Traction trumps everything, there is nothing else. I don’t care what anyone says. So what is this traction thing? well, it is different for different teams. Getting to traction is not a function of money, although in some cases it could be. Time and time again I have found startup founders not focusing on this. Building a great product is important and solving a big problem is also important, but all that would be moot if you are not able to show growth. Remember Paul G’s post? Startup = Growth, growth is traction. I wrote about it this last year. It is easy to say that you should grow 5% to 7% every week, but how do you do it? Well, I had this book “Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers” in my reading list for a while and I finally started reading it. The authors are startup founders themselves and have experience building traction for their startups. I would highly recommend this book to all entrepreneurs and startup founders.

Once you hit the traction loop, everything else become much more easier, you know what levers to pull to scale the business. I am fortunate to have found some teams that really get this and are now riding the growth wave. It is so much fun to watch their chests swell up, their confidence growing and they become extremely excited to have built something that their customers want. I think the book is probably under appreciated but I think it hits on most things that early stage companies fail to do. Did you know that there are 19 channels to build your customers? Do you know what they traction-bookare? No? here it is

  1. Viral Marketing
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Community Building
  4. Engineering as Marketing
  5. Public Relations (PR)
  6. Business Development
  7. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  9. Social and Display ads
  10. Offline ads
  11. Targeting Blogs
  12. Email Marketing
  13. Affiliate Programs
  14. Unconventional PR
  15. Speaking Engagements
  16. Offline Events
  17. Trade Shows
  18. Existing Platforms
  19. Sales

The authors have a framework on how to get to your top 3 channels and once you identify the channels, they also guide you on what to do to get the channel working for you. It is a pretty structured approach and I wish more founders would obsesses about getting their distribution channels right than running around trying to raise money. The funny thing is you don’t need money to do most of what the authors of the book recommend to gain traction.

The book also has a discussion forum online, where you can get engaged with the authors and others who have read the book and are applying the methodology to gain customers.