COO Fit: The Right COO
What should you look for in a COO?
COO Services: Strategic Advisory
For those companies — typically startups and early-stage growth companies — that do not have a seasoned executive, they may choose to seek strategic advice and executive counsel from an interim COO until they get traction for their products and solutions.
Make or Break Moments
Many entrepreneurs may be reticent to add development, product and sales people so that costs don’t run opportunities. However, there also comes a time in a successful company’s lifecycle where the opportunity opens up and the team must flick the switch from conservative to aggressive.
This is the “make-or-break moment” and not many companies get it right. The decision has to be made and communicated to the entire company. A good COO strategic advisor will help to identify when resources need to be allocated to take advantage of the opportunity whether it’s by investing in people, marketing, sales or the next generation product. Being able to identify when that window of opportunity opens and taking advantage is the difference between a great company and a merely good one.
Delay hiring a COO
Startup companies are well suited to follow a familiar mantra: “Don’t invest in G&A costs until you prove you can:
- Build your product and
- Sell it.
In other words, use your scarce resources to prove the product concept and establish that you have a market.
As a result, more companies are delaying hiring staff and support functions and taking advantage of advisory, part-time or project-based professionals with deep experience and expertise.
In the case of TechCXO partners, our CEO and COO professionals have often worked for dozens of companies over their careers and have seen and done just about everything that a startup will require.
When do you need an interim COO
When does it make sense to consider a part-time or fractional COO?
High-Growth or High Stress
Companies that reach an inflection point in their growth usually do so for one of the following reasons:
- Increasing number of transactions, such as more customers, more employees, more vendors n increasing complexity in the business that requires more experienced leadership and better
- Planning to develop policies and procedures
- An inexperienced founder who may simply need a mentor
- The company has raised or intends to raise significant ($1 million or more) funds from outside investors
- A merger or acquisition of a line of business that requires reconciliation between multiple systems.
Other circumstances require specialized skills to address a specific problem. Some accounting and audit firms are increasingly unwilling to risk compromising their audit function by providing in-house consulting services and will instead refer the company to a project-based CEO for issues such as:
- Identify hiring needs
- Plan hiring processes, steps and communication challenges
- Intervene on difficult corporate culture and employee relations matters
- Plan market entry and product strategy