Your First “Go-to-Market”​ Strategy is You!

By Susan Varty, Managing Partner

Author’s Note: This is a speech I wrote for a class of first year university students and I thought others would enjoy it. Please share with all of the students you know.

Although it has been many years since I was in your shoes – here are my tips for you in hindsight on how to build long-term relationships. I hope this will help focus your efforts to create your own success in your future career and in life.

1. Be adaptable (a life-long learner).

The skills you are learning now are so critical to instil a joy of learning new things. It is only by learning new things that you can grow and adapt to what the world throws at you. Business books have been my constant companion as a business owner, plus team members, accountants and lawyers. By adapting and learning, I was able to take my ideas to another level entirely.

Also – I had no idea what I wanted to be during my first year of university. I followed a path my parents recommended by default. Don’t do things by default. Do things by design as soon as you know what you want or figure it out. If you are adaptable, you will take challenges in stride while others struggle.

2. Be emotionally aware.

“Emotional Intelligence” is hard to pin down. Are we born with it or not? So think of becoming more emotionally aware instead. Everyone is capable of that. Don’t just listen – remember what people tell you. What is their life experience, their situation, their frustrations? Remembering the little details will take you further when you start to connect with people that can make or break your career.

3. Let go of expectation but ask for what you want.

As in Buddhism and The Beatles, let it be. Letting go of any expectations is hard when you are surrounded by ALL of them right at this moment – your grades, your parents, your friends, your love life, everyone has expectations. Ultimate happiness and confidence comes when you let go of thoughts that can consume your every day life. If you are able to let go of your expectations, you start to get clarity in your own actions and find a place where you “don’t take things so personally”. It is not that you are not caring and loving – quite the opposite – you start to love yourself by removing expectation. This may come with more life experience and may not be so clear right now. But when you finally give yourself permission to let go and ask for what you want, your new found confidence and kindness will give back to you in many unexpected ways.

4. Have a long-term mindset (to build relationships that create career opportunities).

Doors can open at every turn. If you ask for what you want (see number 3) and if you are willing to put in the effort to build long-term relationships, people will see what you need and find solutions for you. This will not happen overnight – it is your reputation, your dedication and hard work – that all have to go into a long-term mindset. Who have you interacted with today that could result in a job opportunity in the future? How do you keep in touch? What social networks and strategies now can help you win the long game that will be central to your career?

5. Be specific in who you need to meet.

All of this work on your own go-to-market strategy will have nothing to show for it if you are not planning on meeting the specific people with the specific skills or experience you want to learn from. Who has built what you want to build? Do you find you have no role models? Ask around. They are hiding in plain sight. Your job is to figure out who you need to meet and work towards getting introductions. It’s not good enough to apply online – by then the job’s already gone. Your job is to meet the person before they post the job description – and have them say to you: “Are you available? This role would be perfect for you.”

Take these 5 things and start planning your own go-to-market strategy. You have started it already by choosing a university or college, now your job is build the relationships you need to make it a success.

photo credit: marcoverch Frisches Obst am Danilovsky Market in Moskau via photopin (license)

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