A Chief Operating Officer: Do Startups Need One?

July 12, 2022

Most early-stage companies or small businesses don’t think they have room for a Chief Operating Officer (COO) or can’t afford one. Sometimes, the CEO feels the need to “be close to the business” in all aspects of the operation. That approach may have made sense in the earliest stages of the business, but eventually, the CEO needs to let go of the day-to-day.

A COO can add tremendous value to a company, but only if he or she is dispatched in the right way. Too often, we see CEOs who try to use their COO as an extra set of hands instead of a strategic partner. The best COOs are those who can work with the CEO to develop and execute a strategy and then help to put that strategy into action.

The right moment to hire a COO is before you need one. That may sound strange, but it’s true. You should hire a COO when you have the resources to do so and can take the time to find the right person for the job. By the time you feel like you need a COO, it’s often too late.

How will you know if you need a COO? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you fighting to keep up with the day-to-day operations of your business?
  • Are you the bottleneck to projects or initiatives getting swiftly executed?
  • Do you feel like you’re not able to focus on the big picture because you’re too bogged down in the details?
  • Are you having trouble scaling your business?
  • Do you feel like you need help developing and executing a clear company strategy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to start considering hiring a COO.

If you’re thinking about hiring a COO, or if you already have one and aren’t sure how to use them efficiently, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure the COO clearly understands your company’s vision and strategy.
  • Make sure the COO can execute that strategy.
  • Give the COO the authority to make decisions and implement changes.
  • Make sure the COO can work well with your team.
  • Make sure the COO understands your company culture and values.
  • Make sure the COO can manage the company’s day-to-day operations.

If you can find a COO who meets all these criteria, you’ll be well on your way to taking your company to the next level.
Do you think a Chief Operating Officer is suitable for your company? If you have been considering or want to learn more reach out and speak with us.

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