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In my early career I worked for Asda, the UK supermarket chain, part of the global Wal*Mart group. One of the projects I was involved in meant that I needed to travel over to the Wal*Mart head office in Bentonville, Arkansas.

It was on that trip where I started to learn more about the founder of Wal*Mart, Sam Walton.

Starting in 1950, Sam bought a single store which turned over $105,000 in its first year. Over the next 40 years he grew the business to nearly 2,000 stores with an annual turnover of $50bn.

Whilst all of these achievements are incredibly impressive, I was drawn towards his business rules. In particular, the last rule that implores people to swim upstream.

Sam backed up these rules by swimming upstream. Early Wal*Mart stores were located in smaller towns and not larger cities like their competitors. Equally, they focussed on driving efficiencies through using their own logistics operation rather than a third party.

The easy thing to do would be to go with the flow of the market. But those who achieve great success, like Sam Walton, go against the tide.

If your competitors are all doing things a certain way,  surely the strategy that will deliver the greatest gains is the one that seeks to find a different way to serve your customers.

Lose the chains and move against the tide!

This post is part of my 60 day blog challenge.

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