Sam Walton, fully Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton

Sam
Walton, fully Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton
1918
1992

American Businessman and Entrepreneur, Founder of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club

Author Quotes

Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free and worth a fortune… If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.

I learned a long time ago that exercising your ego in public is definitely not the way to build an effective organization.

Information is power, and the gain you get from empowering your associates more than offsets the risk of informing your competitor.

The airplane turned into a great tool for scouting real estate. From up in the air we could check out traffic flows, see which way cities and towns were growing, and evaluate the location of the competition – if there was any. Then we would develop our real estate strategy for that market.

But we did try to think ahead some when it came to the cities. We never planned on actually going into the cities. What we did instead was build our stores in a ring around a city – pretty far out – and wait for the growth to come to us. This strategy worked practically everywhere.

I learned from a very early age that it was important for us kids to help provide for the home, to be contributors rather than just takers. In the process, of course, we learned how much hard work it took to get your hands on a dollar and that when you did it was worth something. One thing my mother and ad shared completely was their approach to money: they just didn’t spend it.

It is a story about entrepreneurship, and risk, and hard work, and knowing where you want to go and being willing to do what it takes to get there. And it’s a story about believing in your idea even when maybe some other folks don’t, and about sticking to your guns.

The folks on the front lines – the ones who actually talk to the customer – are the only ones who really know what’s going on out there.

Capital isn't scarce. Vision is.

I probably have traveled and walked into more variety stores than anybody in America. I am just trying to get ideas, any kind of ideas that will help our company. Most of us don't invent ideas. We take the best ideas from someone else.

It was almost as if I had a right to win. Thinking like that often seems to turn into sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The media usually portrayed me as a really cheap, eccentric recluse, sort of a hillbilly who more or less slept with his dogs in spite of having billions of dollars stashed away in a cave. Then when the stock market crashed in 1987, and Wal-Mart stock dropped along with everything else in the market, everybody wrote that I’d lost a half billion dollars. When they asked me about it I said, ‘It’s only paper,’ and they had a good time with that.

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures. Don't take yourself so seriously. Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up. Have fun. Show enthusiasm - always. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song. Then make everybody else sing with you. Don't do a hula on Wall Street. It's been done. Think up your own stunt. All of this is more important, and more fun, than you think, and it really fools the competition. Why should we take those cornballs at Wal-Mart seriously?

I remember one time I didn’t want to spend any money on motels so we all slept in sleeping bags on the floor of one of our guys’ houses. His furniture hadn’t gotten there yet.

Keep everybody guessing as to what your next trick is going to be, he said. Don’t become too predictable.

The more they know, the more they’ll understand. The more they understand, the more they’ll care. Once they care, there’s no stopping them.

Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.

I still can't believe it was news that I get my hair cut at the barbershop. Where else would I get it cut? Why do I drive a pickup truck? What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls-Royce?

Many of our best opportunities were created out of necessity.

The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want. And really, if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience.

Don't take yourself so seriously. Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up. Have fun.

I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work. I don't know if you're born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it.

Money and ownership alone aren’t enough. Set high goals, encourage competition, and then keep score.

The truth is when those Butler Brothers folks turned down my discounting idea, I got a little angry, and maybe that helped me decide to swim upstream on my own.

Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.

Author Picture
First Name
Sam
Last Name
Walton, fully Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton
Birth Date
1918
Death Date
1992
Bio

American Businessman and Entrepreneur, Founder of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club