Sunday, November 7, 2010

"I Hate Wal-Mart! But Why Is Judy Here? And Joan? And Martha?"

"If you think you are too small to be effective,
you have never been in bed with a mosquito."

-- Betty Reese

Wal-Mart just opened a brand new Super Store about 2 miles from my house after several years of jumping through every hoop the naysayers could possible throw up. Wal-Mart bashing has become a popular discussion in communities all over the country. They state that Wal-Mart is coming in and killing all the little businesses, strategically targeting them for destruction. They are made to sound like the Death Star in Star Wars and the Evil Empire coming in and destroying helpless planets just for the fun of it and because they are so big and smart and powerful--and evil . . .

I laugh when I hear this dribble because that's exactly what it is. I say, if you want to kill Wal-Mart it is incredibly simple and easy to do and there is only one way to do it and it doesn't require a Jedi and the Force to get the job done. Here it is: SST. Stop Shopping There. Or, how about, DWITFD. Don't walk in the front door. Wal-Mart is so easy to kill. Just don't buy from them. They'll be dead in just a few months when their cash runs dry. But, that's not what happens, is it? No, people bash Wal-Mart with their mouth, and then show up and spend money in their store complaining all the way. That's what I said, it's dribble.

So what about the small, little, poor thing, old downtown style kind of business that is being shut down by this monster? Be a mosquito, is one way. Better yet, the best answer is to change with the times and be relevant to what consumers want. That's what Wal-Mart is doing and they do it so well. Grow your business with your unique niche and make it special. That's the best answer. Have a great reason, product, service and whatever that people want and will help spread the word about.

Now, this Wal-Mart Super Store that just opened carries food and not even a quarter of a mile down the street is a regional chain supermarket that has been there for many, many years. Will they survive the onslaught of the big, bad Wal-Mart? Not if they stay the way they are I predict. Therein lies the biggest lesson I've learned from watching Wal-Mart: they are constantly changing and improving. So, why not just copy that strategy. Sure, their prices are falling every day. They work with their vendors to achieve great buys and then they buy in great quantities. You can too. Just focus on your niche and don't try to be Wal-Mart's current size, but take their strategy to heart. They weren't always big and they had that same philosophy when they were a dinky little one store operation. So learn from them.

Learn from them. Read Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. You want to know their strategy? It's in there. They have some pretty awesome business ideas and they are easy to copy, so pick some and copy them.

K-Mart is dead, but Wal-Mart didn't kill them. They committed suicide. So it is with all these little businesses that are supposed to be driven out by the giant Wal-Mart. I'm sure they were barely holding on as it was. Most were already dead and Wal-Mart just blew and they fell over. There's no need to go that route. Learn from them and soar! Learn their strategies and apply them to your business and dial your business up. Change. Be relevant to the times and to what consumers want and need. You cannot do the same things and expect a different result.

I love Wal-Mart and the whole idea of what they do. Sure, they are trying to be the biggest and best they can be and they are expanding all over the world. Their strategies work well. That's the best reason to get excited about them and learn from them rather than bash them. Besides, while you're in Wal-Mart shopping to save some money, say hi to Judy, Joan and Martha. They might look a little guilty when they see you, but deep down they love Wal-Mart too.

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