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A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

S-Curves Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Use “traction” through a variety of media channels to generate sales and build your business.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Overview


Entrepreneurs Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares interviewed 40 successful business founders to learn their promotion and advertising tips and to share them with you. They discuss how to use “traction” to draw customers by using 19 promotional “channels,” like public relations or search engine optimization. Many of their examples come from high tech, so web and software entrepreneurs will find this discussion particularly useful. Weinberg and Mares cover many topics, but they are going for breadth not depth. Their compendium could help you brainstorm new or replacement traction channels – but they don’t give sufficient data about any one channel to offer a how-to. Nevertheless, they do provide a pathway for seeing what’s out there, how others started their promotional journey, what inspiring new ideas they offer and how you can develop a traction strategy for your firm. getAbstract recommends this overview to entrepreneurs in start-ups and in ongoing businesses.


Signs of Success

If your new company is starting to gain customers, you’re getting “traction.” In short, traction is an indicator of growth – the goal of every start-up. “Traction channels” are the sources of those customers. Entrepreneurs advise selecting among 19 different channels – that is, marketing paths – to spark success for your business or start-up. Most new firms focus only on familiar channels and ignore others, but you can’t know which channels will work for your firm unless you test the possibilities. Most companies fail due to bad distribution, not bad products, so getting one channel right can make the difference between a business that lasts and one that doesn’t.

But First, Hit the “Bullseye”

Trying to select among 19 different channels can seem overwhelming to an entrepreneur seeking traction. Start by using “the Bullseye Framework” to figure out what channels will do the best job of drawing customers to your firm.

The framework has five steps to repeat over and over:

  1. “Brainstorming” – Consider all the possible traction channels and the options in them.
  2. “Ranking” – Organize them by...

About the Authors

Gabriel Weinberg, the founder of DuckDuckGo and Opobox, is an active angel investor. Justin Mares founded a number of acquired start-ups.

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