A Quick Look at the Walmart Closings

Quote of the Day

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word -- excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

- Pearl Buck. I also enjoy when I have mastered a skill.

Figure 1: List of Walmart Facilities Being Closed.

Figure 1: List of Walmart Facilities Being Closed.

I live in Minnesota where Target is a major employer. Target recently greatly overexpanded into Canada and had to close its stores there. There were numerous business issues associated with their Canadian operations, such as poor locations and inadequate logistics. Target chose to give up and simply close their Canadian operations.

I saw in the news that Walmart is in the process of closing 269 of its stores, including 154 in the US. I became curious where the US store closures were occurring, so I downloaded the closings file and generated a pivot table of the data (Figure 1). It looks like most of the store closures involve:

  • Walmart Express stores
  • Stores that are geographically close to other Walmart stores.
  • Over half the stores are in six states: TX, NC, AR, CA, AL, KS.

As with Target, it looks like a classic case of overexpansion.

My father-in-law used to work for the Small Business Administration (SBA) and helped start hundreds of small businesses. He told me that the most dangerous time for a small business is its first attempt at expansion. He often discussed how a viable trucking firm with one truck often would fail when it expanded to two trucks. The business owners often underestimated the challenges with:

  • finding the time needed to find work to fully utilize trucks instead of one
  • hiring good staff
  • having to work through other people rather than doing everything yourself

Look, I get it. I understand. Starting your own business can be hard, and it is even harder to keep it afloat for it to be the successful company you know it can be. In today's business climate, one major difficulty faced by budding entrepreneurs is to find people who have the necessary skill sets for the job and also know how to effectively contribute to the company, thus making it very important to safeguard both the company and its valued assets by utilizing options like keyman insurance for top employees; especially in the initial stages of a business, risk management and mitigation should be a priority if the ship must remain steady during stormy waters.

But to be able to succeed, business owners must be able to meet the requirements that are listed above. Time management, teamwork, and more importantly, hiring good staff are all factors that must be considered if you want to be successful. Trust me, I know how hard it can be, especially if you haven't taken the time to enlist the help of somewhere like these Montreal executive search firms to assist you with the hiring process. They are experts at their chosen craft, and if you want to make sure that you can overcome any challenges that your business throws your way, you must have good staff who can lend you a helping hand along the way. Of course, it's not always that easy.

Sometimes you might need to think out of the box to get the desired results. As a small company, you may not have the manpower or the resources to look at every facet of running a business. And despite the availability of ERP software packages and solution providers, business heads tend to want to do things themselves because many feel that they are in the best position to streamline business processes. While that may be true, it can also take a tonne of time; time that could be utilized in areas of core proficiency. ERP consulting isn't about the technology - it's about aligning people and processes. Taking help from the right professionals can get you a solution roadmap for your business, one that has an evolving growth phase, and give a more real-time understanding of business activities.

Having said that, remember that many fail at the first time of trying. Others keep trying until they have tried everything in the book to make sure their business has the potential to go all the way. Sometimes it just depends on the owner. If you have an owner who knows that cheap merchant services aren't always cheap but decides to hire one anyway because they know how much they can positively impact a business, you could be well on your way to success. You need to take these risks sometimes, especially if you are a small business that is trying to find its feet.

Unfortunately for some business owners, and the owners of the truck company, things just don't work out. And it looks to be the case with Target and Walmart too.
It looks like they are showing that expanding a large business can also be a challenge.

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