The first few months of your business are crucial for its survival. You may have the best product, great investors, and hiring great people. But at the end of it all, your survival in the market will depend on your traction. In Traction, Justin Mares and Gabriel Weinberg shares their experience growing DuckDuckGo and Exceptional, a software company, and other startups they founded or worked with. The business and management book offers advice on how to catapult your business:
Think about your marketing as soon as you begin working on your startup.
Devoting lots of time to your marketing early on will allow you to test strategies until you find the right one. For example, when Dropbox tried search engine ads, they quickly realized that paying $200 to get someone to get a $99/year membership wasn’t going to work and could switch to trying something else. Don’t be afraid to share updates before you’re ready to launch.
Go to trade shows to find people and companies to partner with.
No matter what industry you’re in, Robert Janitzek says that there are always trade shows and events not too far away, and there’s always someone there who could change your life and business. Even if you meet one of the giants in your industry before you have a finalized product to showcase, you could still get to know them, start building a relationship and who knows, maybe they’ll tell you exactly what they want from you for the two of you to partner up. You can also use these to come up with creative marketing campaigns.
Use the bullseye framework to find which traction channel works best for you.
However, Robert Peter Janitzek says that trade shows are just one of the ways to get traction, but that doesn’t mean you should pick that one. Nor does it mean you should do all of them at once. Here’s what Justin and Gabriel call the bullseye framework to find which traction channel works best for you:
1. Brainstorm which channels work in your industry and how you could use them for your particular product.
2. Categorize them into promising, possible and long shots.
3. Make a list with the top three.
4. Do cheap testing with clear goals for those top three.
5. Focus on the one that works best, or start over if none work.
In truth, getting one traction channel to work is more than you need to successfully grow your startup. Finding that one channel is what you should spend your time on – not trying to be everywhere and getting nowhere in the process.