Growing businesses face a different set of challenges than start-ups and established heavy-hitters. Hiring a Fractional Chief Operations Officer provides leadership and cost flexibility for businesses trying to scale in a competitive space.
This week, we offer a deep dive into the benefits of hiring a Fractional COO.
When you’re transitioning from “start-up” to regional or national player, assembling a strong C-Suite is near the top of your to-do list. However, it’s a challenge to pay for full-time leadership when you’re in the scale-up quagmire of uncertainty.
A Fractional Chief Operations Officer can help you conquer a variety of growth challenges at a more manageable investment.
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How Does “Fractional” Differ From “Full-Time?”
We’ll use the term “fractional” in this article to define a C-suite leadership role that is not full time. Fractional COOs may work in many different parameters:
- As a part-time or temporary contractor with a company
- On a project-based level, a Fractional Chief Executive Officer lends their expertise, experience, and leadership to completion of one or more projects. When the project finishes, so does their involvement with your team.
- As an advisor without team involvement
Why Would I Hire a Fractional Chief Operations Officer?
For companies on the upswing, a fractional C-Suite can mean the difference between successful scaling and stagnation. Growth takes vision and investment, as well as leadership and implementation.
Business owners are busy people, typically taking on the roles of working IN the company as much or more than they work ON it. While it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to be intimately familiar with every corner of their operations, there comes a time to move on more pressing CEO duties.
To grow a business, the “chief, cook, and bottle-washer” start-up CEO mentality must evolve into vision, innovation, and a higher leadership vibration. This evolution means you’ll need more time for networking, community outreach, goal setting, and building your dream team of executives.
Fractional COOs can help you practice moving into a new leadership paradigm. They provide experience, leadership, support, and know-how in your daily, monthly, and yearly operations.
What Does a Fractional COO Do?
A Fractional Chief Operating Officer gets to know your business model. Then, they work within that framework to offer leadership and accountability in the area of your choice. Use a Fractional COO to:
- Head up senior operations
- Engage you and your principles in strategic planning
- Lead or innovate within your Sales and Marketing departments
- Innovate better ways to make your products, such as more efficient technology or production procedures
- Strategize the company’s business growth goals and success metrics
- Serve as an interim COO
Every entrepreneur can benefit from having a straight-shooting collaborator at their side. It’s a good idea to hire a Fractional COO with areas of genius you may lack.
This person should feel confident to tell you the truth, even when it’s not pretty. Especially in the area of their expertise. You should also feel you can trust this leader and allow them to do what they do best, while still maintaining a free-flow of ideas back and forth.
Your complimentary strengths will work together for the length of the relationship to result in the most growth and synergy available.
Fractional COO Advantages
The most prominent up-shot to hiring a Fractional COO is cost. Small and mid-size businesses may lack the ability to offer salaries and benefits packages that attract top C-suite talent.
A Fractional Chief Operating Officer allows you to customize their compensation based on your budget. In other words, you pay for what you need. Further, you need not offer the typical benefits package you would for a full-time COO.
A Fractional COO in your company is a laser-focused asset to accomplish a set of goals and then ride off into the sunset.
Of course, if the relationship is a good fit, you may find you use your Fractional COO at regular intervals throughout the year. You might call this individual for planned company-wide operations evaluation, efficiency upgrades, or seasonal sales pushes, for example.
You could also bring on this expert to help you grow or advance your teams. They can assist you in recruiting and hiring professionals who bring your company to a new level of dominance in your sector.
How do I choose a Fractional COO?
A competent Fractional COO will be ready to customize their services to your needs, within reason. He or she may also clearly lay out the leadership and tasks they perform reliably, with excellence.
When you interview a Fractional COO, be clear about what you want and need in this phase of your company’s growth. Also, stay keen on your connection with the candidate. You want to have a natural rapport and to “click” with their personality.
Conversation and ideas should flow naturally–look for a “trust” factor on both sides of the table. You trust the Fractional COO to deliver on their services, experience, and commitments.
They trust that YOU know your company better than anyone else, and will respect the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve poured into your organization so far.
However, this person should also challenge you conscientiously to expand your thinking and embrace change while working within your business model framework.
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