Good learnings from Sam Walton and Walmart
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was a visionary entrepreneur who built one of the most successful retail businesses in history. In his autobiography, “Made in America,” he shared many insights into his business philosophy and practices. Here are 28 smart things Sam Walton wrote in his autobiography:
- It never occurred to me that I might lose. It was almost as if I had a right to win. Thinking like that often seems to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- We just got after it and stayed after it.
- We just started repeating what worked.
- We always ran a real tight organization. We had no excess people.
- I went to the library and checked out every book on retailing.
- Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.
- There hasn’t been a day in my adult life when I haven’t spent time thinking about merchandising. It has been an absolute passion of mine.
- I have always pursued everything I was interested in with a true passion—some would say obsession—to win.
- One thing I don’t even have on my list is “work hard.” If you don’t know that already, or you’re not willing to do it, you probably won’t be going far enough to need my list anyway.
- We were serious operators who were in it for the long haul.
- We had a disciplined financial philosophy and we had growth on our minds.
- Our money was made by controlling expenses.
- You can make a lot of different mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you’re too inefficient.
- We couldn’t care less about what is forecast or what the market says we ought to do.
- Whatever money we made in one store, we’d put it in another new one, and just keep on going.
- Many of our best opportunities were created out of necessity. The things that we were forced to learn and do because we started out under financed and under capitalized.
- I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work.
- It didn’t take me long to start experimenting—that’s just the way I am and always have been.
- I have always been a Maverick.
- I’ve always thought of problems as challenges. I didn’t dwell on my disappointment.
- I constantly meddled with the status quo.
- I was never in anything for the short haul.
- One thing I never did—which I’m really proud of—was to push any of my kids too hard. I knew I was a fairly overactive fellow and I didn’t expect them to try to be just like me.
- Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage. We ranked number one in our industry for the lowest ratio of expenses to sales.
- Most everything I’ve done I’ve copied from somebody else.
- I like to keep everybody guessing. I don’t want our competitors getting too comfortable with feeling that they can predict what we’re going to do next.
- I’ve never done much investing in anything except Walmart.
- We were obsessed with keeping our prices below everybody else’s. Our dedication to that idea was total.
Sam Walton’s success with Walmart is a testament to his business acumen and his ability to innovate and adapt. Here are some key lessons that can be learnt from his autobiography:
- Believe in yourself and your business. Sam Walton had an unshakable confidence in his ability to succeed, and he believed that his business had the potential to change the world.
- Focus on what works. Sam Walton was a master at identifying what worked and then repeating it over and over again.
- Control your expenses. Sam Walton understood that controlling expenses was key to building a successful business.
- Be passionate about your work. Sam Walton was passionate about retailing and merchandising, and he spent his entire adult life thinking about it.
- Innovate and experiment. Sam Walton was always looking for new ways to improve his business, and he wasn’t afraid to take risks and try new things.
- Keep your prices low. Walmart’s dedication to low prices has been a key factor in its success.
- Invest in your people. Sam Walton believed in treating his employees like partners in the business, and he shared his profits with them.
- Stay focused on the long haul. Sam Walton was in it for the long haul, and he built Walmart into a business that would last for generations.
- Learn from others. Sam Walton was a voracious reader and a keen observer of the retail industry, and he was always looking for new ideas and best practices.
- Be a maverick. Sam Walton was never afraid to challenge the status quo and go against conventional wisdom.
In conclusion, Sam Walton and Walmart have left a lasting legacy in the world of business. Their approach to business was unique, and their insights and strategies have inspired countless entrepreneurs and business leaders. By following these key learnings, you too can build a successful business that stands the test of time.