Nothing matters but traction. It makes everything easy, but it is the hardest to accomplish.
Too many entrepreneurs focus on working around a lack of traction when they would be better off using that energy to get traction.
A common occurrence is that an entrepreneur comes to me asking for money.
"I need money for marketing so I can get traction."Alas, that's exactly backwards. If you have traction, then raise money to increase your marketing.
My advice to those entrepreneurs is clear and consistent: "No one will invest in a startup without traction unless the entrepreneur has already been wildly successful. For first time entrepreneurs, that means no one will invest in your startup without traction. Period."
Despite this, some entrepreneurs will persist. They'll want to show off their product, or try to prove why their company will dominate once it launches.
Fine, I reply, if it's that good, just launch it, and you'll get the traction you need.
There is no short cut. Get traction before you try to raise money.
The art lies in figuring out the cheapest way to generate compelling evidence of traction. I'll leave that for a future post!