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Sam Walton quotes Showing 1-30 of 70

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves it s amazing what they can accomplish.”
Sam Walton
“Sam Walton: I had to pick myself up and get on with it, do it all over again, only even better this time.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they've been.”
Sam Walton
“High expectations are the key to everything.”
Sam Walton
“What we guard against around here is people saying, ‘Let’s think about it.’ We make a decision. Then we act on it.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
Sam Walton
“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Sam Walton
“Great ideas come from everywhere if you just listen and look for them. You never know who’s going to have a great idea.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“He proved that people can be motivated. The mountain is there, but somebody else has already climbed it.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“I don’t think any other retail company in the world could do what I’m going to propose to you. It’s simple. It won’t cost us anything. And I believe it would just work magic, absolute magic on our customers, and our sales would escalate, and I think we’d just shoot past our Kmart friends in a year or two and probably Sears as well. I want you to take a pledge with me. I want you to promise that whenever you come within ten feet of a customer, you will look him in the eye, greet him, and ask him if you can help him. Now I know some of you are just naturally shy, and maybe don’t want to bother folks. But if you’ll go along with me on this, it would, I’m sure, help you become a leader. It would help your personality develop, you would become more outgoing, and in time you might become manager of that store, you might become a department manager, you might become a district manager, or whatever you choose to be in the company. It will do wonders for you. I guarantee it. Now, I want you to raise your right hand—and remember what we say at Wal-Mart, that a promise we make is a promise we keep—and I want you to repeat after me: From this day forward, I solemnly promise and declare that every time a customer comes within ten feet of me, I will smile, look him in the eye, and greet him. So help me Sam.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“For my whole career in retail, I have stuck by one guiding principle. It’s a simple one, and I have repeated it over and over and over in this book until I’m sure you’re sick to death of it. But I’m going to say it again anyway: the secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want.”
Sam Walton
“Watson, Sr., was running IBM, he decided they would never have more than four layers from the chairman of the board to the lowest level in the company. That may have been one of the greatest single reasons why IBM was successful.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“Every time Wal-Mart spends one dollar foolishly, it comes right out of our customers’ pockets. Every time we save them a dollar, that puts us one more step ahead of the competition—which is where we always plan to be.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“What’s really worried me over the years is not our stock price, but that we might someday fail to take care of our customers, or that our managers might fail to motivate and take care of our associates. I also was worried that we might lose the team concept, or fail to keep the family concept viable and realistic and meaningful to our folks as we grow. Those challenges are more real than somebody’s theory that we’re headed down the wrong path. As”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“As an old-time small-town merchant, I can tell you that nobody has more love for the heyday of the smalltown retailing era than I do. That’s one of the reasons we chose to put our little Wal-Mart museum on the square in Bentonville. It’s in the old Walton’s Five and Dime building, and it tries to capture a little bit of the old dime store feel. But I can also tell you this: if we had gotten smug about our early success, and said, “Well, we’re the best merchant in town,” and just kept doing everything exactly the way we were doing it, somebody else would have come along and given our customers what they wanted, and we would be out of business today.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“Business is a competitive endeavor, and job security lasts only as long as the customer is satisfied. Nobody owes anybody else a living. To”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“We used to get in some terrific fights. You have to be just as tough as they are. You can’t let them get by with anything because they are going to take care of themselves, and your job is to take care of the customer. I’d threaten Procter & Gamble with not carrying their merchandise, and they’d say, ‘Oh, you can’t get by without carrying our merchandise.’ And I’d say, ‘You watch me put it on a side counter, and I’ll put Colgate on the endcap at a penny less, and you just watch me.’ They got offended and went to Sam, and he said, ‘Whatever Claude says, that’s what it’s going to be.’ Well, now we have a real good relationship with Procter & Gamble. It’s a model that everybody talks about. But let me tell you, one reason for that is that they learned to respect us. They learned that they couldn’t bulldoze us like everybody else, and that when we said we were representing the customer, we were dead serious.” In”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“The small stores were just destined to disappear, at least in the numbers they once existed, because the whole thing is driven by the customers, who are free to choose where to shop.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“And like most other overnight successes, it was about twenty years in the making. Of”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“Two things about Sam Walton distinguish him from almost everyone else I know. First, he gets up every day bound and determined to improve something. Second, he is less afraid of being wrong than anyone I’ve ever known. And once he sees he’s wrong, he just shakes it off and heads in another direction.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“What’s really worried me over the years is not our stock price, but that we might someday fail to take care of our customers, or that our managers might fail to motivate and take care of our associates. I also was worried that we might lose the team concept, or fail to keep the family concept viable and realistic and meaningful to our folks as we grow. Those challenges are more real than somebody’s theory that we’re headed down the wrong path. As business leaders, we absolutely cannot afford to get all caught up in trying to meet the goals that some retail analyst or financial institution in New York sets for us on a ten-year plan spit out of a computer that somebody set to compound at such-and-such a rate. If we do that, we take our eye off the ball. But if we demonstrate in our sales and our earnings every day, every week, every quarter, that we’re doing our job in a sound way, we will get the growth we are entitled to, and the market will respect us in a way that we deserve.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“The two most important words I ever wrote were on that first Wal-Mart sign: “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” They’re still up there, and they have made all the difference.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“If American business is going to prevail, and be competitive, we’re going to have to get accustomed to the idea that business conditions change, and that survivors have to adapt to those changing conditions. Business is a competitive endeavor, and job security lasts only as long as the customer is satisfied. Nobody owes anybody else a living.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will.”
Sam Walton
“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? Nowadays,”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“The point I’m trying to make is that we as a family have bent over backward not to take advantage of Wal-Mart, not to press our ownership position unfairly, and everybody in the company knows it. Alice”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“I remember him saying over and over again: go in and check our competition. Check everyone who is our competition. And don’t look for the bad. Look for the good. If you get one good idea, that’s one more than you went into the store with, and we must try to incorporate it into our company. We’re really not concerned with what they’re doing wrong, we’re concerned with what they’re doing right, and everyone is doing something right.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“As we moved along in the seventies, we had very definitely become an effective retail entity, and we had set the stage for the even more phenomenal growth that was going to follow. It’s amazing that our competitors didn’t catch on to us quicker and try harder to stop us. Whenever we put a Wal-Mart store into a town, customers would just flock to us from the variety stores. It didn’t take those stores long to figure out that if they were going to stay in business against this thing Wal-Mart had created, they were going to have to go into it themselves. And most of them did eventually convert to discounting. Kuhn’s Big K became a discount chain. Sterling launched its Magic Mart discount chain. And Duckwall went into discounting. Now, most of these guys already had distribution centers and systems in place, while we had to build one from scratch. So on paper we really didn’t stand a chance. What happened was that they didn’t really commit to discounting. They held on to their old variety store concepts too long. They were so accustomed to getting their 45 percent markup, they never let go. It was hard for them to take a blouse they’d been selling for $8.00, and sell it for $5.00, and only make 30 percent. With our low costs, our low expense structures, and our low prices, we were ending an era in the heartland. We shut the door on variety store thinking.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“A little later on, Phil ran what became one of the most famous item promotions in our history. We sent him down to open store number 52 in Hot Springs, Arkansas—the first store we ever opened in a town that already had a Kmart. Phil got there and decided Kmart had been getting away with some pretty high prices in the absence of any discounting competition. So he worked up a detergent promotion that turned into the world’s largest display ever of Tide, or maybe Cheer—some detergent. He worked out a deal to get about $1.00 off a case if he would buy some absolutely ridiculous amount of detergent, something like 3,500 cases of the giant-sized box. Then he ran it as an ad promotion for, say, $1.99 a box, off from the usual $3.97. Well, when all of us in the Bentonville office saw how much he’d bought, we really thought old Phil had completely gone over the dam. This was an unbelievable amount of soap. It made up a pyramid of detergent boxes that ran twelve to eighteen cases high—all the way to the ceiling, and it was 75 or 100 feet long, which took up the whole aisle across the back of the store, and then it was about 12 feet wide so you could hardly get past it. I think a lot of companies would have fired Phil for that one, but we always felt we had to try some of this crazy stuff. PHIL”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America
“I do admit to worrying sometimes about future generations of the Waltons. I know it’s unrealistic of me to expect them all to get up and throw paper routes, and I know it’s something I can’t control. But I’d hate to see any descendants of mine fall into the category of what I’d call “idle rich”—a group I’ve never had much use for. I really hope that somehow the values both Helen and I, and our kids, have always embraced can be passed on down through the generations. And even if these little future Waltons don’t feel the need to work from dawn on into the night to stay ahead of the bill collector, I hope they’ll feel compelled to do something productive and useful and challenging with their lives. Maybe it’s time for a Walton to start thinking about going into medical research and working on cures for cancer, or figuring out new ways to bring culture and education to the underprivileged, or becoming missionaries for free enterprise in the Third World. Or maybe—and this is strictly my idea—there’s another Walton merchant lurking in the wings somewhere down the line.”
Sam Walton, Sam Walton: Made In America

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