Kongo Gumi is, or rather was, the world’s oldest business concern. Located in Japan, the temple building company ran for 1,400 years, survived wars, shoguns, upheavals and the introduction of other religions such as Christianity only to finally succumb to bankruptcy last year – another victim of Japan’s post-bubble blues and the declining importance of spirituality.
Despite its unfortunate end , it obviously had a fantastic run, but how do you make a business last for well over a millennium? Well, first you operate in a stable line of business and secondly, it seems you keep things in the family. Kongo Gumi was run by the same family for its entire history.
BusinessWeek takes a look at the fascinating history of Kongo Gumi and offers up some interesting lessons from their tale.
Photo Credit: Utudanuki / Wikimedia