As our industry becomes leaner, staff wages become higher and Government legislation starts to bite, many of us will take extra hours on the shop floor to balance the books.

Those of us who have a team working for us will look for ways to work better, faster and more efficiently to get the most out of every square foot.

The introduction of the National Living Wage has made us revaluate our business like never before. We listened to industry experts who told us not to sacrifice our unique selling point by cutting back on staff.

We’ve shared stories with other retailers about staff who work harder than others and deserve higher pay than those who just turn up and are rewarded with extra pay just because of their age.

We’ve used our EPoS data to justify our opening hours and staff shifts.

While studying our data we noticed that, although we appeared busy on paper between 8.30pm and 10.30pm, we were actually just breaking even once wages and utilities were calculated.

The sales were mostly tobacco and PayPoint, which meant a very low return of profit. The decision was made to close at 9.30pm and advertise the fact that our new opening hours are 5.30am to 9.30pm seven days a week.

This put a positive spin on the change, which has limited the complaints and helped us build the morning trade even further by being the only convenience store in Hull to offer hot food to go from 5.30am. We supply the caravan industry and dock workers, so a bacon sandwich on the way to work is warmly welcomed.

I am very pleased to report that following the first living wage increase, we are actually performing better than before.

We have achieved this by following the steps above, talking to our team and helping them to understand that we can’t afford bystanders any longer and that everyone is responsible for the success of the business.

That strength and ability to change will carry us forward to meet the next challenges head on.