In his first column, Sohail Saleem tells us his dreams for his business in the future and what he’s focusing on right now

I’m really proud to be the young retailer voice for Retail Express and It’s an incredible sense of achievement. I’m hoping to share the realities of starting in convenience; that it’s not all glamorous, but it is a forward-thinking industry and one that is incredibly successful.

My sisters think I’m crazy for following my parents’ footsteps because of the long days our mum and dad went through. But I want to show them that we should embrace the store and think of it in a modern business perspective – it’s not the same as when we used to watch our parents behind the till.

I’m still studying towards my business degree, however, I can already see where I want to be in five-to-six years. I want to build up as much experience as possible and I want to open five shops – all at least 1,500sq ft, so I can offer a good-sized range and each will cater for the local community. At the moment though I’m focusing on the basics.

In the past couple of weeks we’ve installed two LCD screens to showcase our promotions and our kitchen menu. We’re focusing on promotions to entice more customers.

I’m inspired by a lot of stores, whether multiple or independent, because they all have something to offer. Multiples have more man power but shouldn’t we get inspiration from all sectors of the industry?

Learn more about Sohail’s store in the Retail Express retailer profile.