I read "Traction" by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares over the Christmas holidays. The book is full of interesting and relevant advice for startups looking to find and build an audience for their product. In short, they recommend going through a 5-steps process called the "Bullseye framework" in order to identify which distribution channel is the best for your company at a given point in time. The five steps are the following:
- Brainstorm: find a reasonable way you could use each of the 19 traction channels they present
- Rank: order your ideas from most to least compelling
- Prioritize: identify your top 3 most promising channels
- Test: run an experiment for each of the 3 channels
- Focus: direct all of your effort towards the selected channel
They go on to introduce the concept of "critical path": the key steps you have to follow in order to reach your traction goal. The key is to stay on the path until you've reached your goal:
While I agree with this line of thinking, I've found it very difficult to apply it in practice. Forcing yourself to use one single channel is hard and triggers a lot of discussions: "Should we really stop going to events X and Y to do just online ads? Those events have been a big source of leads for us in the past!". In any case, forcing yourself to give a hard look at your various traction channels on a regular basis is an interesting and useful exercise.