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8 Ways to Boost Productivity in a Start-up All it takes are a few small changes to processes in order to increase the level of efficiency

By Sam Dolbel

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Setting up and running a start-up is no easy feat. Entrepreneurs, businessmen and women worldwide come across many challenges daily. Funding, finding the right talent and time management are only some of the issues they are faced with on a daily basis. But sometimes, all it takes are a few small changes to processes in order to increase the level of productivity and efficiency in a business.

Here are eight tips on how to increase productivity as a start-up.

Be as efficient as possible

Do you ever come out of a meeting and think "gosh, this could have been an email!" While I agree with that, a lot of the time I actually find that a quick face-to-face conversation allows us to get things done more efficiently. Often, what could be a two-minute discussion with a colleague can turn into a two-hour waiting game over emails.

Of course there are other alternatives which use technology, allowing us to minimize face-to-face meetings—options like Microsoft Teams for example, can be used to call, text and share files with team members at a much faster pace than an email would, and do not restrict us to a physical location or meeting room.

Be as digitally-savvy as possible

We came up with SINC because we felt there was a gap in the market when it came to apps that help start-ups and SMEs track their teams' working hours effectively. SINC makes it simple for employees with hourly contracts to track their time, with an easy-to-use interface and a powerful backend that enables managers to track performance and create detailed reports. SINC works well for industries, like construction, with hourly workforces. However, in today's fast-moving environment there are many other business tasks that can be completely digitalized. My two cents: Find which tasks your company wastes too much time on, there's probably an app for them.

Join an Accelerator

Don't underestimate the power of joining an accelerator. These specialized organizations can expand your growth by offering access to investment, office space and mentorship from industry leaders. When we came to Bahrain, we found Flat6Labs to be the most suitable option for what we were looking for—an accelerator scheme offering everything we needed to help us thrive, including access to mentors both in Bahrain and in wider international tech ecosystem.

Location, Location, Location

You've heard this before, but location is one of the biggest assets you can invest in as a start-up – not just in terms of physical space, but more broadly, the market from which you operate. From SINC's perspective, we needed to find a location that ticked a few boxes; global and regional access, a cost competitive offering, a thriving and supportive startup ecosystem and the availability of the right type of skilled talent; and this was exactly what we found in Bahrain. For your start-up, it's critical you understand your criteria, what exactly is it that you want to do, and which location will best help serve your needs. Ultimately, you need to understand the specific tools you need to put in place for your idea to flourish, and location is a key component in that. Most of all though, don't feel limited by geographies, go out and find the right place, I guarantee you, it exists.

Create structure

Leaving roles undefined, especially in small start-ups, can create confusion, and even worse, lead to duplicate efforts and tons of wasted time. Having defined roles and tasks gives the team a sense of responsibility and promotes accountability, both of which are crucial to any start-up's success.

Invest in the culture

Whether in a start-up or in a large organization, a management team must focus on promoting trust, open communication and access to information. Early on in your journey you need to find out exactly what kind of culture and values will your start-up stand for, and how do you plan to communicate that to both your team and your customers.

Invest in Marketing smartly

Many start-ups pour a significant amount of their capital in marketing their products and services. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but you must be smart about it. Identify your targets and what channels and tools would help you effectively and efficiently drive your message through. Don't be afraid of thinking outside the box—what works for one company may not work for another. For example, at SINC we rely on organic growth through word of mouth rather than spending a lot of money on promoted content.

Encourage autonomy, don't micromanage

The best way to encourage productivity and creativity in your team is for the managers (and founders!) to step back. Let your team manage their tasks freely and independently; you trusted them enough to join your start-up, so you should be able to give them a task and let them fly with it. This increases motivation, and you'll find that the more ownership someone is able to take of their role, the better job they will do at it.

Sam Dolbel

Founder, SINC

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