Bassem Nowyhed has more than a decade of experience in the convenience store management and food & beverage industries. As a master connector and natural networker, he’s brought numerous innovations to his locations as a multi-franchise owner of AMPM stores. Now, as Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Invig Consulting, he and his team have reimagined the way brands, convenience stores, and restaurants connect and do business by taking the hassle out of the distribution game.
Bassem is also a firm believer in giving back to his community and to children, which is why he also co-founded Just Cause, a non-profit organization that recognizes kids for their talents and encourages them to improve by rewarding them for their skills.
He is a graduate from USC Marshall School with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business.
Where did the idea for Invig Consulting come from?
When I was a kid, I worked at my dad’s convenience store stocking shelves, bagging ice, and sweeping floors. As I grew older, I realized I wanted to venture away from the family business. I got my bachelor’s degree from USC and launched my first company, FitUnity, which taught me the ins and outs of starting a business from the ground up. I soon realized I could apply those insights to my family’s businesses, but I wanted to do so in a way that could incorporate more emerging technologies and future-facing guest experience strategies.
Upon re-entering the c-store space, I attended trade shows and industry events that revealed the next phase of growth and innovation for the industry at large: as more young companies began to emerge, those brands needed to get their merchandise onto store shelves and start increasing sales quickly. I already had the embedded network and industry insights necessary to help a snack or beverage brand successfully enter the c-store world, position and promote its product, and establish a sustainable presence in the space. I could also help my clients understand how to leverage data to better serve their customers and create connections that could cross-promote and scale their brands.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Contrary to what one might think, this is actually a very vibrant industry, especially when we consider that it’s a 24-hour business. As a c-store owner, you will absolutely come across various walks of life, from blue-collar workers to corporate executives to high school kids who come in to grab some chips after school. It also touches on so many foundational concepts of business: from staging, to merchandising, to sales and product development. There are endless opportunities to improve a brand’s c-store sales. So, really, there’s no “typical day” given the diversity of clientele that I work with on a daily basis. However, the core concept surrounding what I do remains steady: to help brands utilize modern technologies, tools, and strategies to improve business outcomes.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to go to seminars/retreats and dig deep into personal education and development. To be honest with you, though, the true north star that gets me through my days and has allowed me to find success is silence. Many of my best ideas have come to me during some form of meditation. Inner work and quiet is how I achieve a flow state. Whether I’m playing basketball, taking a walk, or enjoying some time alone at home, my clearest revelations will surface in those moments of reflection, often springing from a higher form of consciousness.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m really curious to see how the omnichannel world will continue to dominate and am very interested in the merging of digital and physical experiences. I also think that virtual brands will become huge in the next decade. Not being bound by the market restriction of a physical location is a huge advantage, and companies can start creating multiple brands under one umbrella much more easily.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am constantly practicing gratitude for everything I’ve been allotted in my life, and for the mere fact that I am alive in this world. A lot of people are too focused on what’s next. Instead, I’d rather focus on what I have right now and on all of the things that are right in front of me. Gratitude is another one of my north stars, and something I really needed to practice as an entrepreneur from day one. I focus on the journey; not so much on the ups and downs, but on the continuous growth that has led me to where I am today.
What advice would you give your younger self?
There are so many things I’d want to say. Mostly, I’d tell my younger self to just trust my gut. To stay patient, to appreciate the process, to keep waking up, and to keep following through. I’d tell him to put his blinders on and to not focus on anyone else’s journey. I’d let him know that it won’t be a straight path, and that some stretches are more difficult to get through than others, but there’s beauty behind every twist and turn. I’d also say that there’s nothing more grounding than truly believing in your own vision. Eventually, through that belief, you’ll make a promise to yourself to reach those goals while adapting to the world around you. It’s not supposed to be an instantaneous reward. The prize is the journey, so keep going.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
This is something I have a hard time explaining to people, but I believe that it’s possible to live forever, and that the kingdom of heaven is here on Earth. It is my core belief that you can manifest the things you truly believe in, and that conviction can give you eternal life on Earth.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be authentic and be genuine. The best strategy is no strategy – just be truly authentic in what you want to accomplish and how you work to do so. Before being a businessperson, it’s important to be a human being first and foremost.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Strategic organization is key, in my opinion. In order to successfully create scalable structures and systems, you first need a blueprint. Without that blueprint, it’d be like buying a 1000-piece puzzle and deciding where each piece belongs without the full picture to work from. Running a successful business requires the same proactive planning, project management and informed execution. It’s also crucial that brands and business owners truly understand (and are committed to) why they’re in the business they’re in and meeting the need they’re meeting, instead of just focusing on the what or how. That commitment and understanding is what will get them through their toughest challenges and help them develop their most innovative solutions.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started my business, I didn’t realize the importance and value of structure. Now, I can’t see how a business can scale without it. Organization, accountability, and structure are the fundamental building blocks necessary to develop a successful brand or business. This really hit home for me after I’d onboarded my first few clients. During the initial stages of Invig Consulting, I had no problem discussing and strategizing game plans with potential clients, but I struggled to actionably blueprint and execute the work I’d promised due to a lack of organization, which was overwhelming. Thankfully, I’ve since hired a team to help me manage my business organization – and now my workflow is better than it ever has been.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have many, but it would be a $1,000/hour consultation.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Any money spent that contributes to the world, is selfless, unconditional and/or does not look for something in return is money well-spent, in my opinion. I recently covered a guy at a donut shop who was short a dollar when checking out at the cash register. He later doubled back to me and expressed appreciation for how I’d made his day. It’s not the amount, it’s the principle of having other people’s backs.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I like Trello. It’s user-friendly and intuitive. As a very visual person, it allows me to externalize my boards and see everything laid out in front of me. It’s like an idea tank. From there, it allows you to start funneling and channeling tasks to other colleagues, departments, or partners. You start to see the structural aspects of your projects, how they will be organized, and how they came to be in the first place. It’s a great workflow tool that I highly recommend.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A book called Actionable Gamification had a big impact on me. It explains how, if you want to create a truly sustainable presence in the modern market, you need to gamify the user/customer experience. It reveals how you can gamify the entire shopping experience from start to finish. For example, within the c-store context, a customer can rack up points or reward incentives every time he or she makes a purchase. This gave me the perspective to recognize and initiate the right conversation with customers so they can feel like they’re part of something bigger and beyond just the purchased product itself.
What is your favorite quote?
“Don’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree.” – Albert Einstein
- Even in industries where you don’t think tech matters, it does! Always make sure you are in-step with the latest consumer trends and experiences.
- Trust your entrepreneurial process and know that every hump is a learning experience.
- Choose an industry that drives your passion – that makes you want to wake up every morning and get better at your job.
- Do business for the good of others, and the money will follow.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.