Ingvar Kamprad – The Entrepreneur I Admire Most
I always wonder if the global economy is made and created within the entrepreneurial ingenuity of several if not few men who have demonstrated greatness and gladness of entrepreneurial success. In the year 2011, more than one and half million entrepreneurial start-ups were started successful in the United States of America, a closer figure of around 1.1 million start-ups recorded in Japan. Indeed the global economy beats around this entrepreneurial start ups which contribute much to the development and growth of the global economy. But then even with this enormous start ups in the United States of America and Japan, no such entrepreneur would beat and reach the success of Ingvar Kamprad. Perhaps Mr. Ingvar Kamprad conceptualized his enterprise long ago when there was no such much creative or he is really a better entrepreneur who grew his skills and business character in the most uncommon means? Indeed we shall see the ingenuity of this one man who holds one of the biggest companies in the world. In the year 2004, Ingvar Kamprad, the founder and owner of IKEA international furniture company hit the news when he was controversially named richer than Microsoft founder Bill Gates hence making him the wealthiest man on the face of the planet. A statement which was then dismissed.
History of Ingvar Kamprad
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Perhaps in the history of entrepreneurs there has been no entrepreneur who has had a compelling and rich entrepreneurial skills, determination, hard work and future like Ingvar Kamprad. Indeed with the kind of childhood and earlier entrepreneurial advances of Mr. Ingvar Kamprad, there is no much interesting and successful story outside there that can triumph his story. Ingvar Kamprad was born in Ljungy, Sweden on March 30, 1926. He was born to a family which valued hard work and rewards. As a young boy he participated and worked hard in business and through his education where he was one of the most successful. At age seventeen he founded IKEA, a home refurnishing company which is now the leading home refurnishing company in the world, (Rosenhauer, 2008). Ingvar Kamprad was a pro-Nazi sympathizer for a brief period during and end of the Second World War, actions and ideas he has honestly apologized of publicly even by writing letters to his respective employees apologizing for it. In a brief, Ingvar Kamprad had a standard life as teenager and has an entrepreneur with IKEA.
Ingvar Kamprad entrepreneurial skills and knowledge was unmatched from a young age. Even when he was a young boy, his business sense and knowledge was evident. At such age he would ride in his bicycle and sell matches t boys around town. His skills were good and business sense so smart that it could be said he understood the basics of demand and supply before he could even learn basic grammar. This was evident n the way he purchased and sold matches and therefore making a huge profit from it i.e. he was buying the matches in bulk because he realized that it could b cheaper that way and then sell the matches personally around town hence accumulate a good and huge profit. The basic product Ingvar Kamprad was selling was matches, pens fish and sometimes Christmas trees decorations. Because these products don’t go for very high prices, Ingvar Kamprad ensured he sold them at lower prices hence increasing the demand as they will be sold quickly hence giving him the chance to expand to other areas in his town. He first expanded to his school where he started selling pens and pencils to students and teachers alike. Christmas trees decorations and fish were the item s he sold around town using his bicycle and door to door salesmanship which he proved to be efficient in.
Ingvar Kamprad was really a successful salesman at such an early age. But then with these work and constant moving here and there delivering products how did he perform at school. Ingvar Kamprad could also work hard in school. This is where his efforts yielded good returns whereby as an excellent student he managed to pass well and his father was very impressed. He was really very impressed of his son hard work and commitment to school and business thereby he rewarded him very well. During this time Ingvar Kamprad was already at age seventeen and very experienced in the field of business hence the first thing he did which shaped the future of his business life was to open a small furniture stores. The store ten would first of the stores that created way for one of the biggest home furnishings company in the world. As explained earlier the name IKEA is an acronym of the names of Ingvar Kamprad, then the name of the farm where he grew p in, Elmtaryd and lastly the name of the town he was born in which goes by the name Agunnyrd, (Torekull, 1999). Indeed there is no much history to determine the logistics of these man and strategies that led to the rise and expansion of one small local furniture store to the biggest home refurnishing company in the world in more than 31 countries, but then we would assume that Ingvar Kamprad’s genius entrepreneurial skills which he displayed around his home as a young boy and an impressive record as student were then one which lead this man through a small store to as many as 260 sores world wide.
It’s said that at young age when IKEA was growing, Ingvar Kamprad was suffering from dyslexia that he found it hard to remembering his stock-keeping unit numbers, to solve the problem he started to name his furniture Swedish sounding names for easy recall. Through proper business techniques and strategies IKEA started to grow and expand from Sweden to other nations in Europe and all over the world. Te stores are commonly known for offering quality made furnishings at different styles and culture makings at a price that most people can possibly afford, this one of the strategies that has made IKEA a household name in world business. I every way, for furniture store to grow and expand in such way, a great deal of hard work and business ideas would have to be used, things which Ingvar Kamprad was privy of. We could say that its his business appeal and knowledge that propelled him to making a huge business that grown well all over the world whereby if he could the owner of the company , 100% he could be the wealthiest man on the face of the globe, (Shane, 2003).
His successful story started in the year 1945, several years after starting IKEA. On that year he began advertising his business and company in local newspapers and by the h was using milk trucks to deliver his goods. The trucks proved to be crucial to his business as t only could they ferry furniture to homes of people but also to the train station where he could send other products to other customers. By the end of 1947 he expanded the main business by adding the essentials and a large percentage of the business to include furniture by local manufacturers. The following 4 years were instrumental in determining that furniture was the only product that would propel his business further hence removed all other products and included furniture has his sole product. By then competition was high thereby he decided to open a furniture showroom in Almhult so as to provide to customers an chance to see and experience for themselves before ordering hence increasing his sales. But on 1955, other competitors who felt beaten by IKEA boycotted I due to competition pressure hence Kamprad conceptualized a plan to counter them. First he designed designs specifically of IKEA, then due to storage and prices he made furniture that customers could assemble then he ensured that he sold furniture at affordable prices, (Jones, 2004). Thus was possible due to saved expenses from cheaper storage and shipping activities. From then Ingvar Kamprad continued o offer better furniture costs and tastes with an accustomed changes in consumer needs hence creating retail opportunities for his company.
Ingvar Kamprad has a strict lifestyle policy which helps him keep a good image for his company employees to follow and promote the company. He flies in economy class and evidently owns a 15-year old Volvo which he drives or has driven most of his life. But then it’s said that he owns other luxurious cars and properties around Europe which he does not wish his employees and customer bas to be aware of. With his hard work better entrepreneurial skills, Ingvar Kamprad is now ranked the 7th richest man on the face of the planet as per the Forbes magazine. He is 82 years old and still drops to his stores now and again to grab a meal and even shop for furniture. Ideally the story of Ingvar Kamprad is the most magnificent entrepreneurial story.
Why Ingvar Kamprad
Not every individual could make successful entrepreneurs but then the values that made the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other global values are the ones which also built Ingvar Kamprad. The ideals, actions, values and decisions that have guided Ingvar Kamprad are the ones which make him one of the greatest entrepreneurs ever. Entrepreneurship is the art of undertaking new innovations or creation of new tings or a finance or business acumen effort that helps in transforming innovations into economic goods. Hence starting with the foundation of entrepreneurship, Ingvar Kamprad is rich in entrepreneurial spirit and skills from his young age. As a boy Ingvar Kamprad understood the basics of business that he identified a market of matches, pens and pencils, fish and Christmas trees decorations. Hence after identifying the market which is a creative art, he engaged in selling these products by buying them in bulk and selling them personally so as to make a higher profit. Hence Ingvar Kamprad managed to show entrepreneurial experience and skills at a young age hence making him a genius in business, something which led to his success in the future business in IKEA.
Further enough his entrepreneurial capacity ad ability are tested and showered in the management of IKEA from a small shop in his town to more than 30, 000 stores in more than 31 countries around the globe. Between the year 1948 and year 1957 he managed to create a company that has evolved and grown in a very high speed. Competition was one of his greatest challenges in the earlier stages of IKEA. As a blight entrepreneur he took risks by being creative and opened a furniture showroom where he displayed his furniture to customers before they could make their orders. This led to more uproar from competitors; hence to counter them he created designs specifically for IKEA and adopted an affordable policy of lower furniture prices. This was achieved through the creativity of creating furniture to be assembled by the customers and ensuring cheaper storage costs and shipping costs. These are the work of a better entrepreneur.
Ingvar Kamprad has reached and accomplished all values and characters of a better entrepreneur. He takes risks head on in expansion of his business; he is very creative in his day to day activities and monitoring of IKEA. First of all the best creativity was when he created IKEA and managed to build to an empire it is currently, hence the skills and knowledge he used makes him the best entrepreneur available. The following characteristics describe the entrepreneur persona of Ingvar Kamprad
Confident- Ingvar Kamprad showed his confidence in starting IKEA and facing competition at an earlier stage without losing hope Open Minded- Ingvar Kamprad is an open minded person who used the essentials and opportunities availed to him to create furniture designs which are qualitable and affordable. He is a good role model to his employees and engages in any new business and market with focus.
Competitive- Ingvar Kamprad proved to be competitive on how he dealt with competitors who boycotted IKEA in the 1950’s and also day to day operations of IKEA where he ensures there is level playground for every competitor.
Passion- Ingvar Kamprad showed his passion for business at an early stage that he managed to engage in more than three business endeavor without any problem and still perform in school. His passion is further reflected in the hard work and time he spent to create IKEA to a business magnate.
Determination and strong wok ethic- Determination is the value that makes entrepreneurs create better businesses. Even when he dropped other products and relied on furniture as the principal and sole product of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad was still determined to create a better and flourishing company even when e received bitter competition. His work ethics are centered in ensuring that perfect and quality products are produced. He has also advocated for a good work place relationship and ethics to ensure team work, considerations and promotion of every employee ideals.
The concept of entrepreneurship whereby business re created to accelerate economic growth and develop or increase wealth of a nation has been well covered by IKEA which has employed more than 75,000 employees world wide with an annual sales base of more than $12 billion. Currently, IKEA promotes Sweden, home headquarters in the payment of taxes, promotion of social welfare and corporate social responsibility, (VUILLERMOT, 2009) .The major concept of entrepreneurship is the identification of a business opportunity and raising enough resources to exploit such opportunity. Hence Ingvar Kamprad identified the furniture business opportunity and raised enough resources to start his own business. The essence of this concept is risk taking, its to be able to accept the risk which is involved in undertaking a business opportunity and continuing with the aim of getting returns. Ingvar Kamprad took the risk of starting a furniture business which in turn became an empire all over the world.
Ingvar Kamprad Entrepreneurship Strategy
Ingvar Kamprad is the modern figure of entrepreneurial leadership. One of the greatest strategies in the development of business is the personal involvement and objectives of the owner. Indeed this means the reason of transformative leadership. Ingvar Kamprad has been an individual who has ensured that he impacted IKEA with transformative leadership skills. He has managed to achieve this in the following ways, (McClelland, 1961).
Employee consideration and involvement- He treats his own employees as if they are his own family hence promote motivation among them or better and quality production. He ensures that IKEA does business like family business so as the workforce may feel as part of he family hence send the feeling of identification hence commitment, boosting of dedication to improve performance.
Leadership- Ingvar Kamprad has taken the leadership of IKEA and leads it like family to ensure that every company activity and development s done within his arms so as to ensure everything is done within his entrepreneurial focus.
Role model- Ingvar Kamprad leads as an example. He leads a simple and humble lifestyle which s to serve as an example for employees and customer base.
Apart from the personal strategies that have improved the image of the company, Ingvar Kamprad employs business strategies that has improved and developed the company for so many years. The main strategy that Ingvar Kamprad uses is franchise trading. These is where IKEA sells its trading rights to other companies across the globe as a strategy of corporate risk spreading and resource sharing. These strategy has helped IKEA develop to other parts of the world where it could not reach and sell its name and image all over the world. Secondly, the principle vision of IKEA is to develop better designs, quality products and cheaper prizes. This has been the major weapon which has propelled IKEA high above any other furniture companies in the world. It’s said that when a competitor introduces cheaper product than that of IKEA, IKEA would create a new product which is cheaper enough to coerce the competitor product out of market of out of the specifics of a cheaper product. This strategy enables IKEA to attract and keep its market. With more than 135,000 employees at its 290 stores in more than 36 countries the Kamprad family is concentrated in the ownership hidden behind financial wizardry with an income of 22 billion Euros, (Nanda, 1996). IKEA’s success therefore can be summed as a success of showmanship and strategic ruthlessness, corporate strategy and financial skull duggery and the ability to turn challenges into a creative competitive advantage. They also produce more than 130 million copies IKEA catalogues to customers and employees to tell them what they have realized and they need to realize.
IKEA module learning outcomes
Indeed there is much to understand Ingvar Kamprad’s personal social entrepreneurship and its impact on family businesses. Family businesses are common in our society with most big corporations run by families with Microsoft, Facebook, Wal-Mart owned by families. Hence the most questions one should as k is whether the stories given by these mega entrepreneurs about their business skills are true to be passed as true stories or not. Mr. Ingvar Kamprad entrepreneurship history and skills are marked as the most possible. His skills were recognized when he was young boy hence by the time he was 17 years old he would be able to start lead such a business magnate like IKEA. Contrasts are but put on the strategic ruthlessness, financial duggery and competition treatment, (Zacharakis, 2003). Maybe the SWOT analysis will present the possible outcomes of IKEA.
The strongholds of IKEA is based o its broad global brand which is able to attract its huge consumer base. Then it has strong business concept that offers a wide range of designs of products, quality and low priced products. New technology, economies of scale , product delivery and renewable raw materials usage has also put IKEA on the map.
Opportunities are rare things mostly for furniture industry players but IKEA is luck to have around three of them. The global demand for greener products in the aim to conserve the environment, there are opportunities for the production of greener products. IKEA is placed above other corporations due to its global and financial presence. An opportunity is the high global demand for low priced products. Hence IKEA which has objectives of making low priced products would benefit. Lower carbon usage is a legal requirement in most countries hence IKEA would benefit if it produces towards that goal.
Threats and Weaknesses
The size and scale of IKEA global business prove to be a major weakness has these needs more controls and quality standards. Continuous production of low priced products is compromising on quality as quality products are a bit costly. Communication between the company and company needs also to be increased. Threats from competitors, changes in the social trends of customers, changing market forces and looming global economic turmoil are threatening IKEA from all corners, (Goldsby, 2006).
In a conclusion, Ingvar Kamprad entrepreneurship skills have managed to triumph the worst times while he has taken advantage of the opportunities which have come across. That is what makes a better entrepreneur.
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