It’s Time To Diversify

April 22, 2019

If putting together this issue taught me anything, it is the need for a multi-service approach to the convenience services business. Our featured operation, Continental Services, clearly demonstrates the success of being flexible, evolving with your customers and staying relevant by diversifying. The once small vending and office coffee service company is now a $185 million powerhouse with most of its customers using three or more of its services. Read about how reconsidering its coffee services, developing new service angles to meet customer needs and branching out into everything from micro markets to cattle ranching led to much of its growth on page 36.

Important regardless of operation size 

It’s not just medium- and large-size companies that benefit from diversification of services and flexible thinking. Our small operation veteran focused his latest article on challenging the common wisdom of maximizing margins instead of maximizing turns. This is even more important for the up-and-coming operators who are setting up processes and systems that will help them achieve growth. Read about how he tries to illustrate the benefits of a change in thinking on page 34.

A balanced approach 

Diversification is important even when one segment is where the growth opportunities seem to be. In our latest micro market forum, operators talked about the need to still focus on their other segments, whether it be vending, OCS or managing fresh food. Micro markets fill a need and are liked by customers, but few operators are ready to sell all the other business lines they offer. Check out their insights on page 20.

If I have convinced you to expand your current operation, then there is no better month to do that than April. Come to the NAMA Show and use the opportunity to ask questions, talk to non-competing operators and see what’s new. This is the place to find the software solutions, technologies, product lines and service ideas that will add to success in the future. Get Bob Tullio’s tips for making the most of it on page 32 and be sure to read about the 8 essential questions to ask when looking at vending management systems compiled by Mike Ferguson on page 29 before making the investment.

Keep challenging yourself 

There is an old adage, don’t put all your eggs into one basket. This is a great saying to remember in today’s business world. It can remind us to be broad and fluid in business decisions and service additions. The world changes, segments ebb and flow, and if operators aren’t proactively adding offerings to match, they will be out of business. There are numerous examples with some big names in other industries, such as Kodak and Blockbuster. Keep moving forward, educating yourself on what’s new, and look at your business with an eye towards diversifying. The next logical step could be at an exhibitor booth this April or something completely new and different that will spur a new direction for the entire industry (i.e. micro markets). In the end, it’s important to keep growing and pushing the next boundary in order to stay successful.