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Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, had the idea in 1962 while he was a franchiser with Franklin five-and-dime stores. He envisioned opening a store in the rural setting where customers could access commodities at lower prices and reasonable discounts. Although his idea looked far-fetched at the time, Sam remained focused on his dream and founded Walmart, which became one of the most successful retailing stores in the USA. By the time of his death, he had a net worth of $25 billion (Mink). Currently, the Walmart is the leading world’s retailer with over 4,000 retail stores globally (Mackay). Owing to this success, it is crucial to understand the steps which Sam followed and his innovative ideas towards such a great achievement.
Steps Sam Walton Followed to Build Successful Business
Walmart’s Sam Walton followed ten simple and straightforward steps an entrepreneur must follow for excellent performance and business growth. First is full commitment to the business. Here, Sam Walton emphasized on passion as the most essential requirement for success in every endeavor (Mackay). He believed that exceptional entrepreneurs must believe in their undertakings and ideas more than any other individual. Without the desire, passion, and zeal, one can never endure the turbulent business environment and emerge successful (Mackay).
Secondly, he shared profits with employees. In other words, he treated his employees as partners. He emphasizes on employee motivation as a key driver to success. When workers are treated with respect and regarded as essential partners, they will always increase performance in return (Mackay). Sharing profits makes employees feel rewarded for extra effort and goes a long way to make them more committed to the goals. Walmart uses profit sharing and bonuses programs as opposed to many companies with fancy incentive programs. Third, Walton emphasized encouraging competition. According to Sam, it is through competition that he realized his weaknesses and made necessary efforts to improve (Mink). It is, therefore, an excellent idea to encourage competition and set measurable goals which will serve as motivators to your partners.
Fourth, Walton ensured there is effective communication with employees in the best channels possible. When there is sufficient information about processes and any activities, it makes employees empowered. Sam ensured that employees were given adequate information about what is going on, what is required of each one of them and all decisions (Mackay). Fifth, Sam Walton exercised appreciation towards everything the associates did or contributed to the business. Walton believes that being grateful to those who are for your good is key to building an empire. He therefore designed strategies to make employees feel they are of great value to the company by appreciating his worker’s excellent performance (Mink).
Sixth, Walton achievements are also embedded in the ideology that it is good to celebrate success. Additionally, is philosophy emphasizes that in case of failure or losses at one point, an entrepreneur must maintain positive focus (Mackay). As such, Walton’s experiences of failure in specific targets were moments to learn on how to do better. The seventh step for Walton’s success involves listening to all stakeholders as a fundamental attribute. Walton supports the philosophy of conversing with people rather than just talking at or to people (Mink). His success was derived from hearing people’s views, an aspect that was critical in find ways to get individuals talking. In this way, it was easier to acquire new ideas, identify weaknesses, and loopholes and thus improve.
Eighth, he endeavored to understand the customers’ needs, satisfy their requirements, and value them as well. Sam reminds entrepreneurs that no business can ever have enough customers. Taking care of the clients attracted other potential ones in the market (Mink). One thing he ensured was that Walmart treated all customers with utmost value and respect to maintain the base and grow its market share more. The ninth strategy encompasses control of expenses. Wanton was an entrepreneur who strived to improve his spending culture by incurring costs only when needed and not just whenever one feels like (Mink). Walton believed that all resources required to be accounted for and spent in a meaningful cause. Lastly, Walton avoided following the crowd, an approach he equated to swimming upstream (Mackay). By being unique, Sam Walton followed his own path where everybody else had avoided. This move helped him create a niche with enough windows of opportunity to maneuver.
Apart from just the steps Walton also possessed some innovative skills which made him overcome the environmental challenges and become successful.
Walton’s Innovative Ways for Success
Walton showed innovative skills on how he chose his growth strategy. Instead of making the same level of profits as other players, he decided to use low pricing, make half earnings as competitors do, but win customer loyalty (Mink). In the end, he had higher volume sales and made more benefits as a result of economies of scale. Additionally, he was innovative on how to ensure his customers were well treated. He, first of all, ensured the employees were well taken care of, which automatically translated to how they managed customers. Sam also showed innovativeness in handling competitors. Other than focusing on weaknesses as others do, he chose to focus on their strengths more (Mink).
Mackay, Harvey. Positive Struggles: Sam Walton's 10 Steps for Survival. Minneapolis, 2016.
Mink, Michael. Sam Walton built Walmart with People and Discounting. New York: Investors Business Daily, 2013. PDF. .
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