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Why an early startup should hire a COO in 2024

Why startups should hire a COO cover image.


It can be easy to believe that if your startup is very young and your team only consists of you and 2-3 other people that you don’t need a COO. But the choice to not bring one on as early as possible in your startup journey could hurt you.  

What is the role of the COO and why should an early startup hire one?

A chief operating officer is regarded as second in command of a company, reporting directly to the CEO. A Fractional COO, on the other hand, is basically a COO but part-time, and can be a cost-effective alternative to a full-time COO.

The COO is responsible for ensuring that the business runs smoothly from day-to-day. While the CEO handles the front end of the business, the COO is responsible for the back end operations. Everything that happens on the shop floor (real or virtual) is the business of the COO. 

By executing the company’s business plan, the COO implements the strategy and vision that the CEO has laid out. While the COO reports to the CEO, the heads of all the units within the company typically directly report to the COO. As a result, COOs are also ultimately responsible for hiring decisions, training, sales, and marketing as well.

A Fractional COO types away on a computer on a nicely organized desk.
Save time on e-mails and digital transformation when you have a COO on your team.

Areas where a COO can provide strategic value

Scaling your startup

Understanding the role of COO in scaling up your business is the first step in achieving the next stage of your company. The sooner you begin to plan for scaling, the better. But what if you as a founder or co-founders do not have the requisite business knowledge to responsibly prepare for scaling up? 

An experienced COO can walk you through a scaling strategy that is relevant to your industry and help you prepare for all the key areas of expansion–hiring, sales and customer service, integrating new technology into your processes, and marketing.

 A COO can also help you keep track of essential metrics such as churn rates so you know where you stand and when you need to course correct once your scaling journey begins.

A laptop shows analytics compiled by a COO for an early startup.
Learn how to manage your company's resources with the help of a COO.

Resource management and allocation

A startup founder is only human. You cannot be all things to all the people on your team. 

The money spent on bringing on a quality COO is going to reap returns far into the future. As a founder, you can entrust your COO to develop and execute systems to manage and monitor day-to-day operations, freeing your time to focus on other matters, such as fundraising and meeting with potential clients. 

If you are wearing too many hats and require other key personnel, a COO can assist you in both hiring and onboarding the right people for the jobs that need to be done. Experienced COOs have large networks to tap and often can find qualified professionals through referrals. 

A COO can also examine your existing processes and understand where inefficiencies and gaps lie. A COO proficient in automation and AI can recommend technology that can save both time and money, strengthening your bottom line.

Priming your business for tomorrow’s regulatory environment

DEI and ESG are not fads and are here to stay. While your business may currently be small, eventually it will scale up. As it grows in size, so will its impact. Already in the EU, ESG reporting has become the law and it is predicted that within the next few years, more laws will spring up in other jurisdictions requiring mandatory reporting. 

A COO can be used to leverage DEI & ESG goals and has a large stake in ensuring that reporting on DEI and ESG matters is conducted in a timely manner and that the data presented in these reports is accurate and complete. By hiring a COO early on, you can prepare yourself for the inevitable and avoid possible legal consequences in the future.

What if I can’t afford a full-time COO?

So now you understand why an early startup should hire a COO, but it’s not necessary to bring a full-time COO onboard, especially for a very small company. Fractional COOs exist for this very reason–to help out new enterprises in an affordable and convenient way.

Bhuva Shakti is a COO that can help your start your business

A Fractional COO is essentially a contractor, not an employee. As a startup founder you are able to negotiate with a Fractional COO the length of time they will be working with you, the areas you would like them to assist with, and the means of payment. Depending upon the organization and the nature of the business, some Fractional COOs will charge on an hourly basis. Others will bill per project. Compensation can be offered in the forms of cash, equity, or a combination of both. 

The earlier you can tap into the interdisciplinary experience and institutional knowledge of a seasoned COO, the faster you can accelerate your growth and meet your goals as a startup. Avail yourself of the advice and expertise of qualified, veteran COO like Bhuva by scheduling a consultation with her today. 



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