Important Recommendation, Key Steps & Classes

Hire a COO: Essential Advice, Key Steps, and Lessons from Successful Founders

Feeling like a bottleneck these days?

Regardless of your greatest intentions to take a step again to concentrate on the large image— the pressures of day by day operations has a means of creeping again into your listing of to-dos. Your greatest vendor is out of inventory, the subsequent cargo is held up in transit, and also you lay awake at night time stressing over subsequent month’s payroll. 

How will you ever develop for those who’re slowed down on this on a regular basis stress? Rent a Chief Working Officer (COO).

A COO with monitor file oversees all enterprise operations, serving to unlock your time to concentrate on the large image and long-term technique. However attending to this dream state—hiring a COO—is a big funding. Discovering the perfect candidate can be not a simple path. The choice might depend upon the precise abilities, a confirmed monitor file, cultural match, and the distinctive circumstances of what you are promoting. 

This information goals to equip you with the knowledge to navigate the hiring course of for a COO efficiently. We’ll cowl 4 fundamental areas:

  • Why rent a COO?
  • When to rent a COO
  • Learn how to rent a COO
  • Onboarding your COO

🙋‍♀️ Writer word: I’ve discovered from numerous threads within the ECF discussion board that there’s not one prescriptive path to hiring a COO. Some companies have been in search of a COO that’s the “proper match” for years. Others have determined to separate the position throughout a number of senior-level positions.

And a few have efficiently employed a COO and couldn’t think about their lives with out them. As you learn this information, hold an open thoughts on what’s best for you and what you are promoting as there are a lot of prospects and eventualities—at any given stage.

Why Rent a COO? Trace: To dump operational burden

The reply may be so simple as this: Ultimately, you understand you may have your arms in too many pies. 🫠

“I need to be left alone to develop gross sales and develop new merchandise.”

For others, it may be self-awareness discovery—realizing you want somebody to enhance your personal set of strengths and weaknesses to develop.

“There are incredible folks on the market, and [a COO] will free you to work in your best playground.”

Workshopping your private “WHY” at first of your hiring course of might make it simpler that will help you outline what precisely you want a COO to assist with.

On that word…

The Function of a COO (And the way they might help you)

By “definition”, a COO is a high-level govt who oversees the day-to-day operations of an organization—sometimes reporting on to the CEO/Founder. The COO is accountable for implementing the corporate’s technique and guaranteeing every little thing runs effectively and successfully. 

The job description of a Chief Working Officer (COO)

Whereas it will probably range relying on the corporate, listed here are some frequent duties of a COO:

  • Managing the corporate’s operations, together with manufacturing, logistics, and provide chain administration
  • Growing and implementing insurance policies and procedures to enhance effectivity and productiveness (i.e Entrepreneurial Working System (EOS) implementation)
  • Working with different executives to develop and implement the corporate’s technique
  • Managing the corporate’s price range and monetary efficiency
  • Guaranteeing compliance with authorized and regulatory necessities

An ECF member makes distinction between the position of a COO and an Operations Supervisor.

“For me, I see COO as extra of a real integrator. Any mission, concept, idea, and so forth that I’ve—they’ll implement. Operations Supervisor can do some biz dev work, however their fundamental job is to deal with all issues associated to manufacturing and achievement.”

A selected callout: Don’t confuse the COO position with duties that ought to fall with the Chief Advertising Officer (CMO)—gross sales and advertising and marketing.

One other ECF Member shared his expertise of working with glorious COOs who have been true integrators and had an intensive understanding of provide chain and warehouse operations.

“These COOs have been systems-oriented and genuinely interested by each course of and particular person inside their purview. They have been concerned within the particulars alongside junior staff however trusted them to do their greatest work. They may handle the CEO’s desires, the CMO’s lack of accountability, and the CFO’s irrational backside line ambitions with a humble servant chief high quality.”

Get yourself a copy of Rocket Fuel if you haven’t already. This book came highly recommended multiple times in the forum for helping you (the “Visionary”) navigate hiring a COO (the “Integrator”). And once you make a hire, get them to read it too.
📚 Get your self a replica of Rocket Gas for those who haven’t already. This e book got here extremely beneficial a number of instances within the discussion board for serving to you (the “Visionary”) navigate hiring a COO (the “Integrator”). And when you make a rent, get them to learn it too.

Advantages of hiring a COO

The position of a COO is to assist what you are promoting obtain:

  • 📈 Improved effectivity and productiveness: A COO might help determine areas the place the corporate can enhance its operations and implement adjustments to make it extra environment friendly and productive.
  • 💸 Elevated profitability: A COO might help improve the corporate’s profitability by bettering effectivity and productiveness.
  • 🤓 Improved strategic planning: A COO can work with different executives to develop and implement the corporate’s technique, guaranteeing that the corporate is transferring in the precise route.
  • ⚖️ Higher threat administration: A COO might help guarantee compliance with authorized and regulatory necessities, decreasing the corporate’s threat of authorized or monetary issues.
  • 💬 Improved communication: A COO might help enhance communication between completely different departments and ranges of the corporate, guaranteeing that everybody works harmoniously.

Let’s not neglect the emotional advantages of constructing the precise rent too.

“Having a high-level sounding board who I can speak to about points. She’s very calm personality-wise, and I’m a bit extra emotional, so it balances out properly.”

When to Rent a COO

As a enterprise grows, the duties of the CEO can grow to be overwhelming. Hiring a COO can share the workload and herald new concepts and views.

Indicators You Want a COO

The choice to rent a Chief Working Officer (COO) is extra prone to be based mostly on the wants and targets of what you are promoting fairly than a prescriptive income or crew measurement.

Listed here are some frequent eventualities once you may start thinking about hiring a COO:

  • 😰 Overwhelmed with day-to-day operations and don’t have time to concentrate on long-term technique.
  • 🤯 Experiencing speedy progress, and your organization wants somebody to handle the growth.
  • 😬 Lack expertise in a sure space, similar to finance or operations, and want somebody with experience in that space.
  • 😮‍💨 Going through challenges, similar to declining earnings or elevated competitors, and also you want somebody to assist flip issues round.

💡 Put it this manner: If each minute not spent doing what you’re greatest at appears like a chance value, it’s time to contemplate hiring a COO.

Timing for Hiring a COO

So, when is the precise time to rent a COO? It will probably range. Some companies might carry on a COO early of their progress section, whereas others might wait till they’re extra established. 

Listed here are some elements to contemplate 🤔:

Organizational Construction

If you’re smaller and rising shortly, getting an organizational construction in place is necessary to outline the roles and duties of every particular person within the firm. With no clear construction, there may be confusion, duplication of efforts, and a scarcity of accountability. 

Ask your self: Are you able to promote somebody internally to a supervisor place to supervise extra issues and rent somebody to exchange them? 

❇️ One ECF member suggests a method for managing progress in an organization with out instantly leaping to rent a COO.

“Rising quick presents tons of challenges! I’d say to seek out an space the place you’ll be able to promote one particular person to handle a couple of others. Perhaps somebody to handle the VAs, for instance. As you develop, discover a second space needing administration, promote or rent there, and repeat…

Leaping to rent a COO can be a mistake—one I’ve made. You received’t be capable to remedy all of your stress and challenges with one huge rent, however you are able to do it and handle a a lot bigger crew by hiring good folks in administration roles particular to 1 a part of the corporate.”

CEO’s Workload 

The workload of a CEO generally is a essential consider figuring out when to rent a COO. As an organization grows and turns into extra complicated, the CEO’s duties can grow to be overwhelming, resulting in stress, burnout, and decreased productiveness. 

This was, sadly, the case for this ECF member.

“Lately, I skilled a large burnout from my enterprise, resulting in many panic assaults. I used to be overwhelmed by the tedious operational duty of my firm.”

In case your operational workload constantly prevents you from focusing in your core strengths, it might be time to contemplate bringing on a COO.

As this ECF member places it, it additionally stops you from being the bottleneck.

“I discover myself managing the day by day operations and full-time managing the crew on a regular basis…and I’ve no time to concentrate on technique/advertising and marketing methods and even elevating funds. Due to this fact, I believe it’s time I cease being a bottleneck… and rent a COO.”

Are You Truly Prepared? 

Bringing on a COO once you’re not prepared is like attempting to construct a home on a weak basis. It could look fantastic at first, however finally, the dearth of preparation and construction will trigger the entire thing to break down.

Ask your self: Do you may have the mandatory sources and construction in place to assist a COO, similar to a transparent organizational chart, established processes, and a stable monetary footing? 

❇️ This ECF member says hiring a COO shouldn’t be a method to keep away from making tough selections or to delegate duties you “simply don’t need to cope with” both.

“Most founders haven’t made the onerous decisions they should make, and so they suppose this bag of crap they need to give to their new integrator. They stated of their head, “I need to do all of the enjoyable stuff and let me rent somebody to cope with all of this crap”. They’re in search of a method to shortcut private progress, and that doesn’t work.”

❇️ One other ECF member shares how his private expertise helped him be taught that hiring a COO is just not essential for each stage of progress.

In his case, he initially thought he was the issue and wanted somebody to tackle the duty of operating the enterprise.

He later realized that folks weren’t working within the firm as a result of they believed within the firm; they believed in him and his personal beliefs (one thing he didn’t uncover till a lot later). 

“I spent the subsequent 4 years engaged on my faults—holding myself accountable for not being a bottleneck or the distraction. Both fixing or accepting my weaknesses. We grew from 16 folks to round 38 once we promoted somebody from throughout the enterprise to President/Integrator. It was the precise particular person on the proper time. And was wanted at that time. It undoubtedly wasn’t wanted at 16 folks. I wasn’t actually prepared for it both.”

Do You Have the Funds to Pay a COO’s Wage? 

Information from Comparably says the median wage vary for a COO is between $180,000 to $480,000.

Recommendation from different ECF members mirrors the identical 6-figure sentiment. 

“If I used to be a $25M enterprise, and paid $500k a 12 months, I might get that expertise, however I used to be paying round $100k USD (after tax), which wasn’t sufficient.”

However there are different methods you’ll be able to give it some thought, too—from a COO’s perspective.

“My present position is executing the enterprise’s day-to-day, and my compensation is a income share + revenue payout.” 

💡 You may additionally contemplate a fractional or consultative COO position to minimize the fast monetary influence.

“One factor I’ve achieved not too long ago as a result of I wanted the steerage is to rent a fractional COO/CFO who helps lead the restructure and supplies that steerage however solely works a couple of days every week, so her value influence is affordable. I believe fractional, freelance and ‘company’ is the best way to get out of the 7 determine rut I name it…”

👉 One factor to recollect for those who rent a fractional COO is to not overestimate capability.

“My fractional COO rent walked in with a mission on fireplace, and I had hoped that she’d be capable to handle a number of issues. Given she’s solely part-time, it restricts this so much, so she’s solely beginning to get to issues. Correcting with a 30-60-90 day plan that’s extra sensible.” 

❇️ One ECF member recommends SCORE as a place to begin for these searching for enterprise recommendation. He personally had a SCORE advisor for a few years who had a background in operations and had run a number of firms, and this advisor had been extraordinarily useful to his enterprise. At the moment, he’s exploring the choice of searching for session assist.

“Simply as an FYI, some nice folks do consultative COO roles and will add great worth with out breaking the financial institution.

I’ve a buddy who’s a CPA and does this for a lot of companies in Portland. I’m having espresso with him subsequent week to see if he might give me a couple of hours a month on this position. He usually has concepts and insights which aren’t apparent to me.”

❇️ Or you may begin with an govt assistant, like this CEO.

“I’m attempting to alleviate a few of this “operation bulllshit” by hiring an Government Assistant. Going by remaining interviews now, they’ll deal with all kinds of duties that I’m both attempting to do myself or forcing folks in different roles to do after they shouldn’t be.”

Hopefully, this helps to unlock my schedule to concentrate on revenue-generating exercise—then I’ll be on the time to re-evaluate the “huge” rent…”

Key takeaway: With out the price range to rent a COO, you continue to have choices to associate with somebody of comparable nature with out breaking the financial institution. You might want to put down some stepping stones earlier than you spend money on the “huge” rent.

Learn how to Rent a COO

Defining the Function

A COO is often second in command to the CEO and should act because the CEO’s proxy of their absence. Each roles have completely different areas of focus and experience, but when there’s ambiguity of their duties, this may result in some points if not correctly outlined.

An ECF member shares his private expertise of struggling to let go of management as a founder when bringing in an Integrator/COO. 

  • He suggests the CEO learn the e book Rocketfuel (the e book linked earlier) and take exams to assist outline their roles. 
  • He additionally emphasizes the significance of getting metrics and experiences that the CEO cares about to make sure the corporate is on target, which might help the CEO belief the Integrator/COO extra. 
  • He additionally recommends a weekly management assembly between the CEO and Integrator to assessment the metrics and handle any issues. 
  • And lastly, he advises the CEO to concentrate on “WHO not WHAT” at this stage of the corporate, which means they need to be delegating duties to the Integrator/COO and trusting their experience, fairly than moving into the weeds themselves.

A standard query that got here up within the discussion board is whether or not a COO ought to have eCommerce expertise. 

This CEO employed one for his enterprise and weighed in. 

“In my expertise, having [a COO] already aware of EOS was unimportant. EOS is basically a set of tried and true Operations practices that any good Ops particular person ought to know (not essentially beneath the EOS model title) and/or be capable to decide it up shortly.”

He additionally suggests looking for a “Half-Time Operations Supervisor/Director” or a “Fractional COO” as an alternative of an “Integrator with EOS expertise” to seek out extra potential candidates.

Qualities to Search for in COO Candidates

Based mostly on actual hiring experiences in lots of industries, there are three key qualities that it’s best to search for in your COO candidates to make sure they’ve what it takes to excel on this position.

A Bias In direction of Motion

One ECF member employed a COO after an 18-month search course of, however she was let go a 12 months later as a result of she was lacking two issues: the lack to guage and problem overly-optimistic visionary concepts objectively. Second, she lacked the initiative and drive to deal with inefficiencies throughout the enterprise (however was nice at gathering knowledge).

“If our enterprise was the Titanic, as an alternative of grabbing a bucket and furiously bailing out water, she was on the deck calculating the speed at which it sank.”

Regardless of being an awesome one who improved morale and was good at recruiting and hiring, she was not suited to a small startup that wanted bias in the direction of motion.

Expertise Main Groups & Folks

One other ECF member suggests you’ll see an awesome payoff if yow will discover somebody at this degree who each respects you and enhances your capabilities (or the management crew). 

Right here’s what’s labored properly to date in hiring a fractional COO:

  • The COO’s business expertise in particularly eCommerce—ops, finance, manufacturing and provide chain
  • Complementary persona traits— a work-to-get-it-done sort
  • Expertise with organizational programs like EOS (Entrepreneurial Working System) 
  • Expertise main groups and other people (this one is crucial, in accordance with her)

“It’s completely important {that a} COO has expertise main folks since they’ve all the efficiency conversations, hiring, firing and so forth.”

A Pure at Empowering Others

This ECF member says to be cautious of management freaks as they will destroy morale inside a crew. A COO ought to be capable to delegate successfully and belief their crew to get the job achieved.

“Select a COO properly with glorious management abilities as they’ll bear the brunt of dysfunctional groups casting about for blame when issues go badly.”

It’s as much as the COO to set clear expectations, present assist the place wanted, and sit again and let their crew work autonomously with out micromanaging. By empowering their crew, a COO can foster a tradition of belief, collaboration, and accountability, that are important for long-term success.

Rent a COO Ways: Ideas and Methods to Discover Your Ultimate Second-in-Command

Upon getting outlined the position and recognized the qualities you search in a COO, the subsequent step is to begin the interviewing and hiring course of. However the place do you even start hiring such a heavy hitter?

There are two fundamental approaches: searching for exterior assist or trying internally throughout the firm.

Exterior Assist

Some members suggest utilizing consultants, recruitment companies, or hiring an govt search agency to assist in the search course of. One thing like VisionSpark, which gives govt search and management consulting providers.

“I used VisionSpark out of Ohio. They communicate EOS and concentrate on serving to Visionaries discover integrators. Would undoubtedly use them once more if my integrator received hit by a bus tomorrow.”

Others have employed consultants to assist them decide their wants and recruit/interview folks.One ECF member talks about this actual expertise. He was matched with a retired C-level particular person by SCORE—who has been useful resource and sounding board for outlining COO expertise necessities. 

“A COO having an eCommerce background is sweet to have, however not important.”

He stated the advisor was assured that somebody with a level in industrial engineering would be capable to implement a lot of the adjustments we have to make round gear placement, workflow configuration, KPI monitoring and training/administration of operations workers, ERP/MRP choice & implementation, and different high-level stuff that we’d like however would battle to do ourselves.

Wanting Internally

One other ECF member discovered his COO from an worker who he skilled and promoted.

However how do you determine the folks up for the problem? Conducting exams or assessments, similar to persona exams or abilities assessments, might help.

“For us, I had a number of of our high individuals who I believed ‘might’ match that position take the check (together with my spouse). One other workers member higher match these roles, so we moved her into that place.” 

One other ECF member broke out bigger roles into a number of positions and paid much less total however received extra. This allowed her to upskill staff to tackle extra duties over time.

And this ECF member shared an incredible success story on how an Amazon contractor turned his COO. The brand new COO performed a big position in boosting the corporate’s income, driving progress to the tune of 2-3x, all due to a well-structured compensation plan that tied his private success to the corporate’s total earnings.

There’s additionally a component of ‘typically, you simply get fortunate’ with COO—like this ECF member.

“She began part-time doing pattern meeting, moved to advertising and marketing, and is now my integrator. Someway she will get me, understands what I need, and may interpret my half-speak into precise actions. It feels so good to know there’s somebody I can belief to instruct staff and will get issues achieved with out over-explanation. I received fortunate. I’m undecided I ever would have been capable of know that she’d have this secret expertise for understanding me by an interview course of to be trustworthy.” 

One other ECF member acknowledges that selling from inside has been extra profitable for them than importing senior-level expertise immediately. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that he may have to rent externally as the corporate scales. 

As you scale, it’s unattainable to seek out all of the expertise you want internally, and in addition, typically, you want a senior particular person now, not in a number of years.

He believes that the issue lies within the integration, coaching, and management of latest senior leaders, and plans to be extra deliberate about making a plan for the primary 30/90/180 days of a brand new chief approaching board.

Onboarding Your COO

Whenever you’re within the strategy of bringing a brand new COO on board, it’s necessary to consider how one can assist them seamlessly combine into your organization tradition. 

Some concepts to contemplate: 

  • Present the COO with an in depth overview of the corporate’s historical past, mission, and values.
  • Introduce them to key stakeholders and crew members, together with division heads and direct experiences.
  • Encourage them to attend firm occasions and take part in team-building actions.
  • Assign a mentor or buddy to assist them navigate the corporate tradition and construct relationships.
Onboarding a COO- 90-Day Plan Overview

Defining Objectives and Expectations

Along with integrating the COO into the corporate tradition, it’s necessary to make sure that everyone seems to be on the identical web page:

  • Work with the COO to ascertain KPIs that align with the corporate’s strategic targets.
  • Create an in depth job description that outlines the COO’s duties and expectations.
  • Arrange common check-ins to assessment progress and supply suggestions. 
  • Set up a course of for addressing any points or issues that come up.

Closing Ideas: Rent a Chief Working Officer (COO) – The Buck Stops With You

Most CEOs/Founders have a tough time giving up management. However when yow will discover an confederate to progress (Enter: COO) who can problem your visions, have wholesome disagreements, and convey a recent perspective to the desk, you’re in a significantly better place to scale what you are promoting. 

Regardless of the first-hand experiences of the search course of and opinions offered, keep true to your targets and price range, whereas additionally trusting your intestine instincts. The fact is that discovering the precise particular person, sometimes called a “unicorn,” generally is a time-consuming course of, taking weeks, months, and even years. Finally, the choice of who to carry on as your COO is a big one, and shouldn’t be rushed or taken evenly.

Need Extra? Entry 200+ Discussions About Hiring COOs and Different Management Positions

And also you don’t have to do that alone both. Be a part of our group of 7-8-figure model house owners to attach with like-minded enterprise house owners. You’ll achieve entry to a wealth of sources and recommendation from vetted practitioners who’ve deep, significant eCommerce expertise to share. 

Good luck together with your search!

Courtney Goudswaard

Submit by Courtney Goudswaard

Courtney Goudswaard is a contract author for eCommerce and associated SaaS manufacturers. She approaches her craft in a journalistic setting, delivering evidence-backed, action-packed, and easy-to-understand content material that retains your readers hooked. Join together with her by way of or on Twitter @courtig

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles