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Unlocking Your Business's Potential: Working with and Thriving with a Fractional COO

So what the heck is a Fractional COO, anyway?

The term “Fractional COO” is one that you may have seen or heard before, but what does it actually mean? A Fractional COO is a business executive who is brought into a company on a part-time, contract, or otherwise interim basis to provide operational and strategic support to the CEO or business owner.

The role of a Fractional COO can be very impactful for a small business or startup that is looking to scale and grow. A Fractional COO can provide the expertise and support that is needed to take the company to the next level. If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner who is looking for operational support, then a Fractional COO may be the right solution for you.

And why would you want one?

If you're looking for a way to get an experienced business executive to help your company reach the next level, having a Fractional COO can be invaluable. A Fractional COO will act as a force multiplier and thought partner, providing you with the resources and expertise needed to get the most out of your operations.

A Fractional COO can help you to develop strategies that can increase the efficiency of your business operations, allowing you to focus on growing your business. The Fractional COO will also be able to provide a detailed analysis of the ROI of your various business operations, so you can make educated decisions about which strategies are working and which are not.

Overall, having a Fractional COO on board can make a huge difference for your business. An experienced business executive can provide the insight and guidance needed to keep moving in the right direction. With the help of a Fractional COO, your business can reach heights that you never thought possible.

OK, I'm sold. How do I find a good Fractional COO?

When it comes to finding a Fractional COO, the best place to start is by asking your network or doing a search on various COO sites, such as vChiefs, Toptal, GigX, and of course LinkedIn.

It is also important to do your research and find out more about the Fractional COO’s experience, qualifications, and skillset. Consider conducting interviews to ensure the Fractional COO you hire is the right fit for your company. They should have the skills and knowledge to help you achieve your business goals and objectives. Most Fractional COOs offer complimentary discovery calls, or consultations, which can offer you a deeper perspective as well.

When considering a Fractional COO, ensure they have a good understanding of the industry, your company values, and your mission. Consider the Fractional COO’s ability to bring ideas to the table and add value to your business operations.

Remember, the right Fractional COO can be a great asset to your business and ultimately lead to increased growth and improved ROI. For that reason, it’s important to take the time to find and hire the right person for the job.

Once I've found them, what should I expect from our relationship?

Once you find the right Fractional COO for your business, you'll want to ensure your working relationship is as smooth and productive as possible. Be sure to take the time to define job roles, goals, and objectives. You should communicate your expectations and the COO’s responsibilities. This can be done by creating a job description or by outlining the duties, tasks, and responsibilities in a contract or services agreement, along with a comprehensive statement of work, or "SOW".

From the beginning, be clear on performance expectations and set deadlines and regular meetings to monitor their progress and keep them informed of any changes in the business. Also, ensure the COO has access to the resources they need such as financial documents, reports, tooling access, logins, etc.

When working with a Fractional COO, it is also important to set up a system of communication standards. Clarify expectations to make sure everyone is on the same page. This is essential for the COO to get the information they need to make the best decisions for your business.

On an ongoing basis, provide feedback and recognition for their achievements and ensure the COO has access to the information, support, and resources they need to help your business meet its goals. By having an open dialogue and maintaining strong communication, you and your Fractional COO will be able to form a strong partnership and establish an effective working relationship.

How can I tell if my Fractional COO is really making a difference?

After you’ve established a good working relationship with your Fractional COO and they have access to all the resources they need, it’s time to see if they’re really making a difference in your business. To evaluate if your Fractional COO is making an impact, there are a few key metrics you should be monitoring:

  1. Cost – Measure the money you are spending on the COO's services and compare it to the benefit it’s providing for your business.

  2. Performance – Assess their performance and how the COO is helping you reach your business objectives.

  3. Time Savings – Track how much time you are saving by having a Fractional COO.

  4. Efficiency – Is your Fractional COO driving efficiency in your business operations? How has their presence improved workflow?

  5. ROI – Measure the return on your investment to ensure that the COO is worth their fee.

By tracking these metrics and comparing them to reference points, you will be able to gain a clearer understanding of just how much value your Fractional COO is bringing to your business. It’s important to keep in mind that the true value of a Fractional COO is the long-term strategic impact they have on the growth and scalability of your business. Once you can measure their effectiveness in those areas, you will be able to evaluate their real impact.

Wrapping up – the benefits of having a Fractional COO on your team

Having a Fractional COO on your team is invaluable for small and medium businesses that want to take their operations to the next level. They act as a force multiplier, helping you manage operations more efficiently and freeing up your time as an entrepreneur.

Their value goes beyond the metrics discussed earlier. A Fractional COO can anticipate risks and provide guidance on long-term growth by aligning your strategy with the company’s goals. They act as a thought partner in your organization, helping to define and communicate the company’s vision.

A Fractional COO should be seen as an investment, not an expense. Having a Fractional COO on your team will help bring structure and processes to your operations, provide a long-term perspective to your strategic decision-making, and provide credibility with investors or other stakeholders. There are few investments that can bring this kind of return and flexibility.

By having a Fractional COO on your team, you’ll be able to benefit from the experience and expertise of a senior executive, without having to hire a full-time COO, making it the ideal choice for many businesses.

April Eldridge, Owner/Founder of April Eldridge Consulting LLC, is a Fractional COO & Chief of Staff with nearly 20 years of experience in operational management and executive leadership. Working in corporate America for most of her career, April ventured into the entrepreneurship world and focuses her efforts on providing the absolute best support possible to her clients. Agility, resilience, determination, and dependability are all attributes that April is well known for, and she highly values her relationships with those she supports.

If you or someone you know is looking for a Fractional COO, or perhaps a Chief of Staff, or both, reach out to April for a free discovery call today. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

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