After doing some research, Jan discovered that
a) Although her company had some success, it wasn’t attractive enough for investors or even a partner to join. At least, not yet.
b) A full-time operations manager could cost her company anywhere from $80,000 to over $125,000. She couldn’t afford that right now.
c) If she doesn’t create a plan for growth, it won’t happen. Focusing just on the people in her network is limited and yield limited result
d) She could hire an outsourced or fractional COO to help with the company at less than a third of the cost
Looking further into how an outsourced COO could help her company, she learned the following:
The goal of Operations Management or an outsourced Chief Operations Management Team provides assistance for small businesses in six distinct areas:
Business Development – encompassing sales and marketing activities including Marketing strategy. A marketing strategy is based on understanding why people will purchase and why they would purchase the product or service from your company versus a similar or different product or service from another company. The components of a marketing strategy including the pricing, the product or service itself, why people would want to buy it and how it is delivered to the person or company. By taking a strategic approach to this, we can measure what is working versus what isn’t working and make appropriate changes to make meet company goals.
Sales strategy. A sales strategy is the method we use to get people or companies to purchase the product or service that is being sold. Like the marketing strategy, by having a sales strategy and the appropriate tracking tools, we can evaluate what is working versus what is not making and make appropriate changes.
Product and/or Service Development
This is management of a product or service lifecycle – from the time it is conceived, through development, enhancement to meet customer needs, customer service, monitoring the customer value through the purchase process, through its evolution into complimentary products or service and finally end of life, when the product is shelved to make way for new innovations. Product and service innovations are what keep customers coming back. Managing the product lifecycle well is one of the factors that separates ordinary companies from those that are extraordinary.
Finances are the lifeblood of the company. This includes bookkeeping, tax planning, investing, financing and growth planning. Many companies tend to operate hand-to-mouth without developing plans for growth. Without planning for growth, a company will not grow. By taking a strategic approach to defining and pursing growth goals, companies can realize the company vision.
Traditionally, companies simply hired people to do certain tasks within the company. These individuals may or may not have the ability and resources to do the job they are assigned to appropriately. Additionally, in recent generations, more emphasis has been placed on job satisfaction. As a result of the change, companies are becoming “skinnier,” or “leaner,” meaning they are saving money by hiring only the employees who are essential to the company’s core deliverables and establishing partnerships or outsourcing services to other companies. Sourcing and managing these resources, replacing these resources with qualified individuals or firms that fit within the financial structure ensures that a company is making the best use of its financial resources.
Determining where the company is going to go and how it will get there is one of the areas that a lot of businesses fall short in. While most business leaders have an idea of what growth in their company should look like, they have no idea of how to get the company there. Furthermore, they don’t know how, don’t want to or don’t see the point of making changes to daily operations that could make operations run more efficiently or effectively, typically allowing them to save money while increasing their ability to serve more clients.
Having great ideas is one thing. Making them happen is quite another. A good operations manager is fully capable of managing the projects that he or she recommends. Furthermore, that manager should be able to oversee and communicate issues of budget, timing and quality to ensure the company is achieving the goals it initially set. Finally, the project must be reviewed to make sure that the direction the company is going in still makes sense for the company. You see, the business landscape changes constantly. By monitoring the landscape, an operations manager can identify opportunities and avoid threats to the business, while leveraging strengths and managing risks that present themselves.
Jan felt that this was exactly what she and her company needed. This would give her life some of the margin that she needed to be able to enjoy living again, while pursuing and reaching the goals she would set for her company. This wasn’t “ideating” or talking theory; this was bringing an expert and support staff to partner in her company to bring it through the various phases of growth.