I received an email this morning that spoke about the industry gearing up for Super Bowl parties.  I recall the several years I built up my inventory as well for the Super Bowl purchasing spree.

But, did I really profit from getting ready for this annual event?  Yes, of course, I did to some extent as I sold more products that day than on a typical late January-early February Sunday.  My real question is – did the profits I made on Super Bowl Sunday change my life – or the lives of my employers?

I would say NO – over and over again.

It’s easy to make more sales one time.  It’s fairly easy to increase my sales on an annual basis (especially the last 6 weeks of the year, if you are in retail).  But most business owners don’t leverage that increase in sales to improve their business for the long term.

Let me state my point in another way:

Keep in mind this is an analogy and a completely theoretical situation.

The Super Bowl for 2013 is slated for February 3, 2013.  In mid-December, 2012, the state liquor board’s representative visits my C-Store.  He has a gift from the governor for me (not too hard from possibility as my parents have supported the current governor of Ohio since his first run for Congress in the 1970s). 

But his gift is different.  He’s given a unique feature for MY C-stores, and only my C-Stores.  He’s allowing me to sell alcohol in my C-Stores at 75% of state minimum for Super Bowl weekend.

Obviously, I take advantage of this luck and advertise this not only locally, but throughout the region (anyplace it makes economic sense for people to drive the extra distance to save 25% on their alcohol for Super Bowl weekend).

And, boy, do I clean up.  I have the best weekend my store has ever had – in fact, it is so great a weekend that I pay down my credit, pay off bills and have money left over to upgrade the store and take the family on vacation for a couple of weeks.

Did I profit?  Yes, that weekend. 

But long term, unless the governor’s willing to give me such advantages in the future, I did not increase the value of my C-Store.  In fact, I may have hurt it as potential buyers see the sales I made during Super Bowl weekend 2013 as a one time event – not to be repeated after they take ownership of the business.

What went wrong? 

I failed to leverage the advantage I had for more than that weekend.  I failed to build a relationship with these customers so they continue to visit my store.  I failed to leverage ways I could use to enhance and continue any relationship long term – to the customer’s benefit – and should I provide enough value to these customers, to my benefit.

I treated these customers during Super Bowl weekend 2013 like a one-night stand.

There are many ways to overcome this.  But it starts with realizing the value your C-Store provides your customer base - and that SHOULD be different from the value other C-Stores provide (unless you really want to be a commodity and make commodity type earnings).


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