Early-Stage Traction

Demonstrating traction is important for any company, and especially an early-stage one. A lot of founders communicate it through standard metrics like revenue, number of customers, number of users, etc. Those are fine, but they aren’t the only indicators of traction. If you’re still trying to find product–market fit, giving people insight into your journey can be a great way to show that your company is gaining traction.

If you don’t have product–market fit, you’re no doubt talking to customers often to better understand their problem and what they need in a solution. Ideally, what you learn leads to changes in your product or service. Customers react to those changes positively or negatively. If you’re getting closer to what customers want (and will pay for), that’s traction. It’s not as easy to get across as, say, revenue—because it’s not quantifiable—but it’s still great traction.

If you’re an early founder and someone asks about your traction, consider sharing what you’ve learned during your journey toward product–market fit. Your customer and revenue numbers may not be going up yet, but what you’re learning could signal that you’re on to something big!