Don't worry — this article isn't about ergonomic chairs, sound barriers, or potted plants.
Can such design elements affect productivity? Absolutely.
Do they have the potential to drastically increase a startup's traction? Probably not.
How then, do the world’s most successful tech startups maximize workplace productivity, drive innovation, and deliver next generation technologies?
Originally coined by biologists, the word ecosystem refers to a community of organisms interacting and thriving from one another. Over the past several years, the term has taken on new life within the entrepreneurial community.
A startup ecosystem can now be defined as the dynamic nature between various startup teams working alongside one another, sharing resources and supporting one another toward the achievement of common goals. Thus, it's more than a physical environment; it's the collaboration, experimentation, and growth that happens between individuals within that environment.
Victor Hwang, contributing writer with Forbes, describes the importance of ecosystem:
“Two people sitting in a coffee shop today might be starting the world’s next most important company, or they might not. It depends largely on how they interact. Do they like each other? Do they inspire each other? Do they trust each other enough to take a chance together? The world might turn on those answers.”
Ecosystem matters because no company was ever built in a vacuum.
New ideas are catalyzed into reality thanks to the collaborative efforts of many individuals working together. It's not just the team members you hire; it's the mentors, advisors, vendors, investors, and experts you meet along the way that all play a role in your productivity and ultimate success.
How to Maximize Startup Productivity
Work Alongside Experienced Tech Entrepreneurs
Do you know everything there is to know about fundraising, product development, sales, marketing, and the dozens of other topics that are integral to meeting the goals of your tech startup? Of course not.
Nonetheless, if you are working toward your goals at supersonic speed, new questions come up daily. Without access to trustworthy individuals to survey for advice, it's easy to become frustrated with a backlog of unanswered questions that impede progress. One way to prevent stall-outs is to position your team office within an existing community.
Doing so will provide easy access to a large pool of individuals who have "been there, done that." Being able to tap into a knowledgeable entrepreneurial community can dramatically accelerate growth by providing quick relief to common roadblocks.
Additionally, connecting with other passionate entrepreneurs has a way of making you want to work a little harder when the going gets tough. There’s a palpable feeling of drive when you hear fingers tapping away at key boards, sales calls happening in the other room, and problems being solved by the coffee machine.
Another benefit of working alongside other tech startups? Your ecosystem will inevitably extend to the thought leaders, influencers and speakers attracted by the large network of talent. Regardless of the industry, it's a fact that watering holes featuring top talent attract relevant community leaders. Translation: Working within a pool of similar talent means easier networking, easier connections and faster progress.
Forge Strategic Partnerships
Another important aspect of a tech ecosystem is forming strategic partnerships with other companies, partners, and corporates who can benefit from your startup's products and services. Among other things, like-minded companies can provide the platform and targeted audience to test your ideas at a much larger scale.
Fail to thoroughly test your ideas, and you may think you know exactly what your customers want, but mistakenly waste time working on something completely inconsequential. The best time to begin thinking about strategic partnerships is after the establishment of a minimum viable product.
Go in too early, and you risk forgoing the flexibility to change direction as needed. Wait too long, and you will miss out on the kind of opportunities that can only come from aligning yourself with an established company (i.e. the fine-tuning of products, streamlining of operations, and enhancing of marketplace viability).
One example of an extremely beneficial startup partnership involves RocketSpace alum Uber. The ride sharing platform partnered with Google to offer rides directly from within the Internet giant's maps feature. Not only did the alliance improve Uber's market reach, but it also resulted in a $258 million investment via Google. Acquisitions are also a realistic possibility from said partnerships.
At RocketSpace, we play the role of matchmaker between startups and over 170 corporate partners around the globe. Our Corporate Innovation Program walks participants through an outcome-driven methodology that perfectly matches startups with the corporations they can best serve, so founders reduce the risk of pursuing unproductive negotiations that don't pan out. Our philosophy: The more partners you have supporting your efforts to scale, the more focused you can be on what matters most.
Create a Culture of Engagement
According to a study conducted by the Queen’s School of Business and the Gallup Organization, disengaged workers had 37 percent higher rate of absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents, and 60 percent more errors and defects compared to their engaged counterparts.
Additionally, organizations with low employee engagement scores experienced an 18 percent reduction in productivity, a 16 percent reduction in profitability, and a 65 percent reduction in share prices over time. Of course, all of this research begs the question: How do you support engagement?
Put simply, engaged employees are happy employees. Besides hiring talent who genuinely loves the work, you can support workplace happiness by creating a culture of well-being. As mentioned in the Harvard Business Review, there are generally three parts to fostering well-being in the workplace:
- Provide plenty of opportunities for both personal + professional development
- Supply convenient amenities that make life easier (e.g. nap rooms, tasty food, and showers)
- Promote an open-door policy that fosters compassionate communication
When combined, all of these elements work together to enhance overall engagement, which in turn drives long-term organizational success. At RocketSpace, we support member engagement by providing world class amenities, hosting frequent educational events, and facilitating intimate roundtable discussions that allow members to brainstorm solutions to common tech startup challenges.
It's All About a Tech Ecosystem
There is no shortage of information available on ways to tweak your work environment for greater productivity. Going beyond amenity upgrades, an ecosystem custom built to support the unique goals of your tech startup is the ideal launch pad for rapid growth.
Surrounding your team with the right people, forging strategic partnerships, and fostering a culture of engagement — that’s an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem.
RocketSpace is a tech ecosystem that provides startups and scale-ups with the perfect mix of resources to quickly move through roadblocks, stay productive, and scale.
At RocketSpace, discover a thoughtfully curated community of the world's top tech entrepreneurs coming together to make a serious impact. Interested in checking out our tech hub?