Becoming the Go-To

Let’s do a little word association exercise. We’ll call it Name That Go-To.

  1. When you think of Entrepreneurship, who are the Go-To people that come to mind? _______________
  2. How about Leadership?  _______________
  3. Country Music?  _______________

GoToThe fact is, for every area of interest, we associate certain people as our familiar experts – our Go-To, top-of-mind folks that we turn to for information (and that we recommend to others).

My answers to the exercise above?

  1. Richard Branson and Steve Jobs rise right to the top-of-mind.
  2. First thoughts go to Michael Hyatt and John Maxwell.
  3. I’m not immersed in country music, but first place I’d turn is Jessica Northey, the queen of country music social networking.

Now, it may be a bit of stretch for most of us to become the Go-To for some large swath of the business world. But it should be our goal, if we can, to define our micro-niche and develop such domain expertise, so many contacts, and add so much value that we become the Go-To for our corner of the world.

And there are lots and lots of micro-niches.

For instance, when it comes to content marketing, Ann Handley, CC Chapman, and Joe Pulizzi come immediately to mind. They write, promote, and advance the cause. In small business, the highly-networked Brian Moran is becoming a Go-To figure. The new world of publishing? Tim Sanders, and Guy Kawasaki. Let’s get even nichier. Visual facilitation and strategy? Keep your eye on Jocelyn Ring. Custom gift soap? That’s Ellen Cagnassola. There are tens of thousands of other examples.

The fact is, if you can be a go-to resource in just one micro-niche, you can create a sustainable business. Don’t try to become a big fish in a huge pond of bigger fish. Figure out where you can add the most value, and become the dominant player there. The Go-To figure in any domain gets the referrals, after all – and isn’t that the best way to grow a business?



  1. Learning the steps on how to become the go to expert, I’d like to learn your thoughts.

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