We wanted to help the more than 60 million people working with a small business understand why, and how, you can add a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to your business. Hopefully, you’re not brand new to our site and you know that we like to bring you articles that provide educational information on a bevy of small business topics. We’re passionate about small business success and we know how much work, experience, and mental dexterity it requires being successful. We wanted to bring you an article of information inspired by a Strategic Partner, about helping you understand the role a COO plays in business.
A COO is a senior executive responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a company or other institution. Project Management, Operational Procedures, goal setting, measured results, strategic planning…this is all part of what a COO is paid to do. A COO works in conjunction with a CEO and is responsible for the initiatives and future implementation of a company. Most small businesses don’t have a COO, but they should. We know what you may be thinking, “how can that be affordable, and why would we need that”. This article is designed to answer both of these questions.
Why do you need a COO?
We’re going to keep this short & simple, and will only focus on the most critical reasons why you should have a COO in your organization.
- Developing processes will allow your team members, and future team members, to repeat the same steps consistently & effectively. This will promote success by ensuring the organization is on the same page and going in the same direction. A COO level executive is responsible to develop these processes.
- Creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) provides for more straight-forward delegation, training, and expectation setting for your team. Knowing who’s responsible for what, how to communicate, what the chain of command is, etc. works in conjunction with process development to ensure business success. COO employees are most experienced in making these SOPs.
- A COO is responsible to keep communications & expectations clear for clients. Though this may not be applicable in every organization, it is an essential process. In many cases, a Project Manager (PM) is responsible to do this. Note that a PM should report to a COO, or be given their own SOP from a COO level executive.
- Scaling your company is important. Sometimes you need to scale up, sometimes down. A COO is going to help that scale up or down go more smoothly and they are often able to anticipate the scale, making the process easier.
- Even though you may not be thinking about it now, you may choose to retire and/or sell the business. Maybe even merge. Your company is far more marketable for sale, and more valuable when you have these bullet points in place. A COO will successfully make your company value higher and promote your ability to sell, merge, buyout, etc.
Can I Afford A COO?
This is the million dollar question, right? Now that we’ve helped you understand why you really need one, how are we going to help you afford one? The answer is simple, get a COO Consultant! There are many individuals who have extensive experience in both PM & COO positions and who are offering these skills and experience in consulting services. By hiring an experienced consultant here, you can affordably accomplish each of the bullet points above in addition to much more within your own business.
- Many small businesses might not be able to afford a PM ($50K – $75K per year expected salary) let alone a COO ($100K – $200K per year expected salary.) By hiring a consultant to assist with the PM and/or COO needs, you can spend a few thousand a year, versus these expected salaries.
- Having this consultant in place helps provide the value without the long-term salaries, benefit costs, HR expenses, etc. associated with employing the position.
- This consultant can often create processes that can be developed to allow an office manager, or administrative manager, to maintain the operations of the company.
- In some cases, a skilled consultant can prevent the need for a PM on staff, or may provide you the opportunity to hire a PM when needed for select projects.
How Do I Get A COO?
We are firm believers in the value of skilled and experienced consultants for small business and we have a strategic network of partners who provide these kinds of value. We use, like, and trust, Susan Fennema of Beyond the Chaos and we’d like to give the firm a huge shout out for providing us with the knowledge needed to write this article. Our President first worked with Susan when she was in the FileMaker community with a development company. They’ve been collaborating, enjoying a friendship, and supporting each other ever since! Susan’s organizational skills became apparent as a small child as she had a knack for analyzing situations, and organizing them accordingly. After a degree in journalism, she still found herself obsessed with organization & process problem-solving. It didn’t take her long to get into the habit of making herself valuable for businesses in a variety of industries in and 2016, she decided it was time to hang her own shingle.
If any of the reasons why you should get a COO appealed to you, or you just have questions, reach out to her firm. You never know how affordable it may be to reach the next level of operational success. Even if you have another connection who is skilled & experienced, don’t let these needs slip in your business. Time flies when you’re having fun in business and you don’t want to be in a position where you’re looking back and wondering what happened, instead of knowing where you’ve been, and where you are going.