Written By: Dr. Amit Mishra
The Success Story of Wal-Mart: Fundamental Insights and Lessons from Sam Walton’s Retail Business
“Two things about Sam Walton which distinguishes from almost everyone else I know. First, he gets up every day bound and determined to improve something. Second, he is less afraid of being wrong than anyone I’ve ever known. And once he sees he’s wrong, he just shakes it off and heads in another direction.” – David Glass
Have you ever dreamt of starting a retail business? The huge success made by Wal-Mart from a Single room store to a US-based Multinational Corporation gives direction to enthusiastic budding Entrepreneurs and is an outstanding example How to be successful in business by remaining focused on your goals?
Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, brought an everlasting change to the retailing by using the supply-chain theme. The upright objective of Sam Walton’s ventured business was “Great value and great customer service”. Sam was a staunch believer that True leadership depends on willing service and so he built Wal-Mart on this principle. He always considered the customer as the ultimate boss in business. Also, he had the willingness to learn new skills and explore innovative ideas in business.
In recent years, with digital investments, Wal-Mart’s e-commerce has gained significant competitive strength against its arch-rivals. Retailing in India reports for above 10% of the nation’s GDP and about 8% of the employment. Wal-Mart has maintained its pole position at the top of the retailer leader board for more than 20 years.
In 1992, President George W. Bush Jr. rewarded Sam Walton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the nation’s top honors. “Sam Walton was an original American who represented the entrepreneurial spirit and epitomized The American dream,” said Mr. Bush.
The success story of Wal-Mart initiated with a humble beginning of a small grocery store with a small investment of 6000 dollars of personal savings by Sam and Helen, his wife, and money borrowed from family members which all together supported in the accomplishment of a giant Wal-Mart Supermarket chain of net worth over $ 320 billion.
Quality, Brands offered at low prices in the rural areas of the United States targeting lower-income shoppers was the merchandising plan during the initial days of the building of Wal-Mart Store. Wal-Mart molded the world of distribution entirely. Today, Wal-Mart India possesses and runs 26 B2B modern wholesale stores under the brand name of `Best Price’. The company also manages 3 fulfillment centers in India.
About Sam Walton
Sam Walton (Full name Samuel Moore Walton) was born on March 29 in 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. His father, Tom, was a Farmer. From childhood only, Sam was a hard worker. In 1942, at the age of 24, he got the opportunity to serve in the military. He married Helen Robson in the year 1943. After retirement from service in 1945, Sam and Helen shifted to Iowa and then to Newport, Arkansas. By this time, Sam gained early retail experience, over time managing his variety store for 15 years in small towns.
The Wal-Mart opening was truly done on July 2, 1962, in Rogers, Arkansas. Forbes gave Sam Walton the ranking of the wealthiest person in the United States from 1982 to 1988. He died due to bone cancer in April 1992, by then he had 1,960 Wal-Mart stores, employed 380,000 people and observed annual sales of around $50 billion.
Business Lessons from Wal-Mart
- COMMITMENT and PASSION lead to success To maintain a singularity of focus is the key to success. Person’s will-power and can-do attitude, coupled with his passion to succeed can make a big difference.
- SHARE success with those who have supported you Sharing helps in making partner, and together you can perform beyond your natural expectations.
- MOTIVATE yourself and others to attain your dreams Work should never be done for Money and gaining authority. Setting high objectives, encouraging healthy competition and helping people reach their dreams can bring great success.
- COMMUNICATE with people and display your care Communication is the best mode to understand people. The greater they understand, the more they’ll care. Once they start caring, no one can stop reaching success.
- APPRECIATE and RECOGNIZE people for their efforts and outcomes A few well-chosen, well-timed sincere words of praise can never be substituted. These are free and worth a fortune.
- CELEBRATE your own and other’s accomplishments Never take yourself so seriously. Be comfortable with everybody around you. Always have fun and show enthusiasm.
- LISTEN to others and learn from their ideas Good Listening is vital in business. Being an Effective, active listener is the core effective leadership that Young Entrepreneurs must learn at an early stage to succeed in business.
- EXCEED expectations of customers and others Always have the habit of giving more to customers. Stick to your core values.
- CONTROL Expenses and Save your way to wealth Saving and investing are healthy habits of entrepreneurs that not only help in planning for the future but also can provide comfort at the time of financial grief and loss.
- SWIM Upstream Be distinct and Challenge the Status Think Outbox and ignore traditional wisdom this way you can find your niche, it’s going in exactly the opposite direction to where everybody else is doing it one way.