Made in America has been a great read so far. It really puts in perspective how great of an entrepreneur and business man Sam Walton was. In my 22 years of life, I have read and come across many competitive people and real winners, but the description of Sam Walton in Made in America is really humbling. He has many attributes that we all need to implement into my personalities. I think the world would be a better place if we could all be a little more like ol’ Sam. If someone who was considered “The richest man in America” can drive in an old beat up pick up truck, what does that say about us? What about after having billions of dollars in the bank, still taking the time to visit each and everyone of his stores and remember employees by name.
Top 5 humbling’s Sam I want you to go out and use today:
- He drives a pick up truck: Sam Walton drove a pick up truck because he understood material things were not all they were cracked up to be. He enjoyed using his truck to pick goods up from wholesalers and bring them back and forth to stores. This type of mentality not only kept him grounded but was litteraly good on gas. Who says when starting a business you need the best equipment starting off? Sam did not think so.
- Strong sense of family: One of my favorite chapters was the one that emphasized family. In it his family members were interviewed individually and gave their own personal stories about Walton. He was a family man to the fullest and demonstrated great appreciation for his family through the whole process of having his chain of stores expand globally. He did not give his family a pass when it came to work, he gave them a chance to enter the business if they wanted to, but did not force them by any means. They went on family vacations but even on vacation they knew if there was a Kroger or K-marts nearby they knew they were stopping.
- Innovation: Sam Walton is a pioneer for almost every retailling store in the world today. The way he promoted products, the way he set up his stores and the way he brought about cheap prices into the retailing business. Before Walton and two other stores, aisle’s were quartered behind cash registers and only the cashier could obtain the goods that he customer wanted. Two problems with the aisle being behind the clerks is that if you took to long it would make the customer impatient as well as the customer is not able to view other items that they may have not known about prior and have no chance to make an impulse buy. He also had blunders with innovation, he had a donkey outside with a stand with watermelons in them. One problem, it was 117 degrees outside and the melons popped. When the donkey moved around it made a huge mess and was right in front of the store. Although this was foolish, Walton learned from this but still was not afraid to innovate and make mistakes along the way.
- Studied his competitions every move: It could be argued that he payed attention to his competitors as much as he did his own stores. In the art of war there was a quote about knowing your enemy better than yourself if you plan on defeating him. In Walton’s earlier days he would always visit his competition across the street. In his first year of business they out did him by a couple hundred thousand. As little as 2 years later he surpassed the store across the street. He did this by beating their price’s by merchandising on items such as panty hose and other items that were specific to the stores location.
- Teamwork/Community: Teamwork is a big part of Walmart’s culture. The original board of directors were formed from former store owners within the company. He only hired let a certain type of person within his organization and never shifted away from what the personnel he knew would work. He himself grew up in the church and was in as many organizations as could be. Saying that he wanted a well rounded person. He only was going to give a position who was not only ethically suited for the position but had be exposed to differing stimulus’s and ready to handle the pressure that came with the growing Walmart business.
This book is really insightful and I am just a couple of chapters in. I cannot wait to see what other jewels I can find about this man’s business and life in the upcoming chapters.