When Warren  Buffet made a bet, agreeing to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp for $34 Billion, he was placing a bet on the future of the economy and the railroads impact on that future. I would have made the same bet, if I had it, but, more certainly would have made even a larger bet that he was concerned about his company’s decision. Given that Buffet made past bets (investments) on railroads, this could be one of great timing. As analysts speculated, Buffet is “planting both feet” in an industry destined to grow with the bounce back of the economy” – if your business was in a position to make a similar “bet”, would you?

Are you looking at your business like Buffet? Analysts are saying he is “looking for investment that will reap rewards for many years into the future and not so worried about immediate gains”? At Impact 21 Group,we believe that both low hanging fruit and long term gains are important in the C-store industry. In an industry where the 2008 Top 100 C-Store companies have fewer than 70 stores, every dollar spent in your business, and our industry, is making the “Billion Dollar Bet”.

So where is this leading you ask? It is leading to a decision that you need to ask yourself every waking day that you choose to invest in your business. This is where a GAP Analysis begins- the painstaking first steps of your business making decisions on automation, marketing, or business solutions that will impact the future of your realization of immediate gains or reaping long term rewards. It is only then, after a Gap Analysis, that you have identified the current state of your business and compared it with where you want to be in the future. Only after the GAP process should you begin to make decisions where your business strategy will lead you. Will it be making thousands of dollars of investments into a solution or process that turns out not “right” for you or will it be an investment that sets up the future direction of your company’s growth. If you get thrilled with Internet searching, try searching “gap analysis”. Find the definition you like. There are hundreds to choose – a simple business one from Wiki to one of many collegiate Ivy League definitions. In short, it comes down to a few simple basic objectives:

• Opportunities
• Options
• Timeline
• Support

Think about how Buffet went about his decision- there is an opportunity, there are options, the timing is right and he has support. If all the conditions were not right, then Buffet may have walked away. Looking back, our industry has gone through some tough times and we believe that we’ll go through some more difficult and trying times- may not be tomorrow after you read this blog, may not be this year (only double nickel days left). My bet is that it’s coming. Whether it is more decisions to be made on PCI compliancy, Point of Sale (POS) or Back Office Systems (BOS), the fact is there will be more decisions.