A convenience store’s easy access can command high product prices and strong customer traffic. This can translate into healthy profits for your small business, provided you're serving the needs of your customers, controlling your costs and pricing your goods appropriately.

Three levels of profit – gross profit, operating profit and net profit - or profit after taxes – can help monitor your convenience store’s performance against the nation's more than 154,000 stores that generate $233 billion a year, according to a National Association of Convenience Stores report.

1. Calculate Gross Sales

Add the sales revenue your convenience store generated from your primary revenue sources for the accounting period in question to calculate your gross sales. For example, assume your convenience store sold $50,000 in food and beverages, $75,000 in gasoline and $5,000 in miscellaneous merchandise during the month. Add these to get $130,000 in gross sales.

2. Calculate Gross Profit

Subtract the amount of any refunds you gave to customers as well as your cost of goods sold from your gross sales to calculate your gross profit. Cost of goods sold represents the amount you paid for the merchandise you sold during the period. In this example, assume you refunded $1,500 to customers and had $90,000 in cost of goods sold. Subtract $91,500 from $130,000 to get $38,500 in gross profit for the month.

3. Calculate Operating Expenses

Total your operating expenses for the period to determine your total operating expenses. These are the expenses necessary to run your core business, such as rent, utilities, wages, repairs, maintenance and insurance. In this example, assume you paid $3,000 in rent, $1,500 in utilities, $20,000 in salaries and wages, $1,500 in maintenance and $500 in insurance during the month. Add these amounts to get $26,500 in total operating expenses.

4. Calculate Operating Profit

Subtract your total operating expenses from your gross profit to figure your operating profit. In this example, subtract $26,500 from $38,500 for $12,000 in operating profit.

5. Calculate Net Profit

Add the income you earned from sources other than from selling your primary merchandise to your operating profit. Subtract the interest paid to creditors, income tax payments and any other non-operating expenses from your result to calculate your net profit after taxes.

A negative number represents a net loss for the period.

Assume you earned $500 in fees from a third-party in-store ATM machine and paid $1,000 in interest and $2,000 in income taxes. Add $500 to your operating profit of $12,000 to get $12,500. Subtract $3,000 from $12,500 for a $9,500 net profit after taxes.

Increasing the Bottom Line

If your convenience store's profits need a pick-me-up, consider these ideas:

Increase your offerings: Food service sales are increasingly becoming convenience stores' most profitable category, accounting for 35 percent of gross profits according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Offer a lottery option or increase your current offerings. Ninety-five percent of lottery customers buy at least one other item while in the store.

Cut Costs: Replace old institutional-style lighting with new energy-saving lighting. This will save on costs and the softer effect will provide a more pleasant ambiance.

Maintain curb appeal: Eighty-four percent of customers who fuel up say cleanliness is a factor when considering whether to go inside to make an additional purchase.

Give a Cash Incentive: If you sell gas, give a several-cent discount on each gallon of gas when customers pay with cash. Not only will you avoid debit/credit card fees but you will also bring customers into the store to possibly make an additional purchase.

Mirror Advertising: Take advantage of big-box marketing. If a restaurant chain is offering a limited-time deal on a sub, consider offering something similar. Your customers may have seen that ad, have it on their minds and may be primed to purchase it from you if it's advertised.