Why hire a fractional COO
As your business grows and takes on more complexity, you often realize that you need more operational help and expertise. However, hiring a full-time COO is a big commitment that may not make sense initially. In these situations, bringing on a fractional COO can be the perfect solution.
What is a fractional COO?
A fractional COO (often referred to a part time COO) is someone who serves as the COO for your company on a part-time basis. They take on key COO responsibilities and work a set number of hours per week or month. This allows your business to get the high-level operational leadership it needs, without the cost and commitment of a full-time resource.
When does it make sense to add a fractional COO?
There are several scenarios when bringing on a fractional COO can benefit a growing company:
Your startup is gaining traction and complexity.
Many startups are founded by those with strong technical expertise or deep industry experience. But as the business grows, additional skills like strategic planning, process improvement, and financial management become crucial. A fractional COO brings these skills to the table. They can oversee finance, HR, IT, facilities, and more to allow founders to focus on their core strengths.
You need an objective outside perspective.
Founders can often get stuck in the weeds of day-to-day operations. A fractional COO can take a step back and look at the big picture. Their outside perspective allows them to identify weaknesses and opportunities founders may have missed. Their insights can help set strategic priorities.
You need to professionalize systems and processes.
Early-stage companies often have very ad-hoc systems and processes. As headcount and revenue grow, this can start to limit the business. A fractional COO can institute robust systems for budgeting, performance management, onboarding, and more. They professionalize operations to support scale.
You are facing a period of rapid growth.
Scaling quickly without the right operational infrastructure in place is a recipe for disaster. A fractional COO helps establish scalable processes and adds management bandwidth so growth doesn't outpace capacity. They ensure additional staff and resources are added smoothly.
You are considering a new market or product launch.
Branching into a new segment requires operational changes to support taking on new customers and offerings. A fractional COO provides focused leadership to build out additional capabilities while minimizing risk. Their expertise helps make large strategic initiatives successful.
You are considering stepping back from daily operations.
Founders may wish to pivot into more strategic roles as the company evolves. A fractional COO can handle day-to-day leadership so founders can focus on high-level decision-making and planning for the future. The COO becomes the operational point person while founders pull back to set vision.
The key advantages of working with a fractional vs. full-time COO are cost efficiency, targeted expertise, and increased flexibility. The fractional model allows you to work with an experienced COO exclusively during the hours your business needs them most. Their time and talents are focused exactly where and when they can provide the most value as your company grows.
Learn more about hiring a part time COO here