“Capital isn’t scarce, vision is.” Sam Walton (American Business Magnate)

Best known for founding retailers Walmart (1962) and Sam’s Club (1983), Samuel Moore Walton grew his business to be the world’s largest corporation by revenue.  Stunningly, Walmart also is known for being the world’s biggest private employer, providing a weekly paycheck to over 2.3 million people!  For a long stretch of time, the Walton family had the title of the wealthiest family in the U.S. for several consecutive years.  The Walton family still owns 50% of Walmart shares demonstrating the family’s belief in the company’s long-term success.

After serving in the military in 1945, Walton took over management of his first variety store at the ripe age of 26.  Securing a $20,000 loan from his father-in-law, plus $5,000 he had saved from his time in the Army, he then purchased a Ben Franklin store in a small community in Arkansas and made sure shelves were stocked with a wide range of goods that were priced to perfection as good as, or even cheaper than, goods you could find in big cities.  Soon, he’d purchase a small discount store in Bentonville, Arkansas which he called “Walton’s Five and Dime.”

Along the way, Walton opened up many more Ben Franklin’s across the South, finally opening the first true Walmart on July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas.  His competitive focus was American-made products at low prices.  He opened Walmart chains in smaller towns, not larger cities.  He wanted to be near consumers, keeping them local and not losing them to bigger cities.  In the small community, he made the store large enough to control business in the town discouraging other merchants from entering the market.  Given its scale and economic influence, Walmart is observed to significantly impact any region in which it establishes a store.  These impacts, both positive and negative, have been dubbed the “Walmart Effect.”

Walton passed in 1992 and was reported to still have been reviewing sales numbers on his hospital bed.  At that time, Walmart had 1,960 stores, employed 50,000 people and had annual sales of nearly $50 billion.

At the time of this writing, Walmart is a global company with 10,586 stores and has 2.3 million employees with annual sales of over $611 billion.

It all started with Sam sourcing a small loan (“Capital isn’t scarce”) from his father-in-law, the rest of it was built on vision and execution.  History books are littered with the pros and cons of Walton’s vision.  Some good, some bad.  But in the end, my guess is that you either currently shop, or have shopped at a Walmart Supercenter or Sam’s Club.  And, like it or not, Walmart contributes to this economy’s great success by offering a variety of goods to consumers at lower prices than most competitors.  Too, it offers a fair wage to over 2.3 million people thereby allowing them to cash their paycheck after a hard day’s work so they can provide for their family and save for their retirement.

In the end, Sam wasn’t all that wrong.  Capital isn’t that scarce.  If you need money to start your business, there’s a smattering of economic sources to tap for funding.  Things like your bank, family members, economic incubator programs that are often found in a community, and if you strike it really big, even Shark Tank can be an option.

But what often lacks is vision.  Vision of what could be.  In the end, Sam put his pants on one leg at a time…just like you and me.  He was a human with a brain that dreamt an idea that he executed on over and over until it became the reality it is today.  Visions are like that.  They start as an idea, but quickly either move to execution or the trash heap.  How do you know which is which?  Trust your gut.  You know if the vision you have needs acted upon.  It keeps you awake at night.  It makes your heart beat faster and your smile bigger.  It is the raw material needed to change your life, and the life of others along the way.

Have a vision?  An idea that will alter the course of history…for the better?  Capital isn’t scarce.  Go find the money you need to make your vision a reality.

And live your purpose today.