How Ikea Thought Outside the Box

If you’ve never shopped at Ikea yourself, chances are that you know someone who has. And you’ve likely heard a horror story about attempting to assemble one of the furniture giant’s shipped-flat products. (If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, search the Internet for “Ikea assembly horror stories” and you’ll quickly get up to speed on the tragi-comic experiences that so many customers have shared.) Ikea has heard plenty of these stories, too, and a recent strategic move by the company shows that they have listened and adapted.

The home furnishings retailer has announced the acquisition of the Internet-based handyman marketplace TaskRabbit. For consumers who like the experience of walking through Ikea’s huge showrooms and enjoy the process of building their furniture themselves, nothing will change. But now, everyone who wants to sit in their living room, buy furniture online and have it appear in their home as it looked in the picture will be connected with a TaskRabbit “Tasker” who can pick up their furniture at the store, bring it to their house and assemble it for them.

This acquisition is just one example of an adaptive mindset that has enabled Ikea to sustain and grow its bricks-and-mortar business while simultaneously thriving in the digital economy. It’s a mindset that has helped us grow here at HORNE, and we believe it can help you grow your business, too.

Our firm has grown by listening to the concerns of our people and our clients and adapting to meet their needs. One of the biggest strains on an accounting firm is staff retention. We listened to our team members and modified our culture to support work from remote locations, whether that be home-based telecommuting or engagement work at a client’s business. The increase in flexibility led to a subsequent increase in our ability to handle urgent client matters more quickly, as partners and team members can respond to client requests from any place, any time. We’ve also adapted to client concerns, most notably by challenging the time-honored accounting tradition of the billable hour. With project-based billing, our clients know up-front what a service will cost. Our adaptive mindset has helped us to increase retention and client satisfaction at the same time.

Trends sweep through the marketplace for goods and services so quickly now that it’s hard to think of a business that hasn’t needed to adapt to survive. The key to adaptability is building a culture of innovation, a topic Executive Partner Joey Havens covered in his beBetter Blog. Once your culture supports innovation, you need to be clear about the most efficient way to adapt. Take an honest assessment of internal strengths and weaknesses and how they align with your ability to achieve the adaptation you want.

Change is rarely easy. If you feel that your business needs to adapt and you’re not sure how to make it happen, we would be happy to help.

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Topics: Innovation, Anticipatory

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