In 2016 I wrote my first book, Tandem Leadership – How Your #2 Can Make You #1.
The story is about a young entrepreneur who realizes he has more opportunity (and challenges) in his business than he can handle.
During that process, Marcus, the entrepreneur, asks Bill, his mentor, “Do you think I need a COO?” while secretly thinking he can’t afford one. Marcus does in fact find the resources to hire his second-in-command and his problems recede as his business booms.
Because that’s what you can do when you’re writing a business fable – everything turns out great!
But today, I might have written a different happy ending for Marcus and his company.
Over the past five years, shared and fractional services have exploded in all areas of our life.
- Bookkeeping and accounting services are available to every business at every level,
- Cloud services have replaced on site data storage and purchased hardware and software,
- Ride share has replaced public transportation,
- Auto ownership, coworking and shared office spaces are in the smallest communities,
- Summer vacations no longer require year-round, second home ownership at the beach or the lake.
We can have a first-class experience at less than a full-time price or commitment.
While the benefits can be many, the one that I see most often is that a company can purchase the deep domain expertise now that they need to be successful in the future.
Receiving sage counsel early can help avoid costly mistakes later. Never underestimate the power of someone who understands where you want to go and knows exactly how to help you get there.
Fractional services work best when the quality of the expertise is more important than the quantity of production. While it varies, there are very few companies under $10M that need or can afford a full-time CFO, IT staff or executive talent recruiter. That’s why fractional accounting, IT and HR services have seen explosive demand.
There are times, of course, when fractional expertise is not the right fit. Most often, it is when the need for that position is at 50% or greater. At that point, the need for increased availability can become more important than the expertise itself.
My clients not only receive strategy and operations execution expertise, but also experience what it will be like when they do have a full-time COO on their team. Basically, it can help a CEO (and their team) start preparing for additional leaders as the company grows.
There is no “magic” time to add a COO to your team but many of my clients always say that they wished they had started sooner. Once you start seeing the tangible benefits of increased profitability, more accountability, and a better understanding on how strategy + execution will lead to results – the return on investment is easy to calculate.
Full-time results from a part-time resource.
If you’d like to learn more about how a Fractional COO might be able to assist you with your business goals, sign up for a free Strategy Session. I guarantee you will leave that session with at least one new solution for your business.