Traction is real customers. If you charge for your product, it's real paying customers. If your product is free, it's a real user base. Traction is a signal that your company is producing real results in a real market.
Getting traction is a signal to everyone (including yourself) that your business is less risky. In other words, traction trumps everything.
If you're starting a company, chances are you can build a product. Almost every failed startup has a product. What most failed startups don't have are enough customers.
We advocate exploring getting traction in parallel with product development, and to approach doing so in a systematic way that we present called the Bullseye Framework.
1. You aren't pursuing traction in parallel with product development.
2. You aren't spending enough time pursuing traction.
3. You are biased towards or against certain traction channels.
4. You aren't taking a systematic approach to getting traction.