Working with your symbol group in the current climate of the multiples wanting to rule the roost in the convenience store arena will certainly help us compete.

Long gone are the days of laidback retailing. We as c-store owners need to look at the multiples to achieve a sound business model that can be complemented by an independent.

Working with your symbol group is key. If you are not currently trading or partnered with a symbol group now is the time to liaise with symbol suppliers and weigh up which model suits your style of operation.

If you are aligned to a symbol group it is key you work with them to see what help and support they can offer you. We work closely with Londis and are proud to say that we are brand advocates. Support your symbol groups initiatives.

1) Utilise the experience of your RSM: Remember they may talk to a lot of retailers and perhaps can see your business with a fresh pair of eyes.

2) Review your range: Drill down what your customers are looking for and ask your symbol group to assist you in range reviews. Look at bestsellers in each category and ask your symbol group for data on bestsellers.

3) Networking is key: Make an effort to attend cluster/regional meetings. Sharing best practice goes a long way!

If you are looking to invest in your business either by expanding or purchasing another premises I would strongly advise to speak to your symbol group to see what help and support they can offer you. Get your RSM or store development team involved from the start. We have recently seen the benefits of this. Remember the support from your symbol group does not always have to be a direct financial investment. Ask your key suppliers to contribute equipment or stock.

Finally, get behind as many initiatives as possible. You may not always agree with everything that your symbol group launches. However it is our duty that we support them with their brand objectives and aspirations. Working collectively we can push the boundaries and really go above and beyond conventional retailing.