Back in 1962 Sam Walton, the founder and director of Wal-Mart Corporation, opened his first store thus making a start for tremendous chain of supermarkets through the world. From humble, hard-working roots, Sam Walton built Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. into the largest, fastest-growing, and most profitable retailer in the world. In 1950, he relocated to Bentonville, Arkansas and opened a Walton 5&10. Over the next 12 years they built up and grew to 15 Ben Franklin Stores under the name of Walton 5&10.
Sam had plenty of new ideas. He liked to deal with the suppliers directly so he could pass the savings on to the customers. He later brought a new idea to Ben Franklin management that they should open discount stores in small towns. They rejected his idea. Sam and his brother James (Bud) opened their first Wal-Mart Discount City store in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962. Walton and his wife Helen had to put up everything they had, including their house and property to finance the first 18,000 square-foot store.
With gradual growth over the next eight years, they went public in 1970 with only 18 stores and sales of $44 million. Today, Wal-Mart has over 728,000 Associates worldwide with 3,500 stores, sales of over $104 billion, is in operation in all 50 states and it’s still growing. In an average week, approximately 60,000,000 customers will shop at Wal-Mart throughout the world. In his autobiography “Sam Walton: Made in America: My Story,” Sam shares with us, “If you believe in your dreams, there’s no limit to what you can do.
” In 1992, American legend, Sam Walton left us with these words, “I would like to be remembered as a good friend to most everyone whose life I’ve touched; as someone who has maybe meant something to them and helped them some way. ” While Walton’s management techniques over the years were hardly the stuff of an MBA program, it represents the kind of grassroots common sense that many entrepreneurs readily acknowledge-but too seldom heed. (People have a knack for making business more complicated than it needs to be.)
What Walton showed the world, but especially the retailing world, was that success was rooted in a mindfulness of a few basic principles. These principles consisted of constantly being mindful of; customer service and satisfaction, always take advantage of the competitions ideas, diversify, employee satisfaction, and give back to the community. Couple this with a relentless drive to put these principles into practice. Sam Walton understood better, it seems, than anyone else that no business can exist without customers. He lived by the creed of, make the customer the centerpiece of all your efforts.
In addition, in the process of serving Wal-Mart’s customers he served Wal-Mart associates, shareholders, and communities. He accomplished this almost without parallel in American business. Walton knew what the customer wanted. The customer wanted everything: a large assortment of quality merchandise; low prices; satisfaction guaranteed; friendly service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience. His motto was, “always exceed the customers’ expectations”. Sam made a point to be in the store as much as he could, unlike many managers of today.
The reason for this was to allow his associates to really feel important with the president of the company coming to visit them. Few could argue with Adam Smith’s statement that “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. ” Those businesses that refuse to look after their own self-interests will not be businesses long enough to have any impact. At the same time, however, there can certainly be regard for a larger purpose.
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