What does traction really mean?


I've heard alot from this forum about traction. I tried to look at the meaning in the dictionary, but I somehow can not relate it with a startup. So what does it mean by traction and how does that relate with how you can get funding?

Funding Business

asked Oct 30 '09 at 15:37
1,342 points
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8 Answers


It just means when what you're doing starts to have effect. For example, "getting traction in the market" or "your product gaining traction" means "your customers getting aware / buying your product"

I guess the metaphor is about when your wheels stop spinning uselessly, connect with whatever they're meant to connect with and start doing real work.

answered Oct 30 '09 at 17:06
Neil Davidson
1,839 points
  • I like the metaphor. Your business may feel like it's running at 100 miles an hour but if it's not making a real impact on real people then it's getting nowhere fast. Once you got some grip it's a different story – Fatuhoku 10 years ago


It depends on the nature of your business. Generally, it begins with asking yourself 'what is the fundamental assumptions of my business?' If that fundamental assumption is wrong, then, everything else become irrelevant.

Example: if your business is an expense-tracking software, then, the traction might be how much expenses are being tracked. How many users are using it on regular basis etc.

If there are 2000 users visiting the site, but, no one is recording their expenses, then, i wouldn't count it as a useful traction. That doesn't prove the fundamental of your business.

YouTube might be tracking how many videos are being uploaded and played per users.
Facebook might be tracking how long each user spend on the site. how many activities are being done.

It doesn't have to be huge number initially. It just good enough to prove that you have something genuinely valuable and people want it.

Hope that helps.

answered Oct 30 '09 at 16:56
Hendro Wijaya
1,408 points
  • Yup. That really helps. Thanks for the explanation. – Jpartogi 14 years ago


Everybody uses that term. What it really means is that the business has gotten out of its early building phase and is now in its early operational phase. Short and sweet - traction is ongoing revenue generation. That is, multiple customers buying your product with some consistency over some short period of time (say, six months). Then you have traction in the market. Once you have traction, the next thing you need to prove is sustainability, which is extending your traction over a longer period of time.

Hope this helps.

answered Nov 4 '09 at 01:26
Lonnie Sciambi
369 points


To "get traction" means to gain some momentum in a way that is meaningful to your business model. It is a very generic term, but it means you are beginning to see some success from your efforts. Important to note that once you have some momentum, the term is less applicable.

answered Oct 30 '09 at 17:09
Ar Vee
143 points


Can we say that traction is the friction between the wheel and the ground. When the ground has friction the wheel moves forward to mean when ideal gain momentum or general acceptance from the public.

answered Oct 2 '12 at 19:45
11 points


"Traction" usually means proving the business.

Startups are a scientific endeavor to find both a viable market and product, with many experiments to be done before you can do the real work of building something concrete.

Traction usually means having enough successful experiments to prove the business and the product idea. Now the work you are doing is actively advancing you toward success, not establishing general direction.

answered Nov 3 '09 at 10:41
211 points


  1. Turning the idea into the product
  2. Generating the first revenue
  3. Earning customer references
  4. Building sales & selecting your segment
  5. Raising awareness in your segment
  6. Market Traction – Segment pre-eminence
answered Jun 28 '11 at 22:32
178 points


To apply traction is to stop the wheels of your business from spinning and going no where. So to apply traction means .ie) when your buisiness drives into a ditch and loses traction, it stops growing and or regularly loses cash flow, so you have to apply a variety of useful methods to ensure the future of your business per, your model and generate constant cash flow.

answered Jun 28 '11 at 22:21
1 point

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