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Why should practitioners study a company that went from being a small backwater retailer to the United States' largest retailer in a little more than a decade? According to Mike Ballard, principal, Ballard Marketing Group, North Las Vegas, Nevada, and Frederick W. Langrehr, PhD, Paul H. Brandt Professor of Business Administration, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana, the keys to Wal-Mart's success are universal.
CPA firms that follow the retailer Wal-Mart's example should succeed in a competitive environment if they develop a market niche, keep close contact with both customers and employees, define and focus on a unique mission and use technology to exploit new opportunities. These concepts may not make the partners billionaires, but they should help the firm outmaneuver competitors and better serve its customers.
The steps to success are to clearly define the firm's customer, mission and greatest strengths and then to focus the entire firm on implementing this mission consistently and delivering a value to the targeted customer that sets the firm apart from its competitors. Wal-Mart, along with other successful organizations, owes its success not only to its management concepts but also to their implementation.
Some may believe only price-oriented, discounting CPA firms can learn from Wal-Mart's success. We believe, however, all firms can learn valuable lessons. Wal-Mart's core benefit is value retailing, generally defined as offering the lowest price for comparable quality products. …