Sam Walton, Made in America, My Story

Sam Walton, Made in America, My Story
Sam Walton was known to be industrious, always trying to get the most out of money, and had a burning ambition to succeed. This was evident in his book Sam Walton, Made in America, My Story. He was a hard working individual who helped his family through the depression, started his own business from almost nothing and changed the field of management for ever.
Sam Walton was born in 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma during the Great Depression. Sam obtained his work ethic from his father Thomas Gibson Walton who was a hard worker and had all sorts of jobs. He was a banker, farmer, farm-loan appraiser and an agent for insurance and real estate. He put in long hours, was honest and was known for his integrity. Sam also saw what a great negotiator he was. He also learned about hard work from his mother who had a milk business. Sam experienced earning money at the early age of seven by selling magazine subscription. He started a paper route kept it up through college. Through his early jobs, Sam learned how much hard work it took to earn a dollar. From his parents he also learned not to spend money.
Sam always set extremely high personal goals. He was very competitive and he was a motivator. He joined the Boy Scouts; he had a bet with his friends about who would be Eagle Scout first. Sam made Eagle Scout at age 13; at the time, he was the youngest in the history of Missouri.
Sam attended the University of Missouri, and received a B.S. degree in business. He soon married Helen Robson and learned much about money and finances from her father, a salesman. Helen?s father managed his ranch and family business as a partnership. This is something that Sam adopted early on, and kept as his philosophy for success.
Sam wanted to own his own department store. His dream became a reality in the fall of 1945 when he purchased a store in Newport, Arkansas, a Ben Franklin franchise, which is where he learned a lot about running a store. This is where the foundation of Wal-Mart?s philosophy was born and changed the way retailers sell and customers buy forever. In his store, he would buy an item for 80 cents, priced it to sell at $1.00 and sell three times more of it than by pricing it at $1.20. The overall profit was much greater. By cutting the price, it boosted the sales to a point where it earned far more at the cheaper retail price than it would had by selling the item at the higher price. Sam eventually lost the lease on the building and had to end up selling his first very successful business. It led him to bigger and better things. Sam moved with his family to Bentonville, Arkansas to open self-service Five & Dime store which at that time was a new concept.
In 1953 Sam started his own small family business. The philosophy and strategy of the Walton family remained. They made decisions on a consensus basis. They controlled the amount of money paid out; each member getting an equal share.
Sam Walton?s book attributes different things to the success of the Wal-Mart stores, one of these being his approach to management. To keep management on their toes and involved, Sam offered them the opportunity to become limited partners if they would invest in the store they were to oversee. Since most of the managers of Wal-Mart own a piece of their store, they are naturally more concerned with profit and losses. Sam stated several times that the single most important ingredient of Wal-Mart?s success was taking care of the people in the store, then they will in turn take care of the customer.
.Another big item of concern was customer service. This included reasonable store hours, a friendly greeter at the door, satisfaction guaranteed no matter what, and selling for less. Another reason for Wal-Mart?s great success was the strategic positioning of stores. He built big business in small town America, where the competitors would not dare to go. Sam Walton went further with his success when he bought into the hi-tech concept. This allowed for coordination between stores and efficient distribution of merchandise.
As Sam opened more stores and continued to study businesses around the world, he used and copied what he saw was working. He learned to sell regionally, which meant identifying merchandise that would sell in a particular area such as beach towels in Panama City Beach, FL and then have promotione to sell those towels. This is how Sam dominated the competition.
Sam spoke very affectionately of his wife and four children, three sons and one daughter. He made them part of his merchandising passion by always including them in business discussions. At times he took them to the stores to investigate, as well as giving them shares of the business.
In 1970, with gradual growth they went public. Even though Sam had always had a disciplined financial philosophy, he had developed great debt due to opening one store after the other. Going public enabled him to pay off debts. Sam believed loyalty breeds loyalty and after going public, he kept the stock within the family and the employees of Wal-Mart.
Sam talks about the need to always keep costs low and the need to consider distribution and transportation as part of competitive advantage and not as an afterthought. Wal-Mart owns and operates their distribution channels which shortens lead times, costs less to get the goods to the store and maximizes stock positions. At the writing of this book, the Walton?s Enterprises operated the largest civilian computer and satellite system of its kind.
K Mart is one of Wal-Mart?s largest competitor stores although they used very different marketing strategies. They did not do the extensive customer base research that Sam Walton did. Sam placed his stores in rural regions around larger cities. He waited for growth to come to them. This approach saved a lot of money in advertising. Between 1970 and 1980 Wal-Mart grew by 50 plus stores a year. Profit grew by 3000 percent. By the end of the 1970?s Wal-Mart helped to shut the door on variety stores.
Sam gives credit to K Mart and Target for legitimizing discount stores. They were the pioneers that he many times learned from. He was in constant competition with them. Sam felt competition makes a company better. There was no end to his innovative nature and in 1983 Sam opened a warehouse style store known as Sam?s Club.
Sam Walton was a believer in the free enterprise system. His whole story is very simplistic but unmatchable at the same rate. He attributed his success to the following ten general rules for building a business:
Rule 1: Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.
Rule 2: Share your profits with all your associates and treat them as partners.
Rule 3: Motivate your partners. Money and ownership alone are not enough
Rule 4: Communicate everything you possible can to your partners.
Rule 5: Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
Rule 6: Celebrate your successes.
Rule7: Listen to everyone in your company.
Rule 8: Exceed your customers? expectations.
Rule 9 Control your expenses better than your competition.
Rule10: Swim upstream.
Sam Walton was a model manager for business success and personal growth. He is an inspiration to young business professionals who are just beginning their careers and to older business professionals who can use his strategies to modify their working environment.
This book has inspired me to better manage my money and investments. It has also re-emphasized what I already knew; that hard work and commitment to excellence are the ingredients for a successful life.

Sam Walton, Made in America, My Story 9.7 of 10 on the basis of 2344 Review.