We hope you’ve all had a good rest over the holidays, we certainly did! Bleary eyed from all the chocolate, cider, Christmas TV and ‘interesting’ family chit chat, we had plenty of time to reflect on what we learned in 2013. Here are 5 startup lessons we’ve learned over the last year as well as a little advice to help make your 2014 simpler, easier and more successful…

Be lean

Though it’s not a new concept, we were all talking about the Lean Startup principles and agile software development in 2013. We heard some amazing stories about tech startups testing their assumptions with unique Minimum Viable Products and we learned that being agile is key to keeping up with our ever increasing competition.

What this means for 2014: If you’re creating a new product or service this year, start simple, ship often and let your customers help you create something they really want. Spend less time thinking up new features and more time listening for suggestions.

Hack your way to growth

2013 was also the year we all got on board with Growth Hacking (a term that was coined back in 2010 by marketer Sean Ellis). While we’re not ready to give up more traditional marketing methods, we’ve learned to focus more on growing our key metric(s) without getting distracted by the rest of our marketing plans.

What this means for 2014: Stop getting caught up with trying to get TechCrunch to publish a story about you and go and start learning how to grow your key metric(s). Take a look through this detailed guide to growth hacking from marketing guru Neil Patel to get you started.

Treat your customers like your family

Great customer service has been huge this year. We’ve heard so many amazing customer stories from Sainsbury’s, Netflix, Zappos etc that our friends and family shared like crazy across social networks.

What this means for 2014: Think of your support team as an extension of your marketing department. The better support you can give your customers, the more likely they are to share their stories with friends and on social networks. Great customer support can be just as (if not more) effective than traditional marketing techniques so get your support team trained up now!

Give your team the credit they deserve

The concept of great company culture is nothing new (especially in the world of tech startups) but we’ve still been talking about it all year long and the conclusion is unanimous – treat your staff well, because you need them.

What this means for 2014: Reward your team with days out, free lunches, a great working environment and a culture of honesty and gratitude.

Content is key

2013 was a big year for content marketing and everybody rushed to start blogs and create viral videos. Gone are the days of traditional SEO cheats and tricks, we’ve all learned that great content is the key to great SEO. What this means for 2014: If you haven’t started your blog yet, go and do it now and if you have, don’t neglect it. Try to create engaging, useful content that your readers will love. And don’t forget, content doesn’t just mean blog posts. Use plenty of images, videos, infographics etc to really capture your readers’ attention.



Related Stories