Take a trip to IKEA
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Whenever I am given the opportunity to travel to a new place and spend time with entrepreneurs, I ask the question: “Is there an IKEA nearby?” Of course, part of the reason is that I am from Sweden, IKEA was founded by an incredible Swede and furniture from IKEA can be found in almost every home in Sweden. Close to all Swedes have battled with assembling a Billy bookshelf, for many of us it was a rite of passage to test if a long-term relationship with our significant other was at all to be considered ;-).
However, there is another – probably more relevant - reason for my question. To take entrepreneurs on a trip to IKEA is a great way to give them an immersive experience of what a truly unique business model looks like in real life. You might like IKEA, you might not! I am not suggesting that you should visit IKEA as a customer (though I would be surprised if you leave without napkins, candles, or Swedish meatballs).
I want you to visit IKEA as an entrepreneur simply because what you will be exposed to is an amazing and unique blend of Customer Acquisition, Business Model, understanding of the customers et al., of the pain that IKEA is killing for their customers (nota bene: it is not primarily to get yet another Billy bookshelf into people's homes!).
Start your field trip when you park your car in front of the mega-store and think about; How is IKEA recognized in the parking space? Move into the entrance; grab a yellow bag, a catalogue, a small pencil, a measurer, and the paper where you create your list. Take the elevator up and move into the first space and ask yourself: what are they selling here, who is selling (no one is approaching you to greet or suggest what to buy, is that because the staff is lazy?).
Proceed further and really immerse yourself in spending a few hours in IKEA with the sole purpose of furthering your understanding of what you can learn, adapt, and adopt from IKEA in your business. I can assure you that even if you have an online business that has nothing to do with furniture, nothing to do with selling to “the many”, there are so many take-aways. Take your time, listen to what others are discussing, take photos, enjoy a Swedish fika, and before you exit ask yourself: Why do they sell hot-dogs and ice-cream (or the equivalent) after I have paid? And when you have a suggestion for what the answer is, share it with the rest of us.
Share photos, examples, ideas, and disappointments. I am eager to learn more about your entrepreneurial field trip to IKEA wherever you are in the world!
Take care, stay safe, and enjoy being an entrepreneur!