You’ve been in business for a while and you make a consistent income. Lets celebrate your success, because according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, about 20% of small businesses fail in the first year. Now that you’re officially growing an established business, you know you could be running your business in a more streamlined way.
Clues that you could run your business more effectively are:
No two clients really get the same initial experience with you (this is different from saying you don’t provide a good experience, just not the same experience).
The backend systems in your business either do not exist or your business has grown leaps and bounds since you’ve taken a look at your systems–and you likely need to update your processes and procedures.
You’ve hired (and fired) for the same position more times than you care to remember.
These are signs that it’s time to shine a light on your business operations and processes and a director of operations can help.
What exactly is a Director of Operations?
The Director of Operations (also referred to as Director of Ops or DOO) is responsible for developing and overseeing an organization’s daily business operations and assuring that the team carries out the processes effectively.
The DOO can partner with the CEO to bring the vision of the company to life. The DOO, who is not bound by location, is directly contributing to the company’s big picture – vision and mission – by ensuring that day to day activities run as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
Role and Responsibilities of the Director of Operations
Directors of Ops are equipped with extensive leadership and project management skills. DOOs create solutions to increase productivity and profitability within an organization, develop operational strategies, and work closely with the leadership team to meet all company objectives.
The DOO may also be responsible for finances and human resources (if these departments have not been developed in the business already). In companies where HR is the responsibility of the DOO, the DOO develops and implements guidelines for employee evaluations, recruitment and promotion.
How can a DOO work in an existing organization?
Typically, a DOO is embedded within the Operations team of an organization reporting up to the Chief Operations Officer (COO). In the absence of a COO, DOOs usually step in to partner with businesses by first completing a strategic mapping of the business. The DOO may also have operations coordinators or operational assistants as part of their team.
A DOO can be a full-time hire or even a fractional hire–coming into the organization for a particular project or to provide strategic input on a weekly basis. At a fractional level, the DOO works in businesses for a few hours a week typically around 8-15 hrs per week. A fractional DOO can be a perfect solution to projects that have been on your desk or to-do list for months or even years.
Companies can also hire a remote DOO. Businesses were slowly transitioning into having an online presence but COVID-19 catapulted most businesses into the online space nearly overnight. Those who continued generating revenue created or amplified their digital footprint.
Larger more established businesses learned that workers could indeed work successfully from anywhere. After all, many SaaS companies, course creators, media companies, digital agencies (the list goes on) have been operating successfully in the online space for years. Director of operations professionals are changing the trajectory of businesses and will continue to do so as businesses evolve.
Who needs a DOO in their organization?
Companies in the upper 6 figures, 7 figures and beyond category need to have a DOO on their executive team. This ensures a long-term forward-thinking view on behalf of the founders and other executives to maintain optimal efficiency as the company continues to grow and scale.
In such cases having a full time DOO embedded with the Operational vertical is a sound business decision. DOOs come in as a partner and help make the business’ vision become a reality.
Since a DOO is a strategic partner, they are best utilized when there is a team structure or the capacity to hire a team right away.
In some cases, smaller companies that are experiencing unprecedented growth at a very fast pace or even companies that are poised for a growth spurt are ideal candidates for a dedicated DOO role. These companies might be an ideal candidate for a fractional DOO on staff or on a project specific/need to basis.
A dedicated DOO role can step in and help the small business owner or entrepreneur:
Complete a strategic business mapping for their business. This will be the anchor for any action taking in the business.
Review the current team structure. Maintenance of team structure, productivity and culture is ongoing and should be evaluated on a continuous basis. Through continuous monitoring, issues that may be affecting the team’s ability to carry out the company’s vision can be identified. Effective teams require leadership that allows the team member to maintain high performance at baseline but also be allowed to innovate without punitive repercussions.
Build out an HR department with capable team players. Onboarding team members effectively will be an indicator of whether or not the team member will survive under your leadership.
Provide the direct leadership and strategy to update existing business processes and operations to make sure they are aligned with the company’s vision and strategic business mapping. This will make sure the company is ready for growth and scaling.
Delegate effectively. Delegation is also an important but often underutilized component in a growing and scaling business.