I'm falling back in love with running.
I've done some marathons and half-marathons in the past. Lately, I'm sticking to the 5k routes and races, but improving my time at those events. It's fun. Running 3+ miles is now part of my weekly fitness routine.
Last week in Chicago, I ran along the waterfront on a balmy fall afternoon and loved every second. Except it was too flat.
That's right. I hate flat running.
Give me hills. Ups and downs. Or all ups. I don't care. I need something to make me push myself. To breathe hard, to pant, to sweat, to ache, and to yearn. I don't need your easy routes.
Yesterday, I was charting a new course from my new neighborhood and there before me was a nice whale of a hill. I was ready for it, the cool air in my lungs and a steady breeze trying to send me back. As I made my way up the left sidewalk, I glanced and saw a woman on the other side of the street, presumably out for her morning routine walk around these parts. I didn't think anything of her until about 200 yards later when I saw her rush by me, sprinting uphill, getting ahead.
"Good on her," I thought. This added no urgency to my stride. I was not in a race with her. I kept up my pace and plodded uphill.
Another 100 yards later or so, she'd slowed to a walk again. I easily caught up to her as I kept climbing.
She soon ran again. I assumed this was her interval training day - some uphill sprints mixed with some easy recovery. She soon stopped, and again I caught up. We were soon to the top of the hill, her chase abated, and I was on the way toward the rest of my route.
Whether we were racing or not, I knew this: the race is long. You need to train for such.
At Batch, we're facing a new crop of competition. Given the popularity of Nashville and the high quality of local products our proud makers crank out, lots of people want to get in on the gifting game.
"Go ahead," I tell them and my team. "Let them start up. I welcome all comers."
I am not afraid of the competition. They are not fit to run our race. We will out-everything them.
If they want to go hot out of the gate with a flashy brand and name, I welcome it. Before we launched our company, we spent 60 straight days dedicated to forming our brand. We are not worried about your logo or color scheme. We will out-brand you.
Let them get some initial notoriety as they embark. We love it when new businesses get ink. We, too, were once a brand new business and loved the press. Of course, the longer we've stayed around, the stouter the media coverage has become, so we'll keep making national waves (including a new one I'll be sharing very soon). We will out-pitch you.
I hope these new competitors of ours get the chance to bid on high volume orders. Or at least see the daunting task sourcing, packing, and shipping a 1,500 count order is. That's no problem for us, by the way, with our warehouse and team and bevy of suppliers at the ready. We will out-scale you.
And, in the quest for margin (that's what business is, right?), these new folks may either price themselves too high or too low. They'll figure it out. We already have, so we know what we need to charge, where our concessions can be made, and where our longterm profit centers are. We will out-price you.
I also hope these new folks can find as talented and happy and kind a team as I have. We take pride in keeping our clients and customers happy. We will out-service you.
And maybe they can build an award-winning store in their spare time. We will out-retail you.
We're excited now that we can focus marketing copy on not merely being a great gift company for those wanting to send a taste of Nashville. Now my team can flex its creative muscles by talking about how we're the best one out there. We will out-market you.
No business race is ever a sprint. And neither is it ever just one hill. I'm so proud of our people, our products, and our purveyors and all we've built in just over two years (and all we've yet to break ground on). The race is long.
We're built for it.