Vendspiration: We can “Ali” through the tough times, again

With the passing of Muhammad Ali on June 3rd, 2016, another great American champion has been lost. All the news features and social media posts covering his life and death make it extremely hard to not know this by now. Besides leaving behind a legacy characterized by undeniable success, undaunted swagger, and an unshakable belief to be oneself, Ali left behind something else: Inspiration. Ali left behind an abundance of inspirational quotes and moments that have been used over and over again to inspire others to be more, to be greater. Of all the different forms of inspiration he left behind, there are two quotes that strongly apply to the vending industry, and can be used by all operators when looking for motivation. One quote illustrates the recent history of the vending industry, while the other highlights a trait necessary for success in life, and especially the vending industry, due to its current state.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”


With its biggest 1 year drop in sales in 2009, the vending industry was just beginning to face hard times. Those hard times would continue for the next two years as industry sales would continue to fall, until they hit a decade low $18.96 billion in sales in 2011. These were decisive years for all in the vending industry. Smaller business owners had to continually ask themselves the question “Do we keep pushing forward or do we call it a day here and cut our losses?”. Large vending companies were trying to figure out the next play to pull ahead of the competition, and industry leaders were trying to figure out the next concept that would refresh the industry.  The answer to everyone’s questions came in 2010, with the emergence of Micro-Markets. With much speculation around it, Micro-Markets were considered risky and were not readily accepted. However, a number of companies including Five Star, saw the great potential in Micro-Markets and decided to take the risk by being early adopters of the concept. What were the results of taking the risk of investing in Micro-Markets? Industry revenue has grown every year since 2011, with many hailing Micro-Markets as the core factor in the turnaround, and many of the companies that took the risk of being on the front lines of the Micro-Market push reaped massive rewards and are now major players in the vending industry. The decision to take risks may be an uncomfortable one, but the path to success has never been comfortable to begin with. Success requires you to step outside of your comfort zone, and do new things, but at the end of the day it’s more than worth it.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”


This may be one of Ali’s more overlooked quotes, however it may be his most powerful one. The message behind it is simple; dedicate yourself to grinding every day, and you will succeed. It’s as simple as that. For those of you who may not know what “grinding” or “the grind” is, it’s term used by the younger generations that refers to the time spent doing a repetitive, seemingly unending and non-beneficial task or set of tasks that provide special benefits and build the experience needed to progress smoothly in the long run. Ali’s quote speaks directly to the importance of the grind, which is especially important in the vending industry right now. With the passing of a number of new government regulations, everyone involved with the industry is going to have to make some changes. Although these new regulations seem to be frustrating obstacles, this is where the grind comes in. Those who can push through these required changes, will benefit in the long run, while those who cannot will face even harder times down the road.

So to every business and individual involved in the vending industry, these words are offered; Keep grinding! If you put in the hard work now, when it comes time to take a risk, you can be sure that you have the proper foundation to be confident in your choice. Those who can successfully push through the grind are the ones who win.