IKEA’s 6 Easy-to-Follow Instructions to Build a Solid Business

We’re not being sarcastic.

We’ve all seen the memes floating around the internet teasing IKEA’s reputation for sleek, simple furniture made insanely, miserably complex by being packaged into approximately 5,762 small pieces and a less-than-comprehensive instruction manual. “One does not simply ‘assemble’ IKEA furniture,” the memes snark. You need a Harvard degree and a training module to do that.

If you’ve ever found yourself with a questionably constructed piece of contemporary furniture and a small bag full of “extra” parts that somehow didn’t make it into the finished product, rest assured — we’re not messing with you. These business-building tips will be as easy-to-follow as they come.

The key to IKEA’s success is simple: keep your products affordable and consistent. Even if no one in America can pronounce the furniture titles, and most of us want to set fire to the furniture at some point during the assembly process, we keep coming back to IKEA’s home goods labyrinth because we know what to expect from the company. That, and the Swedish meatballs.

“To do business with a clear conscience is an attitude that pays.
We have to find more time for ourselves and to regain respect for the environment in which we live.”Ingvar Kamprad , co-founder of IKEA

IKEA’s 6 simple steps to building a better brand:

1. Skapa bra varumärke (Create great branding).
You know an IKEA product when you see one, because the products have a similar look and feel. Everything in the store is simple, straightforward and stylish. Your customers should be able to summarize your brand in just a few keywords as well.

Recognizable, consistent branding is a common denominator amongst powerhouse companies. I carefully crafted a personal motto that translated into my business’s brand; it encompasses everything I want for my personal life, but also what I want for my business. My clients find my message inspiring and use it for their own motivation, but more importantly, they recognize it as my brand and understand the product’s purpose.

2. Mitt hus är ditt hus (My house is your house).
IKEA recently launched a program called “IKEA Family Members,” where customers can sign up for special deals and discounts. When you go to an IKEA store, digital kiosks help you sign up for the program right by the door. If you forgot your membership card, it’s no big deal — just reprint a temporary pass for the day. The membership isn’t terribly exclusive, but it makes their customers feel like they’re in an “inner circle,” and it shows that IKEA cares about its customers, especially since many travel impressive distances just to shop.

Customers love to feel included and appreciated. In one of my programs, registration includes info about the latest and greatest things happening in my business. I love it because the customers get to be included in events and developments, and I get to share exciting new information that is easily passed on to a wider network through my clientele. Quick, easy assembly!

“If you want to maximize results, it’s not enough to preach. You have to set a good example.”Ingvar Kamprad , co-founder of IKEA

3. Ge folk alternativ (Give people options).
Have you ever fallen in love with a sweater or a pair of jeans, so you go back to the store and order one in every color or pattern? IKEA thrives on this phenomenon — if people love what you’ve got, they’re going to want it more than once. By providing plenty of options in terms of color, shape, size, and price point, they appeal to a wide variety of customers and keep people coming back.

Just like your favorite pair of underwear, when we find the style and fit we love, we want to stock up. People love the comfort and familiarity of the old, but they still want things new. Creating options gives them the best of both worlds, and — bonus points! — your business can actually save tons of money by tweaking details but not overall product design.

4. Låt din produkt berätta en historia (Let Your Product Tell a Story).
Every IKEA store has a full floor, featuring the products fully assembled and set up in aesthetically pleasing, homey ways. When IKEA customers come to shop, they buy into the vision of how a piece of furniture will benefit their life and fit into their lifestyle. You can borrow this idea for your own product by presenting it in a way that allows customers to see how their lives will be changed once they purchase it.

I definitely don’t own a home store, but I took this idea and created purpose descriptions for products, which specify how they would improve clients’ lives and businesses. I also have reviews from satisfied customers that demonstrate how my products exceed expectations and have an impact. I’ve learned I don’t have to force a sales pitch to get the attention of consumers; I let my product do the talking with visuals, descriptions, and reviews.

“Making mistakes is the privilege of the active. It is always the mediocre people who are negative, who spend their time proving that they are not wrong.”
Ingvar Kamprad , co-founder of IKEA

5. Var inte elitistisk (Don’t Be Elitist).
Every business wants to be at the top of the pack when it comes to their line of work, but if you lead with that attitude, you may turn away customers. IKEA has a very approachable persona, and they make their customers feel like they care and are on their side. Shoppers don’t get the sense that IKEA is trying to knock out all their competitors — there’s no aggressive advertising or smear campaigns. IKEA isn’t braggy. People don’t like a showoff, so establish a welcoming vibe and see how strongly your customers respond.

6. Skapa en kultur (Create a Culture).
You may not be able to have a marketplace where customers can rehydrate, rest, and eat a plate of delicious meatballs, but you can still create a culture in your business. Setting up an online forum where customers can engage with one another, for example, could help you establish that your business is bigger than the products you’re pushing and the sales you’re making.

I have had enormous success doing this in my mentoring business. The companies that seek out my programs are often connected to other companies that have already finished, or who are about to attend my programs. This creates a network of like-minded individuals who can discuss what they have learned, what they liked, and what they would like to see in the future. This allows me to create a open line of communications between customers while giving myself ideas for the future. Best of all, clients feel involved, and they keep coming back for more.


Final Thoughts:
  • Establish great branding. Create a short, simple statement that encompasses your purpose and catches the customer’s attention.
  • Treat customers like family. Make your customers feel welcome and involved in your business and it’s products. People want to feel included. Provide incentives and information to give them a feeling of exclusivity.
  • Provide plenty of options. Variety is the spice of life, so give your great product plenty of detail options to preserve product quality, but keep customers interested.
  • Let your products tell a story. Let your product speak for itself. Use visuals, purpose descriptions, and customer reviews to tell your product’s tale.
  • Don’t be elitist. More customers will be interested in what you have to offer if you make them feel welcome. Be a product for the people.

Establish a culture. Provide forums for your customers to participate in the company.

Viola! Your newly constructed business plan is ready for use.

People l-o-v-e IKEA because the company has made all the right moves in establishing themselves as a brand that can enter the hearts and homes of its customers. IKEA has brought their products to life by creating spaces that allow consumers to see just how the products can be incorporated into everyday life. IKEA’s culture is fun, minimalist, economical, and highly appealing to its customer base. Create your business plan from these surprisingly simple IKEA instructions, and you’ll see your brand create more business than ever before.