The Importance of Having a Go-To-Market Strategy Prior to Launch!

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Podcast: The Key Elements of Go-To-Market Strategy for Startups, New Businesses and Professionals

It was my great honor this weekend to be the invited guest of Dr. Jason Carthen on his radio series, Discover the Leader in You.  Dr. Carthen is a former linebacker in the NFL and now works as a writer, speaker, and motivational consultant. He asked me to speak on “The Importance of Having a Go-To Market Strategy Before Launch.”

I found the experience to be inspiring and educational — even though I was the expert on the topic! Dr. Carthen is a truly gifted interviewer.  Over the course of our talk, we were able to explore the links between one’s personal journey and the process of launching a business or product.  Along with an intimate examination of my path toward a career in business consulting, over the course of the interview I provide insight into my philosophy for launching and growing businesses.  Finally, and probably most importantly, the interview is chock-full of “nuggets,” as Dr. Carthen calls them — specific insights and recommendations on how to launch, grow, and sustain a thriving business.  I know that you will find this interview informative, motivating, and inspirational.  I wish you all happy and fruitful listening!

In the link below, you can hear the entire 50-minute interview:

Season 3, Episode 11: The Importance of Having a Go-To-Market Strategy Prior to Launch! [Podcast]

Importance of Having a Go-to-Market Strategy Prior to Launch with Dragana Mendel
Importance of Having a Go-to-Market Strategy Prior to Launch with Dragana Mendel

Transcribed Interview

Interviewer, Jason Carthen (JC): Discover the leader in you, with the leadership linebacker Dr. Jason Carthen former New England Patriot, turned PhD. I bring a new brand of inspiration and passion to audiences worldwide, having served and consulted with Fortune 500 companies, the National Football League Players Association and the White House. Each week I will prescribe empowering, motivational and life-changing medicine for your soul.  Now it’s time to discover the leader in you, well hello everybody is Dr. Jason Carthen the leadership linebacker,  I’m excited to be with you today, we’re going to have a very exciting show, a show that’s going to add a tremendous amount of value to you and just want to let you know, we’re excited this is season 3 episode 11, of discover the leader in you and just want to let you know that there are different phases to anything that we encounter in life. Whether is our relationships and personal growth and maturity or even the evolution of our business or work life, but the key is whether or not we’re prepared for those stages and phases, in fact whether we are successful or experience challenges, our moments of failure will be based upon our preparation and willingness to adapt to what we encounter as we seek to evolve and grow.

You know, one of the things I often share with my coaching clients is to always do their due diligence before starting anything or just to maintain a very high level of performance. One area of business where this is crucial as a launch, some of you may be asking what is a launcher? How can something like that help me? Well on today’s show boy do we have a treat for you, because we are going to be talking about the importance of having a go-to-market strategy or GTM, prior to launch, with your Dragana Mendel president and principal consultant of Anna guard LLC, who will give us insights into the inner workings of a launch and its importance, but before we do that just a couple of housekeeping items are always going to let you know that we would love to interact with you, if you want to give us a call this is a live show you cause it’s right here in the studio at +1-888-281-1110 or tweet your questions to me at Jason Carthen, we’d love to engage you, there a thousands of followers with me on Twitter and we just love to interact with you a little bit and just kind of expand this even more, now just for something that all of you have been waiting on, is something I’ve been working on diligently, my book is complete everybody and it’s time for some pre orders and get ready for some of the bonuses that I have bundled into the book release, you know, we’re talking about 52 ways to tackle leadership for your success and this is something that is going to be amazing, a lot of the pre comments have just been powerful and how it’s going to be helpful to others people, whether you are a mom, or you are a dad or someone in business as c-suite, executive, this book has value for you, so make sure you navigate over to Jason, you can click right on the blog area and you’ll see the pre-order information right there on the right side, sign up for updates so we can get you all squared away and you have access to some of these bonuses, I’m bundling quite a few things with it, now,.

About Dragana Mendel

Without further do, let me read you a little bit about Dragana and you know I’m excited, she’s done so much in a very short period of  time, she is a Management Consultant and the founder of ANAGARD, LLC which works with startups to develop their technology commercialization pathway and with small business owners to develop their growth strategy. She has over 18 years of experience in launching new high-tech products to the market, with a specialization in software it cleantech and Telecom sectors, she works with executive management to identify the best market segments for start-up to end of the market grow or pivot and then she develops a comprehensive business plan and strategy. And we know how important our strategy is, prior to funding Dragana LLC, Dragana has been in charge of corporate and business development for a number of emerging growth high-tech startups, renewable fuels, renewable killing chemicals, LED lighting, Digital Signal, processing small wind turbines. This lady is something else, she’s been doing a lot over a period of time over 15 years, as a product manager and software engineer for IBM and she also hold a new product development skills with multi-national corporations where she was instrumental and successfully launching dozens of new software it and Telecom solutions to the market, Dragana how are you today?

Dragana Mendel (DM): Hi Jason, I’m doing wonderful, thank you so much for inviting me to the show. it’s pleasure to be here, I’m really honored to be invited to your radio show today.

JC:  Absolutely! I’ve been excited to have you on, when I looked at a little bit of your background and just,  you’ve done so much in a very short period of time, but you still seem very down-to-earth and just in our email communications, you seemed like a really a professional but very diligent individuals

DM: Well thank you.

JC: Absolutely. We are excited to have you on today and we’re going to pull back the covers a little bit here, with this whole idea of a go-to-market strategy, but before we do that am I pronouncing your first name properly? is it Dragana?

DM: I think most of the people will say Dragana, so i’m kind of used to it by now, but back home in Serbia where I am from, people would pronounce my name as Dragana.

JC: Oh like that. That’s even more unique, Dragana. Ok, very good. So Dragana, with some of the things that are related to a launch, sometimes this can be a little mysterious to people, because when you think about launching most people say hey I have this product, this service, this book, or whatever it may be and I just want to put it in front of people, but it sounds like from some of the things that we’ve been able to talk about, prior even to the show and seeing some of the information that you have been able to put forth, it’s a little bit more complicated than that wouldn’t  you say?

DM: Is definitely more complicated than that, first of all let me congratulate you on getting your new book out

JC: Oh thank you.

DM: As you know and as you will know, in a few days, so it’s hard to actually launch the product in the marketing, including a book.

JC: Yes.

Cloud services have decreased cost of product development, but increased the cost of sales and marketing

DM: And things have changed over the last 10 years. I think in terms of how businesses are being run and how your product to be developed. I have spent most of my career, in the research and development in the software industry, so back then when actually I was writing the code, and the last time I wrote the single line of code, was six years ago, it was more expensive to have a team of software engineers developing a product and then it was, do you have sales and marketing? Today that has actually changed. I think we are all using the cloud services, so that makes all of us more productive, we can do more things with paying less money using different software platform. So that means that a lot of people all over the world can make your product or services much quicker.

JC: Yes.

DM: So that means that you can build it, but that does not mean it (customers) will come!

JC: [Laughs] I like that.

DM: Back then when I was a software engineer, member of the research and development team, all those engineers we just loved, loved, loved to build new things together and that’s why we went to school, that’s why we chose that career path.

JC: Right.

DM: But that doesn’t mean the customers will come, that philosophy, that if you want to see a house built and they will come, it really doesn’t work.

JC: Right, yeah.

DM: Now, because there’s so much competition and so much noise, in a world of social media everywhere, everybody can find a little soapbox and say hey I have a new gadget, come and buy it,! iFrom that perspective it’s really important to start the gauging for your potential customers, the people do you think they’ll buy your product or service, really early on before you actually spend any time and money and effort into building new products.

JC: Now Dragana is that,  and I love that thank you for sharing those nuggets because many people, like I said they don’t understand the inner workings of the whole launch piece but, that last component that you shared there, the whole idea of start engaging with people prior to, now it is that something that anybody can do? I mean can you kind of let people sort of gauge their interest or maybe give away some free things so they kind of know whether or not…?

DM: Absolutely.

JC: Okay, okay so unpack that a little bit for us I mean…

DM: Absolutely, yeah. That is the beauty of the world that we have today, we are living in a globalized world, and is pretty easy to connect with pretty much anyone around the world, and in fact that’s how you and I connected, we connected over to the Twitter and talked a little bit and decided to, to have this show together.

JC: Yes.

How to do Customer Discovery

DM: So from that perspective, let’s use your book as example, is a good example that everybody can relate to. So instead of spending months, and months, and months of writing the book and spending all this month in editing the book and making it just perfect, you can do all the social media, and start talking on social media. Twitter is a great place to engage with people you don’t know.

JC: It sure is.

DM: and say, hey I have this idea, about this topic to write a book, what do you think, is there something that is interesting to you, it’s really easy today to put a website with just a few pages and give the outline of the whole book, or the service that you have in mind and just engage people, say hey this is what I think I have, what do you think? How do you? How do you get to the knowledge of today that you need to do your job? or go about your daily life, what is the most frustrating things to do in your job? or your daily life? what do you wish you can have? the going to start asking those open-ended questions to prove people about, so you can discover what is their pain point

JC: Yes.!

DM: and then you can figure out if you can fix the problem for your potential customers.

JC: Dragana that is so awesome because that’s what I did, I mean really my book cover, my book title, I asked people well in advance and I have an inner circle that actually receives a lot of information from me every week if they sign up on the website and I went to them first and then I put it on Twitter, and then I put it on my Facebook page Jason Carthen Enterprises and I and I asked them, I said hey what do you think about this color? what do you think about this title? and you would be surprised, I mean people started flooding it with comments, you know, well I like this, I don’t like that, or that sounds too technical or whatever it may be, and it was it was great, so your point, I mean like I said you’re adding tremendous value because this makes a lot of sense, and also like, the idea of what you said about open ended questions, many people from a quality standpoint, they don’t really understand until they start asking open ended questions that people will give you so much creativity with their responses.

Customer Discovery & Market Research
Customer Discovery & Market Research

DM: Right. And actually, I would like to tag along about it, with the open ended questions, to use more specific terms, that’s part of the customer discovery and what the customer needs are as part of the market research, so I know it sounds very technical, but you can do that into two ways, just like you said. It can be quantitative, sending out a survey and marketers they like to send a so long survey

JC: They do. [Laughs]

DM: and what happens, people see how long it is and if they say oh forget about this

JC: Yeah, very quickly. Yes. I remember it, is so funny. I love that you share some of this nuggets because I remember when I was…

DM: And you had finished the survey and that was like 5 pages long but 10 pages…

JC: Is not going to happen [Laughs] So Dragana, we’re going to take a break here in a couple of minutes, but I think one of the things that people need to understand, and maybe we can pick it up a little bit more after the break, but I think one of the things that the people need to understand is that it doesn’t matter what your product or service is, but if you get out in front of it, whether it’s maybe a fitness business or supplement business or consulting like what you and I do, I mean it it’s one of those things as long as you get out in front of it and you really figure out exactly how you want to position it, you can cut through a lot of the noise wouldn’t you agree?

DM: Absolutely, and that is the beautiful thing about the other part of the marketing the quality research, which is going in, talking to the people, so when you have your ideal fictional customer in mind, you don’t really need to talk to hundreds of people, you only need to reach anywhere between 5 or 7 people, and talk to them for half an hour and an hour about what is the problem they’re facing in it, for the product they think is going to buy, and if it does you can get a lot of information, you’re going to get out to 80% of your questions answered, so you can really design a product or service that you know those people will actually buy.

JC: Wow.

DM: So it’s talking to people face-to-face, or over the phone, it is so much more powerful than sending out thousands of surveys that people actually don’t want to click.

JC: And that’s the thing Dragana, because I think many people get tripped up with the very first thing that you should not, I want to pick that back up when we come back from break, because the reality is that many people don’t know how to segment who their actual perfect customer is, so we are going to talk about that when we come back from break. Hey everybody you are on with the leadership linebacker Dr. Jason Carthen and we are talking to Dragana Mendel of ANAGARD, LLC and she is really giving up some nuggets to start off the show will be right, back stay tuned everybody.

How to Define your Target Customer

JC: Well welcome back everybody, we are having an amazing show, I mean I know we’re always adding value and today speaking with Dragana Mendel and the whole idea of ANAGARD, LLC, just being out in the forefront of helping people develop a go-to-market strategy or GTM, and specifically before we went to break, we sort of transitioned with the whole idea of making sure you know who your target audience is. I don’t care what type of launch strategies you have in place, or how much money you’re ready to spend through marketing whatever it may be, if you’re targeting the wrong people or you’re targeting in someone that is not your ideal client, then we’re going to have an issue, right out the gate, so you know, so Dragana what can we do to figure out exactly who we should be targeting in the first place isn’t that important?

DM: Right. That is absolutely important, especially if your product is with business consumers, because we are all different, we all have different backgrounds and age groups, and the preferences, and gender and the family structure, we have different purchasing patterns, so it’s really important to reach your customer where your customer shops.

JC: Yes.

DM: And for somebody, even talking about the social media platform, is like everybody’s on Facebook today, but we all use Facebook in a different way.

JC: Yes.

DM: And actually one of the customers I was working with last time, they had a product, they had a vision, to disrupt the way we are sharing family information, personal information, to be more specific about the things that we want to share with a small circle of people, so in the course of the market research, talking to the costumer and trying to understand how people are communicating today, on a very personal intimate level, not just talking to the whole world, it was surprising to me to find out that there is a difference between the young men and young women.

JC: Oh ok.

DM: Young men, they preferred to, to socialize on YouTube, they like to watch videos and comment in videos, while also surprisingly they like to talk to their friends over the phone.

JC: Yes, yeah that’s strange. [Laughs]

DM: Yes, but not the young women, they don’t use phone; they prefer to be on social media to talk to their girlfriends.

JC: Why do you think that is?

DM: I don’t know.

JC: [Laughs] Ok so we need to do some data research.

DM: That was just what data told me. So it’s really important to kind of go through that research on surveys, yes I know it’s a lot of surveys but that’s filtered out my biases, because I’m middle-aged, I’m a mom, I’m an immigrant, and I always have to learn, because I’m so different from everybody else, I always have to observe and watch at the different groups, that everybody’s different from me, so that’s something that I see as my strengths, observing other people and learning because I cannot apply my own culture or applying  assumptions because it’s not relevant here in the United States.

JC: But you know what, and I think Dragana, we have to remember, sometimes we can become so insulated, I mean your example it is perfect because you know what, even though you are from Serbia and you consider yourself an immigrant, you are here and you have value to add and we are better informed because of what you have to ad, so by adding your contacts to our situation, it helps us all grow and develop.

DM: Well thank you.

Interviewer: Absolutely, absolutely I and I think at the end of the day, for some of the things that we are trying to do, for those, yourself and then myself as well, in business, we need as many varying viewpoints as possible, especially if we’re talking about this whole idea of launching anything, or market research, and just the depth that you have to go to figure out who your ideal customer is so.

DM: Right, absolutely. And like you said, kind of going back to the book development, people are working in small teams are, we are, we work closely with a couple of people and they all have their own preferences you know, I like purple or some other people may like the orange stuff, so they want to stick with orange and purple as the theme, but without testing it, and the customers really think that maybe a really bad color combinations.

JC: That’s right. And it’s so funny because, I mean you are, you sound like a scientist.

DM: I am a scientist.

JC: There we go. [Laughs]

DM: You know, that master in computer science doesn’t go away. Actually the science of the marketing has changed, because everything has become a digital, and we have a lot of data to analyze.

Interviewer: Yes.

DM: That still needs to be moved in, with want to be, the feedback you’re getting from people actually talking to us.

JC: Yeah, but you know Dragana, here’s the thing that throws me off, and some of the people, some of my clients have talked to over the years, when we’re talking about this idea of this go-to-market strategy and trying to test what will work, people get intimidated, I mean immediately, I mean I have a background scientific as well with the whole PhD and doing the things I had to do, but the reality is it can be very intimidating when you start talking about split testing, quantitative, [blank] and all these other things. That can be overwhelming, what’s an easy way, if someone wants to do some market research to get ready for a launch, what’s the easy way, and I know I’m putting you on the spot, but what is the easy way to sort of help them figure out who that ideal client is and then how they can begin to target them like right out of the gate.

DM: I think the easiest way is going back to actually talking to people.

JC: Ok.

Target customer
Target customer

DM: So the challenge is to really to think about the problems that your target customer has, and ask them open ended questions, like what in your job and what did you do today? How do you accomplish your tasks? What is the most aggravating thing that you do in your day over and over again? And keep proving they are without asking hey would you like to buy my product? I mean if you have question, do you like this, 99% of the time the answer is going to be yes, and the reason for that is because people are nice, they don’t want to be mean to you.

JC: Yes.

DM: They want to support your entrepreneur spirit.

Interviewer: I like that. That is so cool.

DM: They are not giving you, actually they are not doing you a favor because you know, they are encouraging you because they want to be nice and they don’t want to offend you, so you can’t go back to saying people told me that they liked my idea, of course I mean I’m not going to say that your idea is not going to work, people just not doing that, so spending some time thinking about opening the questions that you’re going to ask and then find a half a dozen people that will fit that your ideal profile, and asking them those same questions and interview them for an hour, half an hour,  an hour, really got to get to understand what they doing so if you, if you have half a dozen people asking the same questions, after the 6th or 7th person you can start seeing the patterns developing

JC: Ok. I really like that.

DM: And then I’m going back to the statistics and bring up the website, and seeing what people are clicking on, and not clicking, and why are not clicking, that’s always something that we should take advantage of, even with social media, every single platform is going to give you statistical information that you can look into those, comparing those two, definitely, you got to have both.

JC: So both and, it is not an either/or it’s both and, Dragana I think, again it doesn’t have to be intimidating, the way you just map that out for us, I mean essentially you said let’s figure out what I like to call the customers paying, you know, what are you struggling with, what do you really not like dealing with, how can we address that and add value and not, not sell to you at that stage, you know because that’s not really it, and then I also heard you say we need to really sort of roll up our sleeves, and spend some time, some face time or if you can’t I mean, there are so many tools out there, now Skype or video cast.

DM: Oh absolutely!

JC: Or whatever it may be, but you want to have some of the relational things that I talked about on the show all the time you know, and once you do that, then you begin to gather information, and as you said after the 6th or 7th response from that group, you begin to sort of see you know patterns and then you also mentioned, hey make sure you get that website out there, and you mentioned something that you didn’t call it this, but I’m going to call it, is SEO [Laughs]. That whole thing of understanding exactly how your website is going to fit in, who’s clicking on what, who’s not clicking on certain things, and the challenges associated with that, and then pivoting and figuring out next steps from there, so Dragana we are going to have to take a quick break, but when we come back you know what, you are a wealth of information and there has to be some backstory behind that, so just a prep you I’m going to ask you a little bit about your story, you know, and how things were, and how you transition was to actually be here and really making such a huge impact right now okay?

DM: Ok sounds good.

The Exit Strategy: How to Leave Yugoslavia

JC: Alright everybody you are listening to Dragana Mendel from Ana Guard LLC and she is sharing so many things SEO, qualitative, quantitative research, pivoting if necessary, all these different things, make sure you stay tuned and make sure you have a notepad so your writing some of this stuff down we’ll be right back. Welcome back everybody, you are on with the leadership linebacker Dr. Jason Carthen and we have been talking about quite a few things, but most importantly, the importance of having a go to market strategy prior to launch, Dragana has been sharing so many nuggets, before we went to break we talked about the idea of why it’s so important to have a plan and a process, and she really mapped out some things for us, but I’m going to switch gears here a little bit and you know, you don’t get this much institutional knowledge and I guess you would just say expertise, without going through some things and being motivated to do things differently, and Dragana you went through a few things, I know just from a little bit of information, but I would love for you to share a little bit about what’s your experience and really ultimately what led to your exit strategy?

DM: [Laughs] Well, I made a decision that I needed to have an exit strategy when I was only 14 years old.

JC: Wow.

DM: So I just didn’t know back then, but ever since I was 14 years old, every three, four, five years that I was going to some major changes in my life, and I just had to see If i decided to continue that way.

JC: Yes.

DM: You never know.

JC: That’s right.

DM: It is a really personal story that happened when I was young, and I still remember that day vividly after so many years, so it was 1984, I was freshman in high school so you can calculate my age.

JC: That’s ok. [Laughs]

DM: I grew up in Yugoslavia and the back then, in the 1984 and eighties Yugoslavia was just like most of the Eastern European countries,  it was a Socialist Communist country, but Yugoslavia was not part of the Eastern Bloc that was dominated the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia was the independent nonaligned country. So most of the people were middle class and the life was pretty good you know, as long as you don’t complain against the government, you are going to have an okay life. One day, the principal came in into a Marxism class you know, back then the Marxism was one of the required subjects along the Math and English and Science and everything else, brain washing was required.

Yugoslavian Flag
Yugoslavian Flag

JC: Yes.

DM: So she came into the class and said I’m so proud of you, I have a good news, you’re the best class in the high school and because of that, I want all of you to participate in the school election, and I’m going to explain how the election process works. So the principal took the ballot out to show it, and she said, this is a list of teachers who were competing for this position in school, and this is how election works:  you all circle number 2.

JC: Oh my goodness. She actually said that?

DM: Yeah.

JC: Okay, how did, how did you respond to that Dragana?

DM: I was like what?

JC: [Laughs] a rebel was born.

DM: Yes, I guess I was always a rebel.

JC: Yes, yes.

DM: Hopefully the principal left after telling us and then when she left I was starting like what do you mean? That’s not an election, elections mean you want to elect who you want to be in that position, not circle person number 2, that’s not fair!

JC: Yes.

DM: And I was just going on, and on, and it’s the class of the 30 kids, 30 teenagers in a classroom, I was the only rebel and one other boy, everybody else was quiet.

JC: Wow.

DM: So the teacher, she let us complain about the whole process, how life is unfair, this is not right; she listened about 10-15 minutes and then she said, you don’t know who is listening, kind of applying the walls have ears.

JC: That’s right.

DM: And she said, you might want to stop this conversation, because you don’t know if that will affect your parent’s job.

JC: That’s right. And it was so commonplace back at that time, so did you, how did you react to that, I mean once you were given that negative information did you, did you feel the pressure to maybe tone it back some, because you have long-term goals or what were your thoughts?

DM: I was just a kid but I think that I grew up in that moment.

JC: Yes.

DM: And when she said that I realized, what kind of country I live, and in that moment I realized I need to create my exit strategy, because when I grow up, I cannot live in a country like this, where there’s no freedom, freedom of speech or talk about it, so at that point I was silent, I didn’t want to jeopardize my parent’s job or anything like that, that’s the last thing I wanted to do. So from that moment on, all I was thinking of was what can I do, as somebody in high school to leave one day this country Yugoslavia when I grow up. Back then when I was in high school my dream was to be a journalist, or  published author or something like that because I loved writing but I’m here doing my business development today. I don’t think there were really actually a big demand in Western Europe for Serbian writers.

JC: Yes, ok. [Laughs]

DM: So the first market research, if we  can called it like that, it was for me to think about, well there’s actually a demand for engineers, in Western Europe. I never thought about United States that I’ll be here, but I had my eyes set the Western Europe. That was my first decision to go into the high school, where I would get tremendous and fantastic education in hard sciences and physics and math, so I can go to university and then I I studied hard and I got admitted it into very competitive university of Belgrade School of electrical engineering, computer engineering track, so that was my goal, to get a computer science degree, get a job upon graduation one day, that was the plan.

JC: Yeah.

DM: It didn’t turn out exactly that way, but that was my first time plan back then.

JC: I think the thing that are our listening audience needs to understand, is that you had a strategy, I tell people that all the time, I just did a radio interview before yesterday and I tell people that you need to birth your dreams and your ideas, you know, they can they can sit dormant forever, but when you develop a strategy and a plan and action steps to get there, then that’s the beginning,. And Dragana it sounds like you, you had that and even though it didn’t go all fully according to plan, look at you now, I mean you just, it’s amazing, you have so much information and I know that you’re adding value to people, and this whole idea of having this go-to-market strategy prior to launch and making sure you do, you do due diligence it seems like you understand your craft and you’re able to help people, not only with the heart science part, the metrics and everything else, but you also bring a certain depth of touch, when you’re engaging people, so hey, I think you long ago and 14 you had no idea, and you are running with this thing.

DM: Well it is also when you are put in a position where you don’t have a lot of choices, and I think adversity really makes you be creative and work harder, push yourself through; I think that you with your career can definitely relate to that.

JC: Oh yeah.

DM: And then you’re in a position, you know that your career is not going to last long.

JC: That’s right.

DM: Even though at the peak of your career you have to have a strategy at some point.

JC: Yes, it is so true because, Dragana I thought I was going to play forever, I mean I was young and I’m going to date myself too, but I think we’re pretty much the same age, and I think what happened with me, I thought I was going to play forever, and then when that injury occurred, I had to have an exit strategy and it speaks to what you talked about at the top of the show, I think we all need that personal exit strategy, not exit strategy but a personal strategy for our lives, you know, I mean, it it’s not something that we actually go out in a haphazard sort of way, and we don’t have any direction. I think you have really sort of illuminated that for us today, we should all really be working through you know, what we’re going to do, how we’re going to develop, how we’re going to grow, and then also business-wise of course, what type of strategy, you know, we’re going to have, so would you agree with that?

DM: Oh. Absolutely! Specially today, in a global job market,  everybody needs to think about the value they provide to the current business, and what is going to be the next step, so you think about the current to the job environment, a lot of the people are in a so called the gig economy, so if you’re in the gig economy you have to figure out who is going to buy your services, or your skills and or your time, and going back to pretty early in the NFL, you know that that career path does not last forever.

JC: No. it doesn’t.

DM: Especially in the fields of the software engineering you don’t see a lot of the grey haired people working in high-tech.

JC: Right.

DM: Even when I was starting out my career, when I was 25 or so, most of my, only have a handful of colleagues that were in their mid-forties or so. I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody who was actually who was 50 years old or older.

JC: Oh my goodness.

DM: So even from that perspective, you kind of have to think about, okay what is going to be my next steps 10 years from now.

Pivot, research, lead, cut sunk cost quickly 

JC: We need to take a quick break, but I want  to pick this conversation back up because what does that say about the longevity, of what we do, I think for me, and this is a hot-button issue, and I know we got to take a quick break, but this is a hot-button issue, because hey people like you, you have institutional knowledge, you’ve been doing this thing long enough, where you can still add value, so why would people want to I guess transition you out, at that point ,so we’ll talk about this when we come back from break. Hey everybody you are listening to discover the leader in you, and today so it’s just powerful in a sense of adding value, because we’re talking about the importance of having a go to market strategy prior to launch and Dragana it’s just sharing just some nuggets with us, so stay tuned, when we come back Dragana is going to let you know how to get in contact with her, and how you can work with her as well, stay tuned everybody. Alright, welcome back everybody to discover the leader in you, and it’s been a very vibrant show and just learning quite a few things, and before we dive back in just a shout out, I know people are already asking, my beautiful cohost for Marie Carthen is not here, she’s at the ladies alive Summit conference with the AdvoCare, so she gave me the green light to go ahead and do the show without her so, but she is missed and just let everybody know my bride will be back next week you are so going to have Dr. Michael Hartsfield on with us next week, he is a noted consultant in the areas of emotional intelligence, and just impact our lives in a positive way so, now, back to our show and our expert, now Dragana if people wanted to work with you or get in contact with you, are you on social media, how could they get in contact with you?

DM: Oh absolutely, people can reach out to me on Twitter that’s always an easy way. My twitter is @Draganamendel, I have my website,  it is the best way to contact me, and I do promise that I do return emails and phone calls pretty quickly.

JC: She sure does. I have to say that, I’m living proof that i reached out and she has been great. You know hey please reach out to Dragana, I mean she Is doing some great things and I sort of want to transition, because you know, when I asked you to reach out, and make sure you work with her, she offers a different brand of consulting and she also offers a different way of doing it, because you know, I don’t have to tell everyone, is in the media all the time, but women in technology, especially in the start of world, you know, where the majority of people are white males, it’s not easy, and so she has developed her own way of working with people and she also has a woman’s intuition, in a very depth of touch when working with people, so Dragana, how have you been able to bridge that gap because it’s not easy doing what you do, especially being a female.

DM: No it’s not easy, Definitely it can be lonely sometimes because when you’re part of the big team, and most of the team mates do not look like you, if they don’t share their life experiences you have, it can be a little bit lonely, but you know that’s just the way it is so you can try to connect on a different level, and what has worked for me successfully over the years, is to connect with engineers to the cool new gadgets that we all share and love.

JC: Yes.

DM: So kind of like being more geeky and that works out.

JC: I like that idea of being more geeky. I thought I was the only one like that.

DM: I love technology, I’m always the one to get the latest and greatest version of all the different products, and I was definitely at the first month to get the Apple watch as soon as it came out, so you know, I never have to worry about my son and my little boy, knowing more about technology than me, so that is also a good thing as a mom.

JC: That’s awesome, yes, yes. Is such a gap there I mean, if you’re not staying on top of it, it can be a huge learning curve you know, so now let me ask you something, I just had a tweet come across from Cindy V and Associates, she talks about the idea of having practical points to launching and improving your business you know, are there any more nuggets that you could share with our listening audience you know, that would just offer an idea of how to be practical you know, with this whole thing is getting ready for launch.

DM: I therms of practical points, I think one of the issues that I see that startups make when they are looking to raise money from investors, the have the same message, the same presentation and they go from one investor to the other, to the other, to the other, and then they don’t go far.  So going back to the market research, startup founders only need 5 or 6 investors to talk to, and if things are not working out you need to change the pitch, you need to change what you’re doing and figure out why is not working, and then start over again, change your product, change your message, then try again. So my practical advice is do not spend too much time pitching the same product, without changing it.

JC: Wow.

DM: If it’s not working don’t spend more than three months doing the same thing over, and over again. Change it, test it and try again.

JC: Now you just added a another nugget of information, you said change it, test it and you know one of those things we talked about from a very practical standpoint, hey you can’t be so in love with your idea that you become insulated, and the whole idea of testing this thing, you know, and doing what I talk about at the top of the show, and I’m not, that’s not a shameless plug about the book, but really trying to ask people you know, what are your thoughts, how do you think this thing will fly, and it’s one of those things, the more you’re intentionally testing this thing, the more in my opinion going to have a groundswell of interest and people are going to want to maybe get behind it, because they feel this connection at that point, when they’ve had a say so in it, and it’s the same thing with investors, I mean if you if they have told you that’s not the best way to do it, and you’ve made some tweaks, then there’s a greater likelihood that they may want to get on board.

DM: And the key point is, never ask a person, hey do you like this, always ask them, hey I would really you’re your opinion about this topic, can you help me.

JC: Nice. That is good Dragana! okay so you can frame it in a way where it’s not the whole social desirability theory that says, hey I don’t want hurt your feelings, I want to tell you what you want to hear, that’s the truth and I use it all the time, but when you ask them, give us again what you would ask them, and why it’s important.

Decision making point
Decision making point

DM: Ask people what do they think, it’s like hey what do you really think about my idea,  I really need your help, and is like I really need your help to open the doors, people will bend over backwards to you tell you what I think honestly, and that’s exactly what you needs instead of asking black and white, yes or no question, as it’s not going to give you the quality information that you are seeking.:

JC: I like that. Now  Dragana, we’re almost out of time but I have to ask you some questions here, this is a passion of mine, so if we’re talking about being a good leader you know, how do you execute this go-to-market strategy, I mean you need to hire good people, do you need to be transparent, do you need to motivate people or can you just tell them like, you learned back when you were fourteen, just do what I tell you to do.

DM: My preference is complete transparency, and I don’t like hierarchies.

JC: Yeah.

DM: That’s just my personality. I like everybody to be on an equal footing, we all have information that we need to get things done, so I’m more of a peer relationship type of structure that works for me and my personality , and so I seek people who will fit in the same profile.

JC: I like that, you know, and sometimes that can be a hard thing, but I know, you know , the whole idea of teamwork in the National Football League, you know what you have you have this thing of yelling and coming together, so you have to be intentional with bringing people on that are of the same mind and they catch Dragana’s  vision, because if they don’t then eventually we’re going to have some major issue, and some challenges, so if there was one last nugget we got about a minute or sixty seconds left, if there was one last nugget that you would provide to people Dragana, about really the importance of this go-to-market strategy, what would that thing be?

DM: Its people, because at the end of the day is all about people, people will do all the work, surround yourself with people that you can trust, to rely on their expertise and you know that you can work together well, you cannot have any team conflict in a small team, in a small businesses, that is that’s not going to work, so it’s all about feeling good about yourself, and the people around you.

JC: That is good stuff, and those are some serious nuggets there, and I think sometimes it’s probably easier said than done, you know, and I guess I would have to ask you as a parting thought, you know, what happens when you have people that come on board, do you transition them off if they’re not blending well, or how do you handle that?

DM: You just have to cut your loses pretty quickly, that is  incredibly important for small teams, small business, start-ups, when you have only had two people on the team, if somebody’s not happy, if it’s not so working well on a personal level, and we all know that, we feel that, you just have to trust your heart.

JC: Alright Dragana, thank you so much for being on the show today, you did an amazing job, okay.

DM: Thank you so much Jason, it was a pleasure talking to you, and I know you doing a wonderful job, and I hope that your book goes really, really well.

Interviewer: Ok.  Thank you so much. Het everybody it’s been a pleasure to have you with us in the studio, and Dragana did an amazing job and you have been listening to discover the leader in you, and I’ll see you next week, make sure you tune in for Dr. Michael Hartsfield take care now.

Discover the leader in you, with the leadership linebacker Dr. Jason Carthen, we want to hear from you, connect with us now, visit our blog and visit our website at Jason, like us on Facebook, at Carthen Enterprises, follow us on Twitter at Jason Carthen, let’s keep the conversation going and if you want to listen to the podcast, go to Jason Carthen, be sure to join us every Saturday at 2 p.m. on am 1420, the answer to discover the leader in you.

About Dragana Mendel 83 Articles
Dragana Mendel is a President and Principal Consultant at ANAGARD, LLC. In her role, she provides management consulting services to small and medium size businesses on the best strategy to achieve their short and long term goals.