The chief operating officer has fallen out of favor in some circles but, by better understanding what a COO does, you can unlock the power of the position to help your business grow.
1) You know your product better than anyone — but that doesn’t mean you know how to run a business
If nobody knows more about pizza than you, you might open a pizza shop. Or maybe you’re an expert in immigration law, so you open a law office. Or maybe you’re LeBron James and you’re great at basketball. No matter whether your field of expertise is pizza, law, or tomahawk dunks, none of that knowledge means mean you know how to run a business.
Most of the inner-workings of running a business are boring and can cloud your unique vision for the future of your company. You should pair with someone who has lived and breathed small-business operations across a range of industries for years. It’s a powerful combination to have an outsourced COO at your side.
2) You can trust someone who isn’t gunning for your job
In some environments, the power dynamic between the CEO and COO can cause conflict. You don’t want to wonder if the person who’s supposed to be serving you really wants to sit in your chair. But by outsourcing your COO, you never have to worry about that. The outsourced COO only succeeds by helping you keep the throne and expand your kingdom.
3) Fresh eyes and new ideas
The largest and most successful companies in the world spend millions of dollars hiring consulting firms because even big companies with tons of internal expertise need help seeing the best way forward. That outside perspective can awaken you to new ideas. Plus, operations experts typically have worked with many companies across a range of industries, and have developed insight that would be impossible to achieve internally at one organization.
4) Operational and strategic expertise
The strategy dimension of the COO’s job lies in working with the CEO to draft an operational road map for how the business is going to grow from where it stands today, even if it’s nothing more than an idea. The COO helps you deliver your product to your first customer, helps grow a strong customer base, and helps realize the thriving enterprise you envision. After the strategy comes the execution. The COO helps push the plan into action, from devising workflow to delegating the multitude of tasks that need to get done to the one-time slog of building the company’s infrastructure to the repetitive tasks of executing the business model on a daily basis. How much your COO should focus on strategy versus execution depends on your needs.
5) It frees you to focus on the core vision
A COO’s role can be whatever you want it to be but it’s usually keeping “the business end” of the business running smoothly while assisting you refine and realize your vision. It’s critical that the COO is a seasoned professional who acts as your key advisor in business operations because your expertise is in the business itself, not in operations.
Never before have there been as many options to outsource the work of the COO, and it’s likely the thing your business needs most to take it to the next level.