A fractional COO, or Chief Operating Officer, is a professional who provides part-time or project-based operational support to small and medium-sized businesses. But what exactly do they do, and how can they help with various aspects of the business? In this post, we will explore the role and benefits of a fractional COO, and when you should consider hiring one.
What does a fractional COO do?
A fractional COO is a consultant or contractor, not a full-time employee of your company, who works with you on a flexible basis. Depending on your needs and goals, they can:
- Drive growth and innovation
- Develop and implement a strategic plan for your business
- Solve operational challenges, and improve efficiency and productivity
- Streamline, and implement new processes, systems and technologies
- Improve business financial performance and profitability
- Manage and develop the team and culture
- Implement best practices and standards
A fractional COO can also act as a sounding board and advisor for the business owner or CEO, providing valuable insights, feedback, and guidance.
When should you hire a fractional COO?
A fractional COO is a valuable asset for businesses that are:
- Overwhelmed by the day-to-day operations activity (perhaps scaling up or down), and the owner or CEO needs more time to focus on vision and long-term goals
- In need of fresh ideas and perspectives to scale, potentially because they have reached a plateau or a bottleneck
- Facing a major change or transition, such as entering a new market, launching a new product, or acquiring another company
- Lacking expertise or experience in certain areas of operations and need someone who can fill the gaps and act as a mentor
- Wanting to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations, and increase customer satisfaction and retention
- Preparing for an exit or succession
The benefits of hiring a fractional COO
By hiring a fractional COO, you can benefit from:
- Saving time and money: A fractional COO can help accelerate business results and achieve goals faster. They free up CEO time by taking over operational tasks that are perhaps not her/his core competency. You only pay for the services you need, when you need them, without the overhead costs of a full-time COO employee.
- Accessing senior-level talent: You get to work with a person who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from working with different businesses across various industries. They can help avoid common pitfalls and leverage best practices, as well as bring fresh insights and solutions to the business.
- Increasing flexibility and agility: A part-time contractor can adapt to changing business needs and priorities. You can scale up or down their involvement depending on changing needs, goals and budget.
- Enhancing performance and boosting growth: A fractional COO can help improve the quality and consistency of the operations. They measure and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and track progress so they can help to identify and capitalize on new opportunities for growth.
How a fractional COO could transform a business
A fractional COO provides input on various topics, such as:
- Strategy and vision: They help define and communicate the strategic plan, mission, vision, values, and goals, and then align operations with them. They can help build the culture.
- The SWOT: Analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the business, and take advantage or manage them
- Identifying target markets, customer segments, value proposition, and unique selling proposition (USP), and moving the business in that direction
- Establishing brand identity, positioning, messaging, and marketing strategy
- Optimizing product development, services, product features, pricing, operations, distribution, and sales strategy
- Implementing new technologies and innovations that can enhance operations and products, and implementing systems and tools that automate, integrate, and simplify operations
- Hire, train, motivate, evaluate, and retain talent
- Managing risks, compliance, legal issues, contracts, and partnerships
- Expanding into new markets or channels or diversify revenue streams
- Preparing the business and owner(s) for a sale, exit or generational succession
A fractional COO can create benefit by reducing workload and allowing the CEO to focus on other priorities, supporting decision-making, expanding the network to access advantage for the business, or even grow the skills of management and team members. The person is more than just a consultant or a contractor; rather they are a strategic partner who can help take the business to the next level. If you are interested in hiring a fractional COO, contact us today to discuss your operational needs.