Gray Cat Presentations

Gray Cat Enterprises has announced several new presentations that are available for future meetings and conventions.  Each presentation is packed with real-life experiences that help attending constitutes not only understand the concept but give them ways to implement these strategies in their respective marketplaces. I am available as a keynote speaker, moderator, or presenter at upcoming corporate or association events. Each presentation is approximately one-hour in length, and I personally deliver each one. The presentations share business insights and strategies that attendees can apply.

Here are quick overviews for each of the presentations:

Strategic Business Planning – One of the most essential documents a business owner should create is their business plan. All too often, business owners fail to reflect on the past as a learning component to where their business is headed. A strategic business plan should represent the guiding path for their enterprise, mixing in a historical perspective and its relationship to its future expectations.

Purnia Embracing the New World – Raise your hand if you had the word “pandemic” in your strategic plan – and like that, the world quickly changed. While convenience stores were spared total closure during the lockdowns and volumes were off – i. e.,fuel – most survived. Now, with a changed landscape, c-stores are in a position to optimize on the marketplace opportunities. John Matthews, President & CEO of Gray Cat Enterprises, explores the new customer playing field and how it will impact store operations, design, management and safety procedures, etc. Your strategic planning will need an overhaul in order to adapt to the ever-changing, new world. Learn about key trends and how to position your stores to capitalize on the opportunities as they unfold.

Takanabe There’s A New Store in Town – Are you Ready for the Disruption? – Over the years, the convenience store industry has continued to evolve. Foodservice has now become a more forward-thinking strategy for the c-store operator largely due to companies like Chipotle and Panera raising the foodservice expectations bar for consumers.  Now, new format platforms combining food and technology enhancements are beginning to pop up.  From kiosk ordering to “just walk out shopping” the systems and procedures bar continues to be raised. But, we can’t just chase the shiny new penny – focus needs to remain on the operational basics in tandem as we address new innovation. This presentation highlights key operational, store design, merchandising and technological advances that are starting to infiltrate this industry and how we can address them.

Zaqatala Are you in the Game? Improved food service offerings are helping c-stores steal business from quick service restaurants. While store design plays a crucial role in drawing customers in the door to purchase food, today’s savvy shopper wants tailored solutions that lead to experiences—not just transactions. Discover four pillars for growing your food service business: Marketing, Merchandising, Operations and Store Design. And, learn how getting back to the basics can help your store keep up with evolving customer demands.

How to Develop a Winning Foodservice Strategy – Revenues from gasoline and tobacco products continue to fall. But, foodservice is increasingly becoming convenience stores’ most profitable category. Recent research projects that c-store foodservice will grow by 2.5% over each of the next two years. Experts agree there’s plenty of room for convenience store operators to generate increased foodservice sales by translating existing traffic into purchases. Learn how to differentiate your stores – both operationally and marketing – from the rest of the crowd and best position them to compete with limited-service restaurants.

Developing a Corporate Communications Strategy – Amazingly, many companies do not think about communications – both internally and externally – until it is a necessity. COVID has made it necessary. A crisis occurs, a reaction follows and in many cases, they do not necessarily put the best foot forward. A strategic communications plan should be a part of your overall business plan and can provide the company clarity that is required in both good times and bad. Developing the process for delivering your communications on an ongoing basis is critical in order to maintain a consistent message as well as a continuous forum from which to communicate.

Local Store Marketing for Retail – Local Store Marketing (LSM) is a must for every retailer large or small who wants to fully capitalize on the sales potential of their all-important 3-mile trade radius. Gray Cat’s Local Store Marketing presentation introduces 22 proven LSM strategies along with the 80-page, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers tells you how to tap into the power of local store marketing to help your store achieve sustained and successful sales growth this year–and beyond.   The easy-to-use manual gives you step-by-step instructions on how to implement proven local store marketing strategies at your store for little or no cost, and includes helpful worksheets, checklists and action plans.  Combined with the manual, this 60-minute Local Store Marketing presentation provides practical and actionable marketing ideas for the single-store operator to the multi-unit chain.

    How to Stage a Killer Grand Opening (or Anniversary)! – Congratulations on the opening of your new retail store!  You have worked hard to make your store a reality –- now it is time to introduce your store to the all-important three-mile trade area surrounding it.  Creating an exciting grand opening requires work upfront, but in the long run will make your store start off on the right foot in your community.  It is critical to make a great first impression to both the community as well as your individual customers — and jump-start sales.  This presentation gives you a step-by-step helping hand to staging a killer grand opening.

    Branded vs. Proprietary FoodserviceThe debate has gone on for many years–should you implement an existing branded foodservice program or are you better off developing your own unique proprietary brand?  This answer is yes to both! There is no right or wrong answer as both have their pros and cons.   The presentation explores the options of both a branded food offering and a proprietary one.  Understanding the nuances of both will save you both time and money.  

    Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are a vital resource to managing your business.  Each selected KPI can be your bellwether indicator for all departments and take the guesswork out of your strategy.  Rather than relying on old adages and “I think” statements, KPI’s help quarantine the operational data of your company and focus your go-forward actions to address specific needs. This presentation explains how a disciplined KPI management process shifts the organization – through an annual, quarterly, rolling forecast model process – to a forward thinking, action organization rather than backward reviewing financial company. KPI’s drill into the core of each controllable area of the business and provide tangible, quantifiable data that become the foundation from which action plans are devised.

    Sales Forecasting – Sales forecasting is not difficult. In fact, what I outline below is very, very basic and yet I am surprised at how often these practices are simply not followed. The goal of sales forecasting to to provide a ratable prediction – by customer and by sales person – of the sales to be delivered in the upcoming forecasting cycle.  While there seems to always be a rush to technology to solve all of our problems, sometimes you just have to have the basics in place first, in order to capture the benefits of such tools. In the end, only the sales person knows when, what and how much each of their clients will buy from them. Your job is to hold them accountable to those forecasts.

    Capital Expenditures Management – When it comes to the long-term success of a business, one of the key drivers is prudent capital re-investment. Unlike operational expenses that are used to run the daily business or working capital to purchase inventory, money invested in the business that yields incremental income is known as capital investment. Generally, these investments are made with a long-term expectation in mind and the return is achieved through added earnings.  Prudent operators identify the best income-generating projects, bring them forward with detail, compare them with other projects and prioritize them to identify the projects with the greatest merit. Detailed projects with solid business plans, would then go to a review committee to determine the best investments and timing. This discipline and forward thinking mindset enables operators to constantly stay ahead of their competition and position their business with the greatest chance to maximize opportunities.

    Diagnostic Store Assessment – Conducting a diagnostic store assessment is an excellent way to gain opportunistic perspectives for your location. Walking through and evaluating your store – from the eyes of the customer – can provide both strategic and tactical ideas for improvement.  Whether it is the exterior appeal of your location to the interior product assortment, layout and merchandising, every aspect of your store should be evaluated. There are many key items to consider in order to help you develop both short-term and long-term plans for your locations.

    Creating a Master Store Database – Getting your arms around your facilities in an organized fashion is critical for the multi-unit operator. Maintaining a central repository of every store allows for key decisions to be made with all components of the store considered. Do they have space? Is there enough electrical? How will this impact the current floor plan? With a centralized store database, each of these questions can be vetted in advance of a rollout.  The challenges arise when the equipment goes to the store, and the manager asks, “where does this go?” and proceeds to find a home for it. Over time with each new product launch, more and more “stuff” gets sent to the store and before you know it, each store is configured vastly different. With every new launch, rollouts become increasingly problematic and a burden for the facility. At this point, the master database becomes invaluable.

    Request for Proposal Management – We select our store locations. We select our staff. We select the merchandise to carry; and along those lines, we select our vendors. Selecting the correct vendors – in addition to managing these vendors during the selection process and beyond – can often be the difference between making your store profitable or simply providing real estate for the vendors to sell their goods. It is time to manage your vendors!  So… raise your hand if you have ever conducted a thorough Request for Proposal (RFP) process for you vendors. Anyone? In truth, not many have to the extent that you evaluate multiple vendors, creating competition for space in your store. How you manage the RFP process can and will set the tone for all your go-forward vendors.

    Developing a Policy & Procedures Handbook – Creating and maintaining a policy and procedure handbook helps both the employer and employee know the “playing field” at the company. Most issues arise since the policies of the organization are vague at best. Taking the time, in advance, to appropriately inform employees of the expectations of them, will prove to be the path to greater prosperity.  The presentation outlines the key elements to include.

    Labor ManagementLabor management is perhaps one of the most fundamental aspects of running a profitable business. Servicing the customer with too few people on staff and sales will be negatively impacted as customers will shop elsewhere. Staff the business with too many people and the profits of the products are quickly lost due to labor expense. The key in managing labor is finding the “sweet spot” where customer service is met with the appropriate amount of labor dollars spent. Building a labor schedule is no easy task and managing it requires constant oversight.

    Conducting a P&L Analysis – Simply put, P&L stands for Profit & Loss. Developing a “Four-Wall P&L Analysis” is a helpful tool to better understanding both revenue projections as well as variable and fixed expenses. Few operators take the time to create a simple Proforma analysis so that they can clearly see what contributes or detracts from store profitability.  A “Four-Wall P&L Analysis” provides a simple, yet effective, way of managing the moving financial parts. Each retail store will have its own set of key revenue and expense line items. Managing to your store P&L will create greater overall profits than simply reading the results at month-end.

    Vendor Partnerships – Imagine a business world where resources were plentiful and industry expertise could be available at every juncture. Where decisions could be made that dovetailed alignment in support of your strategic plan throughout your networks. Imagine a world that anticipates your directives and assists in helping execute your vision flawlessly. This is a business community that embraces its vendors.  Often, vendors are considered as an afterthought, or worse, as an adversary. Establishing an open communication conduit with your vendor partners enables the operator to exponentially impact their business. Vendors, in turn, will benefit from the precision displayed by the operator. Both parties can see their businesses blossom – by working together and in tandem.

    Optimizing LinkedIn With the introduction of social media in the last several years, networking and expanding your relevancy in your community has never been more productive.  Unlike most advertising and media, LinkedIn enables you to create a two-way communication with your network contacts and potential customers. Therefore, the more email connections that you can capture in your database, the easier it will be to communicate within your community.  Proactively embracing LinkedIn is both an efficient and effective way to expand your overall brand awareness in your trade area and communities.  This presentation tells the audience how to go about approaching a LinkedIn strategy as well as tangible ways of implementing the plan.

    For a feel of my presentation style, click here:  Watch YouTube Video LSM Clip:

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