When Wal-Mart started growing, they did not have much of a distribution system, especially when compared to their competitors. Out of necessity, the company made the decision to only add stores within a day’s drive of a distribution center. While the competitors were haphazardly adding stores across the nation, Wal-Mart was growing from a central point, saturating the market as they expanded outward. This strategy had many unexpected benefits, such as lower advertising costs due to market saturation. But the most important thing about how Wal-Mart had to grow was management’s recognition of the advantages.
In The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday wrote, “Great individuals, like great companies, find a way to transform weakness into strength.” For Wal-Mart, their weakness was a poor distribution system. But instead of internally blaming each other for their situation, management found a way to grow and developed their way into a winning strategy.