Early Traction vs Predictable Revenue…what’s the difference? Part 1
March 30, 2022 - Dan Rossignol
As founders and early stage startup operators you’re constantly asked how your business is trending right now? Interested investors want to know if you are fundable, future hires want to know if you’re worth the risk, and early adopting customers want to be the first one in the pool, but need a little push. So what’s your story and more importantly what’s your plan for answering this question? If you are like most founders or first key hires you could be answering this question the wrong way. Or perhaps you aren’t quite sure how best to answer this question that will give you both credibility and vulnerability, two very important early stage growth ingredients.
Early Traction = Founder Led Growth
We see early traction as being a successful result of Founder Lead Growth (FLG) in which your first cohort of customers are taking the risk on the team and the product promise. Early traction is most often a “do any and everything” sales closing pursuit and often times you will cut the short-term deal you need and not the long-term deal you really want. This is ok but, it is critically important to be intellectually honest about how and why these early adopters have signed on as customers and what your strategy is around learning and servicing these important risk takers.
Here are some quick actions you can take during your FLG stage:
Limit Amount Of Early Customers: You will want the flexibility to iterate
Create A Customer Advisory Board: You will need your customers to be product managers
Charge All Your Customers: No Free & No Favorites → Get paid upfront if possible
Create Success & Failure Metrics With All Your Customers: You are building a durable business not running a side project