By Jeff Heyer-Jones
The Founder of SparkEvolve
ASB Business Services, LLC is proud to collaborate with Jeff Heyer-Jones, Founder of SparkEvolve, an amazing service and solutions provider who help businesses run more efficiently, effectively and earn profitability.
Running a successful and growing small business can be challenging. At times you can feel stranded by yourself on an island. Having a never-ending list of to-dos, acquire clients, develop strategy, execute on strategic plans, develop metrics, develop employees, bookkeeping, the list can go on and on……
Let’s face it, you probably did not get into business to do all these things. I’d even guess you’re not that passionate about all aspects of your business. Who is? I’m sure everyone can relate; you know those tasks that continue to be on your to-do list week after week after week.
As a small business owner, you are required to wear many hats. Some of those hats leave you energized. Others leave you feeling drained. What if you could spend most of your time wearing the hats that leave you energized? Imagine the results that you could achieve in your business by focusing your time and attention on the things that give you energy.
This is exactly what large companies do – they have experts that are energized by the work they are doing – someone leading finance, HR, operations, sales, strategy, etc. I know what you’re thinking
“I’m not large enough to have all of these people, so I have to wear all the hats.”
While the above statement may be true – Options exist to provide you with experts at a fraction of a hiring a full-time or part-time employee. Let’s imagine that you find yourself spending significant amounts of time on the following tasks and you’re working 40+ hours per week, and feeling drained, tired, and unfulfilled.
- Creating the vision and strategy for the business
- Executing on the vision and strategy turning it into processes, key performance indicators
- Obtaining customers
- Perfecting your product/service
- Handling customer issues
- Handling vendors, employees
- Improving internal processes to increase efficiency
At the end of the day, the most valuable resource is your time. So, if much of your time is focused on the activities you don’t really enjoy is it a good use of your time? This is an issue I see often in small to mid-size businesses. What made you successful to this point (wearing all the hats) as you grow becomes unsustainable. Just like the large companies that have experts to guide the organization your business could benefit from having experts.
Enter the fractional COO
This is a role that can help you organize and lead the operational side of your business so you can focus on what you do best. The role typically works on a fractional basis – meaning you get to choose how often the person is helping you it could be a several hours per month to a full day every week. The fractional COO typically has extensive background in managing company operations. Having a fractional COO makes sense for the growing small business as you can get the benefits of a seasoned executive for a fraction of the cost.
What can a fractional COO do for your business?
This really depends upon where your business is at, and where you want to go. A versatile fractional COO can meet you where you’re at and can scale as your business scales. A fractional COO can serve as your trusted advisor and help you chart a path to achieving your goals. One of the largest benefits that business owners can obtain is the opportunity to leverage deep expertise without the carrying costs of full-time salary, benefits, and incentive compensation.
Fractional COO services can be as unique as your business needs. Perhaps it’s just several hours per month or a few days per month. This person can help in the following ways:
- A trusted advisor to the CEO/business owner when it comes to operational issues
- Translating the vision and strategy into processes, key performance indicators and results
- Planning and building growth models to achieve strategic goals
- Leading development of hiring and staffing
- Assisting in aligning the people, processes, and technology to the vision of the business to achieve results
Unsure where to start a conversation?
Anytime we have a potential client that is unsure if having a fractional COO makes sense for them, we encourage them to do this brief exercise.
- Take a week and track your time – What activities are you working in and how long did they take you?
- At the end of the week assess and put your activities into categories
- Of these categories which ones were the BEST use of your time? Is that where you are spending most of your week?
If you find that you’re not spending your time in the categories that are the best use of your time and strengths – it’s a good opener to have a conversation with a fractional COO.
If you decide to have conversations with a fractional COO a few things to keep in mind:
- The background of the fractional COO. They should be someone that has extensive experience across multiple operational functions.
- The network – How broad is the network of the fractional COO? Can they provide additional resources that could benefit other areas of your business?
- Scalability of the model – Can they grow with you? Can you do a few hours per month to start? What about a half day or full day per month, week, biweekly? How flexible is their offering – do you have to sign up for a specific term?
- Payment arrangements – Can you pay a flat fee monthly for the services? What is included or excluded? If billing on a flat fee or hourly, how will overages be handled. You don’t want a surprise at month end.
Thank YOU for reading!
Please reach out to Jeff with questions. His contact information is in his Bio below.
About the Author: Jeff believes business owners and leadership teams in the small to mid-cap market should have access to experienced operational executives that allow them to leverage the operational side of their business as an advantage. He founded SparkEvolve in 2019 to help this market create and tie their strategies to daily operations and improve operational outcomes. Jeff serves as a trusted advisor to many businesses as a fractional Chief Operations Officer (COO) and partners with them to improve operational outcomes. Throughout his career Jeff has saved organizations over $46 million dollars and has helped to solve complex problems with innovative and sustainable methods. Prior to founding SparkEvolve, Jeff was a Fortune 100 executive holding multiple roles across operations, project delivery, sales, service, finance, compliance and legal. Jeff resides in Powell, Ohio with his wife of 13 years and two children.
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