Sam Walton is considered as one of the most influential businessmen in the American History. His business philosophy (from the beginning) was built on selling things cheaper, which changed the way that people shop not just in the Unites States, but also around the world. Born from a poor family, Walton learned from his father how to work hard and make money even in difficult times. Like his father, Walton’s secret was to make a small profit for every transaction that he makes. This biography describes how Sam Walton started from being a small shop owner to a billionaire retail mogul.

 Walmart Founder 2017

Figure 1. What an amazing entrepreneur to learn from: From a small shop owner to a large company owner.

In his childhood, we developed his leadership skills and decided that he was not going to work for anybody. In high school, he played as an outstanding quarterback and he was the vice-president of his junior class. At home, he would help his family in the business and he would sell milk after football practice. After graduating from college with an Economics degree, he worked as a retailer at JC Penny store where he earned only 75-dollars a month. After marrying Helen Walton in 1943, he was called to serve in the army in World War II. When the war ended, he came back at home where he had to figure out how to raise his family.

Walton started his business with 25, 000 dollars (20,000 dollars was a loan from his father-in-law and 5,000 dollars was his own).  He started his own store, “$5-$10)”, in Bentonville and after 3 years, he had already paid off his loan. The secret of his business was to buy goods cheaply and sell them at cheaper prices compared to other stores. His business started to grow quickly and took out a few bank loans to expand his business. In 1962, he started his Wal-Mart store in Bentonville, Arkansas and in only 8 years, he had 32 stores in Arkansas. One thing that helped Walton’s business to grow faster was that he sells goods cheaply and he was very good at competing with his main competitors. Mr. Walton also knew how to build a good reputation of his store because he was involved in different charity work to help the poor get health care and education around different communities that his stores served. He set up a full-scholarship to 180 American Indian students each year and he was involved in various charity programs to help poor people across Arkansas.

In 1970, Walton was heavily in debt, so Walmart went public and offered its first IPO, putting his business on the market to revitalize his company. Many of the shares were bought by his Wal-Mart employees. The stock market boosted his revenues and finances so much that 5 years later; Walmart had expanded to 120-stores in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. Many small businesses started to close their doors since Wal-Mart was a big competitor and they started to complain about Wal-Mart lower wages to employees, but Walton renewed his company wage plan, which helped Wal-Mart to be successful through the courage and hard work of all its employees. His employees describe Walton as a generous, inspiring, but also a very demanding man.

In 1982, Walton started to be involved in politico-economics issues such as buy America, which helped American businesses to compete with international businesses on the market.  Walton was recognized by President H.W. Bush for his outstanding work and won the “Medal of Freedom Award”.

Walmart store 2017

Figure 2. Walmart Store Photo

Walton’s success is not just an amazing story, but a good example of what entrepreneurship is all about. A good entrepreneur must be both hard working and ambitious. Entrepreneurs have to make sure that their businesses satisfy people’s needs and their business needs to care for people’s concerns through social responsibility. In the end, his hard work paid off big time. He left his family with huge sums of money and there is no doubt that his legacy will endure from generation to generation. The Walton’s family is one of the richest family in the United States and in the world, thanks to one man vision to provide for himself and his family after coming back from world war II. In 1962, Walton started with only 25,000 dollars. In 1992, the total revenues were 44-billion dollars across the country with around 700-stores. Today in 2017, Walmart is worth around 230-billion dollars. His legacy will stay around for generations and by using his money as a seed, he sure ripped all the benefits for his family, investors, shareholders, and customers. If you are an entrepreneur or aspire to be one, be like Sam Walton.

Walmart Logo 2017

Figure 3. The company motto.

 

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Didier

 

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