I was recently in New York during the famous NYC Marathon. The city was packed with runners from all over the world. What struck me was that many of them didn't look like they could walk to the end of the block, much less run a marathon! Yet, there they were, ready for a grueling 26 mile race.
In the elevator of my hotel, I overheard two runners talking after the race. There was a sense of relief and euphoria in the lobby of our hotel; so much so that I was energized as a mere casual observer of all of these people. The conversation was about the second place women's finisher, a woman who came in just 40 seconds behind the winner. Consider how tiny a 40 second lead is after a 26 mile race. Wherever they finished personally, these two runners were ecstatic. They were just happy to have finished the race. One runner who was a bit rotund, and didn't look at all like a marathon runner said to the other sleek gentleman, "I kept thinking after the 10 mile mark about my friend who told me 'pain is temporary, losing is forever".
This situation is such a far cry from 30 years ago when Katherine Switzer snuck into the Boston Marathon in 1967 registered as K. Switzer. During the race, an official tried to pull her from the pack as women weren't allowed to run marathons, they were thought too fragile! Whoever made that rule had clearly never met my wife (or my four daughters, two sisters, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton or [fill in the blank yourself]). Times were different then, but what hasn't changed is people - women (and sometimes men) are determined. If someone wants something badly enough they can do it “ they can push through 26 miles, or gain a mere 40 seconds to win a race.
Business today is a lot like running. Entrepreneurs are pushing harder than ever to succeed, and there are more people than ever going it alone. It doesn't take an MBA or a fat bank account to start a business -most are started with nothing but pure determination.
However, unlike running, where the situation is the same for everyone, much of today's technology was designed for existing operating companies, not ones just starting out. I received an email the other day from a friend that said, "well I tried Salesforce CRM, it was disappointing and hard to use, not even as good as Goldmine. I'm going to try Sugar CRM." This friend is just like the thousands of would be runners who never made it to the NYC marathon. They run and run, imagining that they could run a marathon, but never commit fully to the effort it takes to be a real participant. When running a race or a business, choosing a goal and seeing it clearly, finishing something and sticking with it - that is what makes up a real participant, an entrepreneur and a winner.
The one thing about every runner in the NYC Marathon whether they were 40 seconds away from first place, stuck in the middle of the pack, or just happy they finished, is that they all had a gold medal performance that day. Everyone had done their personal best and shown up. Everyone had achieved something that differentiated them from the rest of the world of runners - a dream to run in one of the biggest, toughest competitions in the world.
When I think about entrepreneurs, business owners, small and medium sized businesses and talk to our customers and users, I see the same type of determination those runners have. They don't just run down the same old roads, they connect to a cause that they have chosen - and run toward that with a passion. Every one of the companies in the Connected Market Space is unique and a driving force. They are overcoming the limitations of disconnected ideas and technology, and connecting with their market. Some will be at the front of the pack, some will be the pack, some will be happy to have completed the race. All are unique because they do their personal best and their customers love them and connect to them for that reason. No matter what size their business is - they are connected.
My friend is one of the millions looking for a CRM solution that will never work for his business. He will struggle, not understanding that he doesn't need a sales force - he just needs to get connected to his core business - his core mission and dream. Those two runners made it across the finish line because they understood something that many people never get - it's about the steps, the pace and the commitment to train. Success isn't about the fancy running clothes, watching videos or going to clinics about running technique. Each and every one of those participants did one thing the same: they ran, they put in the endless effort and they had a goal. That makes them different and unique from most of the rest of the world, and runners in the world.
In business, what you do differently and what you're willing to commit to drives your success. It's not about dressing up in new features (like new running garb) as the software firms would have you buy. It's about getting into the market, with social networks, with connections; it's about getting on the road and running.
Think of the Connected Market Space in your home town, your market of customers. It's like the road you run down to train for whatever you goal is, be it just good health or a marathon in the future. We built 1to1Real so you can run down that road with confidence and with us behind you as support. 1to1Real works like your personal trainer; we help you so you can become the best in your Connected Market. If you have a goal in mind, and you're running toward it, on the right path, with the right commitment you will succeed.