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Magic of Fractional COOs

Fractional Chief Operating Officers (COOs) enable business owners to reach their goals and make their dreams come true.  That’s a bold statement with a lot to unpack.  Let’s jump in! 

COOs In General 

A couple foundational points… business owners have dreams and goals, and they don’t usually involve immersing themselves in administrivia or operational functions of their company.  Big companies have full-time Chief Operating Officers (COOs) who handle these tasks, along with their operations departments, and provide support to their CEOs with strategic business planning. Small and mid-sized companies?  Not so much. 

Why wouldn’t a company have a COO?  For starters, a COO is an overhead position, and owners are cautious about adding those expenses.  Rarely do small or mid-size businesses need full-time COOs. However, the work done by that role doesn’t simply disappear.  It gets spread across the other executives.  For entrepreneurs and small business owners, that can mean being responsible for critical tasks that you’re not especially skilled at nor interested in doing.   

Take a minute and ask yourself: What if I could double my capacity AND not have to do the tasks I dread?  Who wouldn’t want that?  Enter the fractional COO. 

Fractional COOs 

A fractional COO is someone with the skills and experience of a COO but who works on a temporary or less-than-full-time basis.  Just like a traditional full-time COO, they work closely with the CEO to fill a gap presenting a risk to the company, creating solutions and efficiency, performing strategic business planning, and more.  And like the full-time version, fractional COOs must create trust and commitment with the CEO and Leadership team to be effective. 

Fractional COOs can scale up and down to match the needs of the business, essentially always being the “right size” for you.  They’re generally available for as little as 4 hours a week all the way up to 40 hours for a temporary assignment.  Brilliant!  So, what’s the catch? 

Turns out fractional COOs vary a lot one to the next.  This is because the underlying component, the COO part, comes in many different flavors. Harvard Business Review published an article called Second in Command: The Misunderstood Role of the Chief Operating Officer.  They concluded that there are seven (7) different types of COOs with some people being multiple types simultaneously.  The success of any one type is tied directly to the needs of their respective CEO. 

CEOs might need someone who carries the workload, serves as a mentor, works as a partner or as a foil, is the heir apparent, or the ‘MVP’ executive too valuable to lose.  The last category HBR identifies is: The Change Agent.  This type is especially powerful when deployed as fractional to small and mid-sized companies. 

Dreams Coming True! 

Now we’re back to the dreams part.  When owners want to grow their companies, improve profitability, or restore balance between work and personal time, it comes down to two things: Capacity and Skills.  Essentially, owners don’t have enough of either to accomplish everything on their wish lists.  They make sacrifices, and somewhere a dream goes unfulfilled.  On the other hand, fractional COOs bring both capacity and skills in a right-sized, scalable fashion. 

Let’s take an example of how we at BizOps Solved use fractional COOs to help owners.  In our Business Will™ service, we work with owners to define their goals and future wants.  These often include building business value to sell in a few years, reclaiming vacation time, or pushing through a growth plateau and up into the next level.  Our Ops Health Check then dials in on the biggest pain points and how to solve them.  Combining these services creates a map showing how to get from here to there – the challenges of today to the dreams of tomorrow.  Frequently owners know their challenges but don’t have great options for solving them.   

That’s where we deploy a fractional COO to guide our clients through strategic business planning, provide regular operational guidance, mentor employees to use best practices and grow into the team the owner can rely on, and spearhead those initiatives where the owner doesn’t have the necessary skills on staff… these all directly contribute to putting those dreams within the owner’s grasp.  

To learn more about our Business Will™, Operations Health Check, Fractional COO and Value Creation services, reach out via email to, or go straight to booking a Discovery Call. 

 BizOps Solved works with business owners to make their companies more valuable and their lives better.  


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