A New Year Brings New Hope

Thinking about what you want to achieve and then developing the right plan is half of what you need to succeed.

By Jim Callahan

As we start a brand new year, plans for improvements and new successes are being rolled out in many boardrooms across the c-store industry. Of course, every good idea starts with the correct mindset, which usually includes the willingness to hear different suggestions and the conviction to follow a chosen course of action.

First, however, you must have the conviction.

The late “Tug” McGraw, New York Mets relief pitcher extraordinaire, is credited with coining a simple catchphrase that helped the Mets become a better team at the time. The phrase was ‘You Gotta Believe.‘ His teammates bought in and that year—1973—they ended up winning the World Series.

A few years ago, I wrote a couple of articles regarding the benefits of business “mind control” and while this article brushes up against that concept, it is really meant to spur the reader’s thinking about thinking.

I hear the terms ‘not now’ and ‘I’m so tired’ used often. To me, they’re used merely to send a message that you want to be left alone or that you don’t feel like getting out of your chair. But also realize that over time, your mind will begin to believe it and eventually that becomes the answer to everything.

Years ago when I was much younger and in much better shape, I recall coming home from work at the end of the day and literally dragging myself up the stairs wondering whether or not I could even muster enough energy to change into my workout clothes, let alone exercise to remain in shape. However, 15 minutes into the workout, I’d start to feel like a champ and when I finished I had a spring in my step and more energy than when I started.

Now, I know there are endorphins and other body chemicals involved, but I also know that it got so that the harder and longer I worked out the less tired I was, and the better I felt. Soon it became a mindset.

Those very same mind-inducing elements are often at work when we’re engaged in tackling a business report, finding a book-keeping error, appraising an employee, fronting merchandise or ensuring the bathrooms sparkle.

That concept of caring about outcomes must also extend to store employees.

I’ve often said that after food, clothing and shelter, human beings’ next basic need is appreciation. If you agree, then you possess the attitude to building better employee morale, which is indeed a critical key to long-term employee retention.

Also, strengthening your mindset to improve a store’s operation will ultimately provide a destination that your customers will want to come back to. Find ways to let your customers know that the work you do and the products you sell are what they need. Always let them know that you appreciate their business.

Remember, it’s not enough to take care of your existing customers; you also must become adept at attracting new customers—the life blood of any successful business.

This can be done in various ways including a solid loyalty program or upgrading foodservice offerings such as coffee.

Coffee is the hot beverage of choice in convenience stores and the No. 1 subcategory of the hot dispensed beverages category, generating nearly 77% of the category’s sales. Broken down, this segment delivers nearly three-quarters of its sales during morning service hours. Combine that trend with your freshest baked goods and you can deliver a value-added offering to patrons.
It all starts with that first step.

Wishing for something can’t change the outcome, but accepting the results and working to improve can certainly make a difference.

I know a lady that agonized over her looks as age took over. When she had reached the age of 30, she lamented that she looked different from when she was 20. Ten years later, the lady felt equally bad when at age 40, she didn’t look the same as she did at 30. She couldn’t accept what her mind was telling her, but she also couldn’t devise a plan to improve her mindset.

In the end, be careful of what you’re telling your mind. And, don’t ever forget: you gotta believe.
Train your mind and success will undoubtedly follow.

Jim Callahan has more than 40 years of experience as a convenience store and petroleum marketer. His Convenience Store Solutions blog appears regularly on CSDecisions.com. He can be reached by phone or email at (678) 485-4773 or via e-mail at jfcallahan1160@gmail.com.


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