What is a Fractional COO & How Does It Help Small Businesses?

One of the greatest and most cost-effective assets to a business owner’s team, the fractional chief operating officer champions positive change in your growing company. They define, manage, and lead necessary changes that will shove the needle toward stable growth as they integrate your long-term vision, tightening daily operations and bringing your company together to effectively and efficiently deliver.

When you hire a fractional chief operations officer, you gain a partner, coach, and mentor that you can tap into on a part-time basis, full-time, or anywhere in between at a fraction of the cost traditional operations leadership demands.

So, what is a Fractional COO?

A fractional COO is a chief operations officer (COO) that a business owner can hire on an as-needed basis — be it a few hours a week or every day for several weeks out of each quarter. They ensure solid organizational structure and systems are in place to consistently win financial and strategic objectives with better productivity, leadership skills efficiency, and profitability.

Part-time chief operating officers are the bridge and filter between a chief executive officer (CEO) and leadership, helping to align your vision and functions to sustainably scale.

Let’s take a look at what that means for you and your growing company:

3 ways a Fractional COO helps small business

As a business owner, it is more than easy to feel stretched thin and overwhelmed by all the tasks and business operations at hand. As much as you love your work, when your company experiences welcomed and rapid growth, the grind of day-to-day operations can feel more like a nightmare — a flood of constant troubleshooting and project management.

These distractions steal your time and keep you from the more visionary work you rightfully should be focused on.

A fractional COO is a welcome breath to a business owner who feels pulled in too many directions. They shoulder the minutiae of day-to-day project management and allow the CEO or owner to spend their energy on the creative work of choosing the trajectory of their growing company rather than constantly shifting focus away from how to achieve their target future state.

What do COO’s do?

1. They optimize people & processes

A fractional chief operating officer will take your vision and compare your goals and initiatives against the effectiveness of your current processes and the people executing them.

After spending some time with you and understanding your vision and intentions, they will ensure you have the right people in the correct seats, get them on the same page, and ensure they are executing your initiatives as smoothly as possible.

Fractional COOs fix the snags and hang-ups that slow your progress and streamline your processes to achieve optimal cash flow.

2. They define & refine strategic planning

Taking everything they learn from intimately understanding your goals, your business, and the people in it, a fractional COO rallies your team under your vision, bringing the full breadth of their expertise to bear, defining a clear direction for your team.

What does that look like?

Whether you’re looking to maximize cash flow or are gearing up to tackle a new market, a fractional chief operating officer will hold leaders accountable for their part in the initiative. They’ll keep track of important metrics, and revisit the numbers to continue optimizing operations to keep your business on target for accelerated success.

3. They Facilitate & Integrate Your Vision

Have you noticed a theme yet? Fractional COOs are all about understanding your vision and ensuring it is properly integrated into your business. Everything they do, everything they touch, is in response to your goals and desired future state.

A fractional COO will even help you define your vision and ensure you have SMART goals — simple, measurable, realistic, and time-bound — they will sit with you and work out a plan around targets appropriate for where your growing company is in its journey and help you define measurable success.

After that?

They hit the trenches and put it all into action.

Is a Fractional COO worth it for a small business?

A growing company of any size — whether you’re a business owner with a handful of employees or a large enterprise boasting hundreds — if you’re feeling:

  • Stretched thin
  • Pulled in multiple directions
  • You or your team lack deep operational knowledge
  • You need help executing the vision of your company
  • You keep hitting snags in delivery
  • You’re ready to scale but you can’t do so seamlessly
  • Or, you simply can’t afford a traditional full time COO hire with a hefty salary, bonus, equity, benefits, and other perks

Then it may very well be worth your time and investment to consider bringing on a fractional chief operating officer.

Focus on the work that truly matters and let an experienced fractional COO shoulder the minutiae of daily operations. With KPI, you’ll get a fixer and a finisher dedicated to helping you achieve a more desirable future state through years of operational excellence.

Connect with Key Performance Integrators to learn more about how we can uniquely help your growing business achieve ​​superior success at scale.

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