAGE distance framework can help ensure you're constructing a solid global strategy in four areas: cultural, administrative, economic, and geographic. Learn how to leverage useful differences between countries, identify potential obstacles, and achieve global business success.


Groupthink refers to group pressure and the perception of consensus which together lead to ill-formed decisions—or even unnecessary risks. Learn to identify the warning signs of groupthink and apply countermeasures in this online course.

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

Solving problems with the best results means using two types of thinking: deductive and inductive reasoning. In this online course, learn to form a broad premise, make observations, and form conclusions from different perspectives.

Critical Thinking: Hypothesis-Driven Thinking

Anyone can come up with a good idea. The real challenge is putting that idea into action. In this online course, explore how to form compelling, testable hypotheses and bring ideas to life in your own organization.

Critical Thinking: Structured Reasoning

Even a few simple techniques for logical decision making and persuasion can vastly improve your skills as a leader. Explore how critical thinking can help you evaluate complex business problems, reduce bias, and devise effective solutions.

Critical Thinking: Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is a central business skill, and yet it's the one many people struggle with most. This course will show you how to apply critical thinking techniques to common business examples, avoid misunderstandings, and get at the root of any problem.

How to Dream

Join globally renowned author and Columbia Business School professor Dr. Sheena Iyengar as she explains how to approach your dreams with a new perspective. Learn to reflect on what you long to accomplish and what stands in your way.

Logical Thinking

Logical thinking is at the heart of confident, persuasive decisions. This course will equip you with a five-point approach to more becoming a more logical thinker. Learn to classify ideas and distinguish fact from opinion.

Investing & Diversity: The Changing Faces of Venture Capitalists

Is the venture capital industry embracing diversity in investors? Watch global venture capitalists from around the world discuss the state of things and what needs to be done for a more inclusive future.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company

Have you ever wondered why certain companies are more successful than others? The answer is strategy: internal processes that control costs, allocate resources, and create value. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can give you the tools you need for that strategic edge.

Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

To plan strategy on any level, you need to understand your company's external environment. In fact, your level of understanding can impact hiring, budgeting, marketing, or nearly any other part of the business world. Want to learn how to do all that? This course from GLOBIS Unlimited is the perfect first step!

Using Japanese Values to Thrive in Global Business

Japanese companies have unique cultural, communication, and operational challenges. But they also have values that have led to remarkable longevity. Check out this seminar to hear how these values help earn trust from overseas head offices and develop employees.

Turnaround Leadership: The Differences Between Japan and the West

What's the best way for leaders to communicate a shift in corporate strategy? How do you even know when it's time for such a change? This course explains how Japan might have one answer, Western companies another.

Conflict Management

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. But they can lead to positive outcomes if they’re managed well. Check out this online course for a two-step process that can help you manage conflict successfully.

Evernote Founder: How Tech Startups Can Break through in Japan

Can startup models from Hollywood and Silicon Valley succeed anywhere? Phil Libin, cofounder and CEO of startup incubator All Turtles, explains how AI can solve everyday problems to bring products to market.

Women Empowerment: Lessons from Cartier

How can women overcome gender inequality and reach their leadership goals? Cartier Japan CEO June Miyachi shares her secret in this special course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Marketing: Reaching Your Target

Every company works hard to get its products into the hands of customers. Are you doing everything you can to compete? In this course, you’ll find a winning formula to turn a product idea into real sales. Follow along through the fundamentals of the marketing mix and see how companies successfully bring products to market.

Marketing Mix

Seeing good products into the hands of customers is no easy task. The marketing mix can help. It's a collection of strategies and tactics companies utilize to get customers to purchase their products or services, and is an essential part of the overall marketing process.

The Principles of Negotiation

With the proper skills and attitude, anyone can become a successful negotiator.  But first, you'll need to learn the basics to prepare for, assess, and respond to offers for the best results. GLOBIS Unlimited can help.

Negotiation: Creating Value

Want to create more shared value between yourself and your negotiation opponent? Discover how cognitive bias affects the judgment of others. Try this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to master the value of negotiation.

Finding Your Life Purpose with Ikigai

Ikigai can guide you in your quest for self-discovery. Listen to Japanese brain scientist Ken Mogi explain why and how.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Want to leverage Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a leader? Try this short course to see how the theory can be applied in practical work scenarios.

Confirmation Bias

We all subconsciously collect information that reinforces our preconceptions. It's natural . . . but it does lead to a kind of flawed decision-making called confirmation bias. To become more objective and impartial, check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have the power to transform societies for the better. But how do you attract investors to start or grow a business? Or to sell one? Check out this seminar for the answers to these and more, straight from a master venture capitalist!

Managerial Accounting

Managerial accounting is a powerful way to measure progress, identify problems, and meet your goals. Check out this course to learn how data-backed decisions can help you run your business.

Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business

How does digital marketing really differ from traditional marketing? How is social media changing things really? And what's going on in Asia?

Pyramid Structure

Having the pyramid structure in your communication toolkit can not only help you approach a problem, but convince others that your solution is valid. Break away from linear thinking and test your logical thinking with this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

AI First Companies – Implementation and Impact

AI is changing the way companies operate. How do you structure teams to increase efficiency?

Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 is the next step of human evolution human civilization? Dr. Jorge Calvo seems to think so. Join him to learn how the past can help you set goals for an exciting future of digital innovation.

Technovate Thinking

Business leaders of tomorrow need to harness the power of technology and innovation. That means understanding algorithms and how they drive business results. Discover opportunities to make technology work for your competitive edge.

Product Life Cycle

Every product takes a natural course through the market—there's a how, when, and why customers adopt products at different stages. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to find out how a product you use every day is part of this cycle.

Logic Tree

Logical thinking is the most valuable asset any business professional can have. That's why logic trees are such a valuable tool—they can help you identify a problem, break it down, and build it back up to a solution.

MECE Principle

Using the MECE principle can help ensure you categorize without gaps or overlaps. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited for a practical demonstration of how it works!

Many people believe they have the necessary skills for startup opportunity assessment. But in reality, entrepreneurs often overestimate the business model they created, and non-entrepreneurs tend to underestimate new opportunities. That means almost all businesspeople overestimate their ability to assess a startup opportunity.

So did I.

I have an MBA from Harvard Business School and years of experience working with startups and venture capital. I’ve worked for GLOBIS Capital Partners and the affiliated Apax Partners. With this background, how could I fail? Surely, I thought, with all that education and experience, I must have reasonably strong skills to assess startup opportunities. So, following this certainty, I left VC and jumped into a healthcare startup.

And I failed. I lost all of my assets (small as they were quite).

Now I understand the difficulty of assessing startup opportunities first hand. It is not easy to assess new businesses. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Despite my harsh reality check, I believe that every businessperson can improve their skills step by step and eventually master business assessment. When I set out to do this, I started by speaking with several serial entrepreneurs who have enjoyed repeated success.

And as a result, I came to understand the ten skills you need for accurate startup opportunity assessment.

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Startup Skill #1: Customer Interviews

When you think about assessing a startup opportunity, you’re probably already considering the business model, the return—maybe even IPO feasibility. But really, the most fundamental skill for evaluating a startup opportunity is interviewing prospective customers.

When you decide you want to help someone, what’s the first thing you do? You ask them what they need. Otherwise, your efforts to help run the risk of completely backfiring. Similarly, when you set out to sell a new product or service to the market, you need to ask the market what it needs. Good entrepreneurs are generally very good at listening to customers’ opinions.

Startup Skill #2: Industry Analysis

If you’ve studied the frameworks of industry analysis, like Michael Porter’s Five Forces, you know how to analyze industry attractiveness. Some businesses, though strongly needed by customers, are in a non-lucrative position. For example, healthcare service ventures are challenging because the supply of nurses and caregivers is limited in most countries. Web-based services generally find it tough to survive. You generally have no barrier to entry.

How do you acquire this skill? Honestly, googling only gets you so far. The best way to get well-rounded understanding and practice for industry structure analysis is to get your MBA.

Startup Skill #3: Team Assessment

The attractiveness of business depends on who you are—and who you have working with you. If your team is launching a semiconductor startup, for example, you’d better be sure you have industry expertise onboard. If you plan to build a labor-intensive service business, the key success factor is your personal leadership skill.

If you want an accurate startup opportunity assessment, make sure there’s that fit between the business and the team. If you don’t see this (and it can’t be remedied), best to invest elsewhere.

Startup Skill #4: Deep Customer Comprehension

Customer interviews are critical. However, interviewees cannot always be trusted to give you a true or accurate answer, especially right away.

For example, one of my MBA student’s teams was developing a software application that encourages healthy communication between married couples. Only after conducting more than ten in-depth interviews, the team found out that the key driver of good communication wasn’t honesty, romance, or frequent texts to check in throughout the day. It was, in reality, mutually satisfactory sex. It’s perhaps unsurprising that this didn’t immediately reveal itself in initial interviews!

It requires a high level of skill to establish trustful relationships quickly, observe a subject’s life, and find out the market needs that are not obvious at a glance. Interviews often give you superficial answers, so you need to deeply analyze customer psychology. Without that analysis, your startup opportunity assessment will be found wanting.

Startup Skill #5: The Plan-Do-See Cycle

Skillful entrepreneurs are good at making quick trials to understand true customer needs, and this is evident in any startup opportunity they present. Entrepreneurs often create a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) and conduct customer interviews.

For example, one GLOBIS MBA student was starting a venture to connect amateur cameramen and young parents who want family photos. The team conducted photo-taking sessions several times to precisely evaluate potential customers’ willingness to pay.

This is called the Plan-Do-See Cycle. An all-too-common mistake from amateur entrepreneurs is assuming planning and implementing is enough, and that any rough waters at the start of a venture will work themselves out. It’s good to have faith in your product, but you also need to learn to adjust to the market.

Startup Skill #6: Disruption Opportunities

Many industries have hidden opportunities for disruptive innovation, a concept developed by Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. Essentially, when a product specification is developed beyond the needs of potential customers, that is a chance for a disruptive innovation (and a prime startup opportunity). Newcomers may present low-cost, low-spec products that appeal to new potential customers.

Innovators have various opportunities for drastic cost reduction. For example, you might lower the quality of the product. Or you could vertically integrate the distribution network and simplify the cost structure. Skilled entrepreneurs have a good sense of pattern recognition and are able to identify opportunities for disruption.

Startup Skill #7: Sharp Understanding of CFS

One expert I talked with was a veteran in the online gaming industry who had mastered the art of analyzing key success factors of similar industries. He told me how understanding the history of the traditional game console industry helped him extract a common theory of success.

In order to assess a startup opportunity, you need to understand its critical factors for success (CFS).

For example, when I invested in an animation production, I (eventually) understood the CFS were 1) to have an excellent creative leader who can attract animators, and 2) to have a disciplined process to manage the cost and schedule.

Understanding these CFSs from the start, or even before the start, would have been beneficial, to say the least.

Startup Skill #8: Neutrality

From a psychological perspective, it’s not easy being neutral. Especially when you have a strong passion in a particular area—passion can cloud your judgment. It creates bias.

When I was working in a startup that promotes early detection of dementia, I had the strongest passion. That affected my judgment. I wanted to get the product out there ASAP because I understood (and was so sure) it was going to help a lot of people. I couldn’t see how hard my product was to sell, or how it was much too early for the market to accept. I was so passionate, I didn’t even try to have an objective view.

Identifying a valuable startup opportunity isn’t only about assessing the product/service or team. It’s also about assessing yourself and assuring you have the right mindset of neutrality so you can see all the possibilities—and obstacles.

Startup Skill #9: Timing

If a startup opportunity is addressing unmet needs in the market, it’s sure to be a success—eventually. Keep in mind that you may be too early. If you haven’t considered the right timing for a product, service, or even business, your startup opportunity assessment is incomplete.

There are two ways to assess timing.

First, ask yourself, “Why now?” If you have logical reasons for why the same kind of business has not appeared already and why it should come out now, then congratulations! You passed the first test!

Second, ask yourself, “Are customers ready to accept this product or service?” That can be hard to determine, so try this: make a brochure that explains your product, show it to your prospective customers, and see if they understand the attractiveness of the product in thirty seconds. If it takes longer for them to get it, your product may be too early. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up, but it does likely mean you’ll need to spend a long time educating the market.

Be sure to consider that extra time in your startup opportunity assessment.

Startup Skill #10: Broad Knowledge of Business Models

In advanced economies, there is no attractive market that is obviously attractive for everyone. However, a broad knowledge of various business models across the world will serve you well. It can help you develop a hypothesis. Even when ninety-nine out of one hundred people see no chance in a market, that broader knowledge may give you a unique idea about how to grasp the market needs and achieve a profit.

So to find real startup opportunities and assess their viability, the final skill is simple: learn all you can. There’s really no better mindset for any business leader than to never stop learning.

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