The Fractional COO Process: How It Looks & What To Expect

One of the best-kept secrets in the business world, utilizing the Fractional COO process has steadily become more popular in recent years. The advantages of as-needed executive-level experience, at a fraction of the cost of a typical chief operating officer, have many CEOs — and even small business owners — leveraging this powerful resource. Why, you ask? To streamline and optimize their strategic planning and business operations without the commitment of a hefty salary.

What is a Fractional COO?

A Fractional COO is a part-time chief operating officer that a growing company outsources for a fresh perspective and to help fix or finish broken and incomplete initiatives, polish strategic planning, and streamline systems and cash flow. They analyze daily operations, the people, and contrast them with a business owner’s vision to ensure initiatives are actually completed in the most efficient way possible.

So, what does the Fractional COO process look like?

  1. Discover

    Day 0

    Discuss mutual success and fit
  2. Quick Wins

    Days 1 – 30

    Bring a fresh perspective and get some traction
  3. Optimize

    Days 30 – 90

    Get hands-on and drive change
  4. Operate


    Strong and steady cadence with visibility into performance
  5. Transition

    As needed

    Team-builders help your team own their piece of the business

The KPI Proven Process is a system that walks you and your team through 5 essential steps that move you from stressed and time-deficient to free, efficient, and productive. But, generally speaking, there are 3 main aspects to any fractional chief operating officer’s process that will help your growing business:

1. Discovery & Onboarding

First and foremost, any Fractional COO worth their salt will immediately spend time getting to know the visionary behind a growing business, the current systems in place, and the people that are currently responsible for achieving set goals.

Whether you hire a Fractional COO part-time or long-term, you can expect them to take a long — hard — look at your goals, determine if they’re S.M.A.R.T., if they’re the right goals for where your business is, and if they align with the destination you intend to reach.

They’ll also evaluate how you measure the success of these goals, your chosen metrics, and if you have the right people in the right seats, ensuring these goals are met as efficiently as possible.

2. Execution & Quick Wins

After quickly getting up to speed, some quick wins and getting to know the business, the people, and diagnosing where the issues lay — generally around a month — your part-time COO will begin helping you implement process improvements across the board.

Though it can be different based on your unique needs, this stage is all about taking the information, tools, and strategic planning and putting it in the hands of your team. It’s about getting everyone on the same page and ensuring leadership is accountable for the execution of the new strategies in place.

Weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings are a staple in this stage — they keep leadership connected and focused on the initiatives that matter while generating even greater information and data for the next stage.

3. Optimization 

As your Fractional COO continues with project management, they will begin to forge the information gained from the initial integration of process improvements into more refined strategies to further optimize daily operations.

Let’s break that down a bit.

Basically, a fractional COO will repeat their process to keep strengthening your business operations. They continually build on new information to help you fix what’s not working and finish what you’ve started so your growing company can transition to a stable business model.

They use the information they gain to get your business to where it can safely scale and handle new and greater initiatives.

What should I expect from the typical Fractional COO process?

The very first thing a Fractional COO is going to do is sit down with you and discuss your vision and goals for the business. They want to complement your strengths and shore up your weaknesses — so don’t worry, they won’t run off and start changing processes without first running those suggestions by you.

As mentioned above, you can also expect the process to involve a significant amount of learning the people and systems in place, frequent meetings, and constant process improvements.

More than this, you can expect the Fractional COO process to:

  • Execute the vision of the founder/CEO.
  • Assess the risks and various gaps in operational performance to help course correct.
  • Completely revamp poorly performing systems and processes for greater efficiency and growth — be it sales, customer service, or even your technology stack.
  • Refine your daily operations to improve traction and reduce company-wide gridlock.
  • Strategic planning and custom benchmarks for sustainable growth and safe scaling.
  • Shape technological advances to help your company scale.
  • Fix what’s not working and finish what you started.

Is the Fractional COO process right for my business?

Whether you have a small business or your company is medium-sized — if you’re looking to scale or simply refine your processes and optimize workflows — hiring a fractional chief operating officer will position your growing business for more efficient, stable, growth at a fraction of the cost of a traditional full-time hire.

A Fractional COO is especially effective for business owners who wear too many hats and feel they can’t afford a full-time executive-level seat on their team or feel the need to try-before-you-buy before committing to a full-time hire.

Rather than a salaried exec, you get the flexibility of remote contracts. Hiring a part-time fractional chief operating officer allows you to forgo the executive benefits, bonuses, and perks while leveraging all the same level of experience and expertise of a full-time COO.

If you want to set your business up for success by fixing issues that stall progress while integrating effective strategies to finally crush your goals and finish the initiatives that matter most to your business, then connect with Key Performance Integrators today.

More articles:

Return to blog