"Winning Business Models: Lessons from IKEA, Yakiniku Restaurants, and Kumon"


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 16, 2023

4 min read


"Winning Business Models: Lessons from IKEA, Yakiniku Restaurants, and Kumon"

In the world of business, successful companies often have common points that contribute to their growth and profitability. By examining the business models of different industries, we can uncover valuable insights that can be applied to any business. In this article, we will explore the similarities between IKEA, yakiniku restaurants, and Kumon, and discuss the key elements of their business models.

IKEA and yakiniku restaurants may seem like unrelated businesses, but they share a common approach in their business processes. Both companies delegate certain tasks to their customers, while also providing an element of entertainment. For IKEA, customers are responsible for assembling their own furniture, while yakiniku restaurants require customers to cook their own meat at the table. By involving customers in the process, these companies create a win-win relationship where customers feel a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment while also reducing costs for the companies.

Similarly, Kumon's business model centers around providing support to students in self-study. The essence of Kumon lies in modeling the knowledge of reading, writing, and calculation and allowing children to study independently with the support of non-professional tutors. By simplifying the role of the tutor and empowering children to take control of their learning, Kumon has created a scalable business model that has been successful worldwide.

Another example of a successful business model is Slack, a communication and collaboration platform. Slack's platform strategy revolutionized the industry and changed the game for enterprise communication tools. One of the key signals of Slack's success was its exponential user growth, from 10,000 users on day one to 20,000 users in just a few weeks. The company's user experience became its sales pitch, attracting more users to join and enhancing the value of the platform over time.

Slack also capitalized on the concept of free-to-use and pay-to-enhance. By offering a free version of the platform with limited features, Slack enticed users to try it out and experience its value. As more users joined a company's Slack account and various teams collaborated on different channels, the value of the platform increased. Additionally, Slack's integrations with third-party tools and the ability to access past conversations and decisions added to the platform's value over time.

Moreover, Slack's advocacy spread across the network, particularly with the introduction of Enterprise Grid. This expansion allowed different functions within a company to have their own version of Slack while still enabling collaboration through shared channels. By focusing on scalability and building a platform that catered to the needs of enterprise customers, Slack successfully positioned itself as a competitor to industry giants like Microsoft Teams.

One of the key factors that contributed to Slack's success was its consumer sensibility. Despite being enterprise software, Slack prioritized user experience and made the platform fun and easy to use. Recognizing the need for automation and customization, Slack developed no-code workflows powered by templates, allowing users to automate routine tasks without technical expertise.

Additionally, Slack fostered a community for developers, builders, and designers to come together and discuss the present and future of the platform. This community served as both a resource for knowledge sharing and a safety net against short-term decisions that may not align with long-term goals.

To apply these lessons to your own business, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Involve customers in the process: Consider ways to delegate certain tasks to your customers while providing an enjoyable experience. This can reduce costs and create a sense of ownership and satisfaction.
  • 2. Focus on user experience: Prioritize user experience and make your product or service easy to use and enjoyable. Look for opportunities to automate routine tasks and provide customization options.
  • 3. Build a strong community: Create a community of users, developers, or customers who can share knowledge, provide feedback, and contribute to the growth of your business. This community can act as a support system and help shape the future of your company.

In conclusion, successful businesses often share common elements in their business models. By examining the strategies of companies like IKEA, yakiniku restaurants, Kumon, and Slack, we can gain valuable insights that can be applied to any industry. Whether it's involving customers in the process, prioritizing user experience, or building a strong community, these lessons can help drive growth and profitability in your own business.

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