Building Relationships at the National Advisory Group

Throughout my 15 years of covering the convenience store industry, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, develop lifelong friendships and watch in awe as otherwise ordinary people learned to work together to produce extraordinary results.

Throughout that time I’ve also seen countless people come and go. For some, the industry was a stepping stone to other positions in retail. Others moved on to lucrative careers in finance, technology, real estate or other endeavors that pushed the limits of their creativity. But one thing has remained constant through the years: the familial nature of the convenience store industry, and the countless relationships that have been formed are the backbone of industry.

After all, once you’ve battled in the trenches against the likes of Wal-Mart and Starbucks, or stood side-by-side with your competitor down the street to campaign against below-cost legislation and tobacco taxes, a bond has been formed that transcends competition. Yes, the goal is to make money, but, as this industry has proved time and again, when you are a great marketer and do right by your customers there is enough money to go around.

It’s these very relationships that Convenience Store Decisions is looking to nurture with the National Advisory Group (NAG).

NAG is an association driven by retailers—for retailers—and is an organization committed to building relationships and profits. NAG is aimed at small-to-mid-sized chains and the executives that run them. The NAG 2010 IDEAS Conference has been specifically designed to foster networking among the top level executives at these. Attendees can expect to hear from industry experts, participate in peer-to-peer “pow-wow” sessions with other executives and leave the conference with a host of executable ideas that work because they have been developed by others in the industry. Attendees can also expect to have an outstanding time. Charleston and Wild Dunes continue to be chosen among the nation’s top-rated resort destinations.

The information exchanges are the heart and soul of what makes NAG so unique. Attendees will be formed into small groups of non-competing retailers to discuss relevant business issues. We all want uninterrupted time with people who “do what we do,” but rarely do our busy lives allow us the luxury of benchmarking what our businesses and management styles with other professionals.

As you listen, learn and share with your small group of retailers, you’ll find that what you are doing right will be validated, what you might be doing wrong will be challenged and solutions for improving your operations will be identified. The relationships formed in this setting will last a lifetime and become an invaluable tool in achieving increased profitability and decreased legal liability.
 
Educating the Industry
The information exchanges will be supported by a host of high-level educational sessions that will go into great detail on topics such as the new healthcare system and what it means for convenience store retailers, the role of social media and brand marketing and training next generation executives to prepare your business for the next decade. Any savvy retailer knows tomorrow’s success begins with today’s planning. The purpose of the National Advisory Group is simply to provide a focused agenda to ensure your success. You won’t find any motivational speakers and you won’t need a taxi to shuttle back and forth to the next session. This conference provides the close, intimate setting conducive to learning and garnering new ideas to grow your profitability.

If you are uncertain about what NAG is, our mission and who we serve, please visit us online at www.nagconvenience.com or email me at jlofstock@csdecisions.com for information on the group and the upcoming meeting. We hope to see you in Charleston in September.

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