Introduction: Sam Walton: Made In America (How to Succeed in Business)
“It never occurred to me that I might lose; to me, it was always as if I had the right to win. Thinking like that often seems to turn into a self fulfilling prophecy” says Sam Walton in Sam Walton: Made In America about his days as a football player.
He was a good football player who had an uncanny sense where the ball was going to go. Sounds familiar? Wayne Gretzky, the Virtuoso of Hockey, was adept at knowing where the hockey puck was going to land, and skated there in anticipation.
Do you know which trends will affect your business so that you take your business there?
UPDATE: First Published in September 2010
Have you read?
When Sam Walton was diagnosed with bone cancer, his family encouraged him to get serious about writing his biography. Whether or not you like Walmart, and the way that it’s operated, there are some things that their founder Sam Walton did right. After reading his book, I can say that I do not agree with some of his philosophies, but I found a lot of very useful information. I have pulled together some information from Sam Walton’s biography that might interest you.
Sam Walton: Made In America (How to Succeed in Business): Sam’s 10 Rules for Building a Business
- Rule 1: Commit to your business and believe in it more than others do.
- Rule 2: Share your profits with all the people who work for you, and treat them as partners in the business.
- Rule 3: Motivate the people who work for you, and keep things fresh, interesting and never become predictable. Give them the opportunity to switch job functions to learn other aspects of the business.
- Rule 4: Communicate everything you possibly can so everyone knows and understands what’s going on.
- Rule 5: Appreciate what your workers do for you by simply saying thanks or publicly acknowledging them. Money and stock options are great, but sometimes the little things can make all the difference in the world.
- Rule 6: Celebrate your successes and find humour in your failures.
- Rule 7: Listen to everyone in your company, especially the front line workers who directly serve your customers.
- Rule 8: Exceed your customers’ expectation.
- Rule 9: Control your expenses better than your competition.
- Rule 10: Swim upstream, go against the grain and ignore conventional wisdom.
Sam Walton: Made In America (How to Succeed in Business): Strategy
Growth: Organic – by increasing sales and opening new stores – and by takeovers
Inventory Management: Have sophisticated information systems, and vendors are connected so they can monitor their product levels
Distribution: Have large warehouses within a certain distance (usually no more than one day’s drive away) from the stores, and have their own fleet of truck
Information Systems: Have one of the most sophisticated computer system, which allows them to be agile and responsive to the market
Theft Management: Greeters were originally introduced as a deterrent to potential thieves
Customer Acquisition: Competitive shopping to look at what competitors are doing well, as well discover what their prices are, then make the necessary adjustments at the store. Conduct information interviews to identify trends, and discover ways to do things better. Sam Walton was part of a research group which was actually a form of peer mentoring. His peers would visit his stores and give honest feedback, which he used to make changes. His focus was to give customers the best deal.
Hiring: For the senior level positions, he hired people who were skilled in the areas he wasn’t, and that was key to their early growth
Major Regret: Didn’t include associates in the profit sharing plan when Walmart went public in 1970.
Sam Walton: Made In America (How to Succeed in Business): Five Great Ideas
- You can ride through any crisis if you look for the underlying opportunities.
- The best opportunities are created out of necessity.
- If you do not give your customers what they want, someone else will.
- Learning never ends. Look at what others are doing right and doing better, then try to incorporate that into your work.
- Innovate to take things beyond where they have been.
Final Thoughts: Sam Walton: Made In America (How to Succeed in Business)
I recommend that you give Sam Walton: Made In America a read and I am sure you will not agree with all of his philosophies, but if you own a business, or planning to start one, you’ll find information that you can immediately apply.