One of the reasons for Walton’s success was that he was continuously improving, tinkering, and experimenting with his stores. He started that process with his very first store which was not a Wal-Mart at all – the first of those did not open until 1962. He started out at JC Penney before WWII and went on to have franchises of Ben Franklin variety stores in the mid West.
When he first decided that retail would be his field after WWII he visited the Salt Lake City public library and read every book on retailing and merchandising he could find. He then went to Salt Lake’s biggest merchant, ZCMI, and asked a thousand questions. He took more notes.
In his autobiography, Sam Walton, Made in America, My Story, Walton tells about how he continuously learned from other retailers and stole their best ideas to use in his stores. He was relentlessly searching for improvements. He spent nearly as much time in competitor’s stores as he did in his own. He usually had a yellow pad or small spiral notebook with him and in later years a tape recorder. He recorded everything he observed and would ask hundreds of questions.
Sam Walton used the mountain of knowledge about retailing he collected throughout his life to build the largest and most successful retail company in the nation.
Whether or not you like Wal-Mart you have to recognize his success. He was devoted to continuous learning and you should too. It is one key to success. The world is changing far faster today than it was over 50 years ago when Walton started out. He recognized change and the need to keep up and you must too if you want to excel.
Dedicate yourself to continuous learning. Nearly all successful people do. Read more, read at least a book a month and even better read a book a week. Observe and ask lots of questions about things important to your field of interest.
It will pay off for you just like it paid off for a struggling mid West retailer named Sam Walton.
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.