When you’re involved with purchasing a gas station or a convenience store, you’re craving information, and you’ve got lots of questions to ask. When you take over ownership, you want to be confident that the business will be making a good profit from the very first day. Keep in mind though, it’s never a good idea to settle for that scenario – here are six proven strategies to turn your new place of business into a spinning money machine, fast.
Tip one: be aggressive out of the gate and apply pressure point marketing. When a business is under new management it is a great time to snag new customers and to make sure that your station and store become the chosen location for a host of new people. Think of some new ideas – for example, some large signs announcing a price reduction for a limited time, or a free cup of coffee served at the pumps during the first week. Establish your brand with uniformed and energetic employees giving out coupons or other incentives by every pump. Put the previous owner to shame after just one week of aggressive selling.
Tip two: go out and look for new clients by co-promoting with other merchants in your area. Tour the locality and see where people are shopping. For example, make a deal with the supermarket manager to distribute their coupons if they will reciprocate. Car washers or tire vendors are great places to co-promote. Be creative!
Tip three: start talking with your vendors. Now is the time as a new owner to negotiate aggressively as you have the advantage. Everything in your store should be renegotiated, from coffee to snacks to magazines. Open the playing field by inviting other vendors to tender. This will focus the attention of the previous vendors and price breaks will follow. Make sure that you establish return privileges. In that way you can sell additional products in your store, safe in the knowledge that if they do not sell you simply return them and don’t lose a cent.
Tip four: get your family involved. If they’ll help out during the first few crucial months of operation, you might be able to get a better handle on upcoming payroll expenses. Furthermore, trained family members would be available to step in during times of vacation or sickness, etc.
Tip five: review the records and highlight any under-performing products. You might discover that some items outsell others by 2 to 1, or more. Swap out slow selling items with new products and displays during your first few months to test the market. Whilst some items may be slow sellers, remember that you should not gamble too much with your products and displays as you are trying to promote a “convenience” store and people do look for all kinds of odds and ends. Whilst some items simply do not sell enough they need to be there from an overall perspective. Always test to see what sells well.
Tip six: implement proven strategies to help boost sales. For instance, place a coupon display right next to the pumps or position hot selling products in readily accessible locations, such as right next to the front doors. Think of what is popular on a seasonal basis – like cooling drinks, which should be placed right inside the front door. Create strategies for some of your top selling products and reap dividends in your balance sheet.