Entrepreneurs are known for their spontaneous, ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ work style, and most of us know better than to get in their way. However, there’s a critical relationship that much of a business’s success depends on – the relationship between the ‘ideas guy’ entrepreneur and the ‘by the book’ Chief Operations Officer. This week on The Complete Entrepreneur, we discussed how establishing a good workflow between the dreamer and the realist is what brings a great idea to life!
A COO is a great asset to ensure everything is running smoothly while implementing plans for growth.
The often scatterbrained, creative mind of an entrepreneur is likely to butt heads with a detail-oriented, type-A personality of a COO because of the intense combination of strengths and weaknesses. It’s these differences, though, that make an unstoppable team if you learn to work well together. Having someone that perceives the business differently than you do lets you know your blind spots and areas for improvement you hadn’t considered. A COO has to practice a range of flexibility and know what everyone in the company needs… or as Michael put it, they’re here to protect the entrepreneurs from themselves.
For a lot of business owners, handing over responsibility and letting go is one of the hardest parts of the job. But the mindset that you can do it all by yourself will quickly be disproven and likely result in failure. You have to delegate responsibilities and expectations in order to scale, and a COO is a great asset to ensure everything is running smoothly while implementing plans for growth. It may be daunting at first to bring another team member on to work closely with, but the addition will actually give you more time and flexibility to focus on your interests. A COO “paves the path” so the CEO’s time isn’t spent worrying about day-to-day operations and technicalities.
“I need to work on the business, so I have to hire someone to work in the business”Michael Gilmour
When looking for someone to run your business’s operations, look for someone who is trustworthy and honest– and not only when things are going well. A good business partner lets you know when things don’t work out and is constantly pushing you to be a better entrepreneur. A COO should be incredibly detailed and deliberate in their work because the fine print and technicalities aren’t to be overlooked when chasing big ideas.
To hear more about what your COO should bring to your team and work together to advance your business, tune into the full session above!
- Read the Transcript for Your Company's Greatest Asset, Your COO
The Complete Entrepreneur – EP32
Hey, it’s really good to be here. We’re looking at working with your COO, it’s an unusual topic, but I think there’s one, as entrepreneurs, we really need to take a look at and begin to unpack.
I must admit most entrepreneurs and this is a generalization they’re more fly by the seat of their pants. So to people like, Hey, I’ve got that vision. I’m going for that vision and just don’t get in my way. Particularly don’t get in my way, customer service or dirt, getting my way, actually deliver the products.
I’ve got the vision. I’m heading to the ones that spirit and it’s often that’s another person, the organization, which ultimately makes things happen. Th that there are the nuts and bolts, they make sure that people get paid or clients get paid that makes sure their supply gets paid. They make sure that I’s are dotted.
The T’s are crossed, so contracts and things like that. And the is [00:01:00] already leaped down the road ahead and. That person called the chief operating officer is making the vision actually happened behind them. Developing a successful working relationship with your CEO in your business is often critical to achieve New York.
And learning how to manage that relationship. That tension between off of the CEO role provided by the entrepreneur and the CEO, which is, Hey, what about process? What about systems? What about doing dotting? All those I’s and crossing all those, T’s all that sort of thing. There’s often a tension between those and quite also quite often, it ends up breaking away that the COO says I’ve done with this because there’s, this entrepreneur is completely psychotic.
They realize the importance of process and so forth. Let me tell you, sharing with you. A story happened with me in my case from one of my [00:02:00] companies I was working away with this other guy business partner and this particular one and. He was driving me crazy, absolutely crazy. Cause he was exactly that.
He was just talking about process procedures, all those sort of things. And I was talking about division direction strategy and it was like, we’re talking two different languages. This is about 14 years ago, a non-member it came to a head one time and we had a really big argument. And having an argument at a at a founding level of co-founders is not a good thing and the best solution to any time of having a great big argument.
This is to go out for dinner. So we did that. We went out for dinner and during the dinner it was a bit nerve-wracking. There was steam coming out of my ears and I could see he was flashing light lightning, bolts that of his eyes at me a few times and that sort of stuff. And we had a, once [00:03:00] he had a heated argument and then at one point we both sat back and said, hang on a second.
I’m protecting your interests. And he said, yes, you are protecting yours. And you are always dealing with the person of camp. I wasn’t dealing with a demonic hoard or something like that. He was trying to rip a pat the business and repossess my soul. Now I was dealing with a person of character, but there’s a person of character who just had a different approach.
Next 15 years we’ve been together. Now we’ve gained enormous appreciation for each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And with the result this business is doing millions of dollars has gone forward leaps and bounds. And I can truthfully say it would not have got there without his characteristics, which are largely monitored, a hundred percent larger that have a [00:04:00] CLL.
And mine is largely that of the entrepreneur, the vision and so forth. And he is an amazing character. God who can do have incredible processes and procedures, but it took a revelation of understanding that this person is not malevolent, but they’re a person who just perceives the business different.
So with the result we’ve been working together for a long time now and it was interesting. I we hired a new guy a couple of years ago and he, he’s a bit more of my temperament is in this business development area and you would naturally be that way. And I said to him, there is nothing like having an awesome COO in your corner when it hits the fan with.
Because having that awesome CEO he’ll know exactly all the numbers he’ll know exactly what has happened. He’ll have all the procedures and it being nailed down [00:05:00] and everything. And when you go and talk with a client to resolve, say some difficult situation, you’re going from a position of strength and knowledge versus I don’t know what’s going on here.
And it was really a a light bulb moment for this particular guy as well. And because of course things go wrong with clients from time to time. And he he experienced what was like to have a great COO. And so as entrepreneurs, what do we do? What do you do when your business grows to the point when you say, is it time for a second?
Do I need to actually take some of these things off my desk so I can work on the business so I can have a, got another person working in the business alongside of me. So that was my story of my experience, Michele or Jeff. And what’s been like for you guys and the businesses you’ve been around, are you the COO or the fly by [00:06:00] the seat of your pants?
Entrepreneur? I talked to that. Maybe I’ll jump to you Jeff first. What’s your role? Did you find you traditionally provide in businesses in a sort of nature or have you seen things of what I’ve just described to you? I think Michael, the COO role is very important and one that, a lot of times we don’t think of at the beginning, I, in my career, I’ve actually been a COO.
I’ve been a CEO and I’ve been a CMO. The only one I will never be as a CFO, cause I’m not a particularly good numbers person, but and a COO can take on a different shape and form in different companies. So I think that’s one of the interesting things but the real thing is that the COO is the operator, right?
And I think in most successful startups, you certainly need a visionary. You certainly need a product person if you’re selling a product, but to achieve that vision and to build that product, you also need someone who really [00:07:00] is an operator who knows how to get things done, to set up the process and processes and procedures.
And sometimes COO is responsible for HR building the team. All of those things could fall under that operator’s role. And I think that’s critical. And I think, one of the things we talk about a lot here in the complete entrepreneur, and we’ve talked about it in this serial entrepreneur club hour as well is, delegation, when you’re a founder, Of a company and a startup in the early days, you’re doing everything you and your co-founders, if they’re already are doing everything.
And at some point, if you’re going to grow and scale your business, you have to learn to let go. And that’s probably one of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur. And something I think I, and all of us have potentially struggled with at times is letting go of things, handing off responsibilities to other people so that the company can grow and that you can stay focused on the things that you are truly the best at.
And oftentimes the first step of that letting go is bringing on that COO or [00:08:00] having one of your co-founders in that COO role to really take on a lot of those operational responsibilities. So I don’t know if I exactly answered your question, but hopefully that. Yeah, no, it absolutely is Jeff. And I think it’s an interesting thing is that at some point in time every business as it grows, it will end up putting in a CEO type person.
When I say every business, I’m sure there’s exceptions out there, but just before I jump across to you, Michele, and get your thoughts on this topic. If you’re a person to audience there, let’s imagine you are CEO. How have you dealt with the entrepreneur? I’d love to get your side of the equation, but have they completely dry driven?
You crazy. Please stick your hand up there. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re saying, where do I get a good seat? COO from operating officer from what sort of characteristics should I look for in them and that sort of stuff. Then you have those sort of questions. Then stick your hand up. We’d love to have you on the stage here and let’s have a great discussion about it, but [00:09:00] just people mull over what my invitation is there, Michele.
What are you going to share on this topic in your experience in your wide business career? What’s it been like dealing with CEO’s or have you been the COO in the actually I have been the COO I email@example.com before I took on another role. Yeah, for me, what I found is. The role of a CIO can vary so greatly.
I think of it more than anything in the company.
I think of the COO more than anybody in the company has to, really. Practice a great range of flexibility. I think they really have to go to what the company needs, what the people in the company need. So what do I mean by that? They really need to be, [00:10:00] observing what’s going on and making sure that communications are flowing and that there’s issues and the difficult conversations to be had, that they’re not afraid to have it.
And they jump in there and make things happen. I have seen CEOs that are very analytical and really focus more on metrics, which is, something that I think we all should do, but I’ve also seen COO’s that really are like a Jack of all trades. And for me, I think that’s just depends on what the company needs and one of their key.
Talents, one could say is to be able to identify that and not be afraid to be, jump in there and help get things done. Yeah. Do you also find Michele that the role of a COO is almost to protect the entrepreneur from themselves so that the entrepreneur can do what they’re good for and the entrepreneur, by the way, she went there also provided being [00:11:00] the seat ETO, but is to to protect the entrepreneur from dare I say, messing up some of the staff and they can go ahead and do what they’re really good at, which is the visionary thing, the say facing and that sort of stuff.
Do you think that’s the role of a COO. I would say they definitely should be paving the path so that the CEO or the CMO, or whoever’s leading sales and business development. Yes. So they’re not, worrying about, the day to day operations or the execution of the business. So they absolutely, I, yeah, that would be one way to say it that they don’t, CEOs don’t end up gravitating, to the nuances, just trying to solve little problems because at the end of the day that doesn’t help anyone.
You really do need somebody who’s going to take that responsibility and really work with Al levels of folks in the organization. Yeah. I [00:12:00] think about my own experiences in various businesses. And in particular, the current one, one of the biggest difficulties I’ve had across the years, Relinquishing the knowledge of knowing everything and to know that I’m sure that, that the process or the procedures are being dealt with, and that issue is being successfully brought to a conclusion, but to actually not be know the details, because you can’t know the details of everything.
And as an entrepreneur, that can actually be quite challenging is to give up some of that knowledge as such and have trust in your team and trust in your other co-founders or your executive and so forth and knowing that they’re dealing with it. And that means your mind space can then focus on other things.
And that, that has actually been quite a challenge for me, particularly, also being a techie as well. [00:13:00] And when someone says to me, oh yeah, what server is such and such on. And I’d say to them, I’ve got no. I actually don’t know that’s why we have a person charge a tech. They can actually get answers to these questions.
Yeah. It was a challenge for me. Do you find the coming back to yourself, Michele, do you find that a times in your role did you play even with poor.com or something like that or source or startup.club is do you find that you just don’t know everything cause you can’t know everything is impossible.
And what was that like a tool to hand that over to someone like a COO that may be playing those roles? I’ll tell you one of the best feelings is when you know that you can hand that over to a very capable person. A person that could even do it perhaps better than you, that’s an amazing feeling.
And it’s really growth. On the flip side of it, the worst feeling is this feeling that you can’t hand things [00:14:00] over because you don’t have folks that are capable of it. And that’s where I feel, that the balance really comes and the COO at their best are really working to make sure of course that processes are there, but that the right people are in the right positions.
Like you can do processes and planning all day long. But if you don’t have the right people and. Positions you’re really not going to be able to be successful. So I think, yeah, of course it’s wonderful when it works. It’s horrible when it doesn’t work. And I think it’s a lot about also having the right people that can implement and follow through on processes.
Completely agree with you that Michele that’s for sure. You’re listening to the complete entrepreneur and we’re looking at the topic of working with your CEO and you might not even have a COO at this time, but you know what some stage of business may grow to the point where [00:15:00] you begin to think, I need to get someone else in here.
So we’re looking at that topic and it’s great to see everyone here, but Mario, welcome to the stage and the complete entrepreneur. Love to get your thoughts on this topic. Hi Mike. Thank you very much. And thank you guys. It’s been amazing what I’ve been hearing and just tell you, I agree with Reshad and Michele, I think it’s about character and it’s also depends on structure and how you get started.
If, for example for myself, I’m C an early funder, a couple of years, three years plus now, but I do identify the importance of having a CEO, but. I am. I’m at a crossroad where I want to identify that is the right person to take that position. And you know that to do that. I relaxed since I’m a sole founder, I had the privilege to get to pick people into their positions.
I think this is different if you [00:16:00] have co founders and your peak roles at study, which are strengths, but being the sole founder, I get to delegate, or you could do this, you could do that. So what I do is. I currently have someone on service operations not see fully. And now the reason is because I’m washing, I’m looking at this character and what he can do and how he’s coming up with it.
So when we get big enough for him to really take the full CEO, I can really see, he has walked up to that position and he has shown that he can do it. And I totally agree with what everyone here I’ve been saying about details for me. I agree. The CEO has to be someone who sees the big vision. So it’s almost like a top down scenario.
It sees the big vision, but the C O should pay. Details to this should pay attention to these minute details that actually makes the big dreams true. So it’s almost the little things matters a lot and DCO should pay attention to those little things while the CEO can be a dreamer and also [00:17:00] can sense the energy within the space within the workspace, within the thing, it can know that this person’s crap ties down this person’s.
So it’s almost. The timeline and the strength of people’s character and get into assign them in the right rules. Michele said, I think that’s a major work of the CEO issue to do that. He should know his team, very well, load your strengths, know their energy, brief, the call show, and then you can assign them why the CEO should actually keep everyone in traps and keep our picture operations going on.
So I think, yeah, I agree with you Mario, you’ve hit so many things there and it’s fabulous and really appreciate your input. And I think you nailed it in many respects is it’s about caring. And what is the character of the of the person that can actually perform that role? So it’d be good to be able to unpack that a little bit more.
So what are the characteristics you think, Jeff coming to yourself now, I have a COO what’s some of the [00:18:00] characteristics that you look for in a COO. And what is it that you think that are the standout ones versus this possibly secondary characteristics of a great. I think, you all talked about character and that’s really important.
And I think, I also think, in many instances the COO is actually the one dealing with the team a lot. And in many companies, the COO may be responsible, ultimately for the company culture, of course the company culture comes from the top down and the bottom up, but it’s the COO oftentimes.
That leads that I can remember very clearly, many years ago, working for a company where the COO was somewhat of a tyrant and had a lot of practices that were really not good in terms of hiring and firing. He had a practice of when someone was being fired. They were escorted out of the building, within minutes of being, let go, no time to gather their stuff.
[00:19:00] And he always did it in a very visual way where everyone in the company saw it happening and that set a really terrible tone and really affected the culture of that company. So I think it’s really important that the COO is someone who leads by example, especially if the company has a quirky CEO, founders are often very creative people.
They’re often very driven people and sometimes they may not have the best personality to drive the culture of a company. And then it falls to the COO to really set that tone and to be that internal face of the company that people can rely on and look up to. Not that they wouldn’t rely on and look up to the CEO, but the CEO may not be in that role.
I don’t know if that makes sense. Yeah, absolutely. It does Jeff and really appreciate your input on that. So I began to think about what are the characteristics when I looked at the different COO’s I’ve worked with over the many years I’ve been [00:20:00] in an entrepreneur flow and some of the characteristics I found is number one is they have to be trustworthy.
They’ve got to tell me the truth and if they don’t tell me the truth, because I want to hear the good and the bad, or they sheltered me from the bad sayings, I need to hear the boat. I need to hear both sides, not just all the fluffy white clouds and everything is great. I want to hear also the fact that there’s an earthquake in the business happening right now.
Yeah. And I need to hear that. I also find that I look at them and I want to be practical and pregnant. Very practical. And there are a couple of the things when I think about a COO that I look for, there’s a few others I’ll talk about shortly, but you’ll listen to the complete entrepreneur.
And it’s great to have you here with us, if you’re a COO. And then you say, let me tell you some stories for you of what it’s like to work with an entrepreneur and or if you’re an entrepreneur. And you’re saying, this is how I work with my COI. [00:21:00] We’d love to hear from you put your hand up and we’ll welcome you to the stage.
But in the meantime, I jump across to Chris. Chris, it’s great to have you on the complete entrepreneur. And what’s your thoughts on this topic? Yup. It’s a very interesting topic and I want to re for, to someone that maybe a lot of people have heard of Charleston Minx, he talks about.
In a company, as a worker, there’s only so much you can do within the existing system. If you won’t call it in the company. And it’s the managers, the leaders, and particularly the COO’s job to see how those systems are impacting, how their work, their employees are able to work and then find ways to improve that system and [00:22:00] make it a better way, or allow for a better performance of the workers, because he illustrates that, you can only perform to the level of what the system allows.
You cannot actually influenced the system. Obviously, there’s going to be some that say you can, but there are some limitations. If you are not the one that implements and enforces the system, there are limitations. And so you have to abide by those limitations. So despite your best efforts of being a really good worker, you are going to fall short.
If the system falls short, And like I said, the CEO’s role is to be able to identify what those things are and improve on them. Chris is this where the the entrepreneurs there say, I’ve got this great idea. We need it. We need to be able to do X, Y, and Z. And then I say I’ve got this other great idea.
And they’re run off their feet. They’re working like [00:23:00] 16 hour days and things like that. And then a COO type person comes in and says, look, you know what? I can actually save you eight of those hours. If you’d we just need to build a process and we need to be able to scale that process.
And this is how we then do it. Is that what you’re really talking about there in the nitty gritty, what it means to be an entrepreneur that is part of what it is, but there’s also what works when you’re two people or what works when you have 10 clients. It’s not necessarily going to work when you have a thousand clients, if you’re that kind of company.
And so it is understanding not just what process to put in place right away, but also what to continue to do to improve upon that system, as things evolve as things grow. And yeah, [00:24:00] if it’s done the entrepreneur can save hours a day. Yeah. It’s so true. What you’re saying it makes me wonder like some of these big tech companies, Googles, they air B and B Uber and so forth like that.
Yeah. They’re tech, but it makes them wonder behind the scenes. There must be an amazing COO who’s able to go along and empower the rest of the organization to scale to literally billions of people. Across the world using their services. And that’s no too, Debbie, an example where you’re talking about no doubt there.
There’s great. CEO’s there, but I’ll wager this, the bigger the company, the more holes they have in their system, the more room for improvement they have, at least that’s what I’m seeing. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s the bigger the company. There’s also, those holes become entrepreneurial.
Opportunities for smaller, more nimble companies [00:25:00] quite often. And that’s what makes, that’s why it’s so exciting being an entrepreneur. I just want to jump down to Colin, welcome, welcome to the stage, call it, and then I’ll come across to NAAJA as well. And what’s your thoughts on this? I’m working as an entrepreneur, working with a CEO of, did you find there were a boat anchor or did you find there were like a person would suddenly empowered you as an entrepreneur?
What is it that your experience with working with the CLR? Yeah. I actually think that as a company wants to scale or needs to scale that hiring the right C-level executives around you is extremely important. And I don’t know if you’ve touched upon the profile of a COO or even a CTO or even a CMO you’re really going to want people.
Who have dominant instinct and the case of COO probably a DC or a [00:26:00] DS dominant and stable or dominant and consistent. And the reason for that is, and I’m talking specifically about the dominance and I do see a lot of companies make this mistake. The reason for that is they have to lead a lot of people in order to scale this company.
And they need to have that leadership skill and dominance to push their team forward. It’s extremely important to hire people who have that capability. And I also talk about, they should have some analytical understanding or even us, some stable, they should be very stable as well.
So they should be very, when I say S and the disc profile system, we’re really referring to Really referring to people who are the best way, I’ve thought the best way to say it is OCD, right? So if you have a dominant OCD type that can actually make for a very good chief operating officer, and I can tell you in Hostopia, we, we scaled that company to 600 employees.
We had we went public, we did all [00:27:00] that. And we hired a Peter . And we hired him as a call center manager. We ran them through the disc profile and he moved all the way up to president replaced me after I had after I had sold the company and committed to my three years of my time was up the day.
I, the day I could leave, I left, but he replaced me ultimately. So that’s just something to consider. I do think that that does that sort of cover of what you’re talking about here, Michael? I know I jumped in the middle of it. Apologize about the late lateness of my. Yeah, no, it’s interesting getting your perspective on things, because the thing that I think when I really look at my own business experience of what are some of the characteristics or some of the great CEOs cos I’ve worked with and how did I engage with them?
And and it’s not just about scaling people and like some cos they need to scale the people and relate to 600 employees. You just said, sometimes it’s not that we have not scaled people, but we’ve scaled [00:28:00] systems in my current business. So we deal with a key. But right now I think it’s about a billion requested our servers every single day and we have to process them and all that sort of stuff.
And. It’s a lot of procedures, a lot of processes and stuff. And it’s a lot of mind space for a COO type character who can step in and be incredibly practical and pragmatic where they’ve got incredible detailed and deliberateness to every one of their actions, which I find is actually quite liberating as an entrepreneur.
Is that sort of thing? Yeah. I like how you, I like how you talk about systems and I know the book, the E-Myth if anyone here in the audience wants a book to help them to scale their business, there’s no better book than the E-Myth. I think that’s that’s all about creating systems. And I, as our company scaled, we brought in a CEO coach and he helped us implement at the time it was called the Rockefeller.[00:29:00]
And it was written by Verne Harnish and our coach worked with us and we’ve implemented a lot of goal setting. And a lot of KPIs a lot of different systems were implemented and I credit those systems for helping us scale. Yeah, you can get away with it. You can be ad hoc, you can do this, you can do that.
You can get away with it early on in a startup. But when you want to scale that business, you’re going to need to start to think about systems and implement those kinds of systems. I recommend the Rockefeller habits or actually he’s got one up that’s more update is called scaling up by Verne Harnish.
I think that’s an excellent book if you really want to learn how to scale. Yeah. There’s another interesting book. Which is the E-Myth you mentioned, but there’s also the E-Myth. Is going back to it. I read a book just recently by Simon Sinek and it says, start with why. And in this book he talks about that every business is founded.
Should you ask, [00:30:00] why are we doing this? And his view is the outcome is the fact that it’s profitable and every business needs to be profitable to be sustainable, but why are you doing it? Is the is more important. So he went and expounds on the fact that like apple is think different or Harley.
Davidson’s like freedom on the road. And they inspire why so much that people go on T tattoo on their own bodies, the Harley Davidson logo and this sort of stuff. And it’s a, it’s an interesting concept that he then goes and says, but with every strong why person, which is the entrepreneur. There’s a, how person, how are we going to do it?
And and he expounds upon that of there’s a Steve jobs. There’s a Wazniak for every gates, there’s an Allen and so forth. And any of these great big companies you quite often you’ll calculate Hewlett Packard and so forth like that. And [00:31:00] Intel of the similar sort of situation. And you’ve got.
Great. Why person like shooting for the stars, but then the how person comes on and really makes it happen near the sea. Oh, so it’s it’s a great book. If you haven’t ever looked at it, it’s called start with why by Simon Sinek. It’s S I N E K fabulous book. And I would recommend reading that really interesting, but anyway, you’ll listen to the complete entrepreneur and we’re tackling the whole topic of working with your CEO, and it’s a major issue which are going to help businesses like yours scale.
So Nigel has been very patient all this time and really appreciate you doing that and being so patient now, Joe, so welcome to the stage of the complete entrepreneur. Love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Welcome to the stage nacho.
Sorry about that NACHA. You would gain some feedback there. I think you turned off your microphone again.[00:32:00]
I think Michael, I was I was, I’m good. I’ll just jump in here. One of the things that entrepreneurs fail to do is fail to scale is that they don’t get out of the way themselves, that they’re not able to let go. And I think that’s a mental process that everyone, you know, everyone, anyone who runs a business has got to learn to let things go and trust others, to help them scale that business.
And in the case of leadership positions like a CTO or a COO that can often be a very big it can be very challenging for you, an entrepreneur. And I think that’s an important concept because. 99% of businesses in the United States are small businesses and they do fail to scale. And it, a lot of that is simply delegating responsibilities, not tasks.
And, have you used that line a number of times [00:33:00] on your show, but it’s true. If you are always delegating tasks, if you’re the one always responsible, then you’re never going to scale that company. If you delegate responsibilities and you say, okay, you’re now responsible for all facility management of the building.
Then at three o’clock in the morning, if something goes wrong, they’re not calling you, they’re calling the person responsible. Yeah. I love that saying, which is delegate responsibilities, not tasks. And, but as an entrepreneur, it’s actually really difficult sometimes to let go. And it takes a great amount of character to be able to like.
And a great amount of trust in that process. And I love when they call and I think there’s a good reason why 98% of businesses fail to scale is because entrepreneurs in the hall find it difficult to relinquish control. They really do, because they’d like to know that everything’s done. Like we’re going through this right now, where we put a person [00:34:00] on in the area as a baby BDM.
And I’m thinking I’m going to release some of these climbs to this guy and to help manage and take some workload off, say my plate. And, but I know that client so well. And should I do that? And it’s actually really quite nerve-wracking, but you’ve got to do it still. If you don’t do it, you’ll fail to scale.
And that’s a really big question. I think that a lot of entrepreneurs wrestle with, by the way, it’s fine to have a small business as well. If that’s your goal, not where it say that every business has to go along, grow and become the next unicorn. Yeah. It’s crazy. Yeah. It’s fine to have a business and just have it going along and providing a good lifestyle for you and your family and everything like that.
There is no problem with that, but if your, the goal is also to scale, then you’re going to [00:35:00] have to relieve relinquish some control. So radesh, radesh, it’s great to go along and see you on the complete entrepreneur on the stage here and love to hear your thoughts on this topic. So radesh welcome to the complete entrepreneur.
Yes. Thank you very much. I just joined I have, it was not yet from the beginning, I don’t have much to say. Okay. Thank you very much for that. If you want to mute your microphone to appreciate your thoughts and the fact that you’re wanting to learn and to hear about what others are talking about on this topic. So tying it back to the characteristics of a great COO, I mentioned a couple of them one of the other ones is it can be quite challenging.
I think for an entrepreneur is often overshadow the entrepreneur’s operational ability. That’s their job to do that. So if you were thing, I’m feeling a bit straightened by this prison, they seem to know more about my company than I do. You know what that’s. And let them [00:36:00] do their job. And that’s why you actually employ them to do that.
So you could actually hand over the responsibility to them, but it can be very nerve wracking as we talked about in that process. So what are some of the characteristics oh, come back to yourself, calling again that you look for in hiring a great COO in your experience. What are some of the things you’ve mentioned?
You use disc model. I know that, what sort of things you also look for beyond just say psych psychologically profiling someone. Yeah. Other than the, dominant and OCD for a COO, that those characteristics I’m looking, I use Jack Welch’s line on this one. He he says hire people with runway.
And what does he mean by that? If you have a company that’s a million dollars a year. And you want to get to 10 million hire somebody who’s already gone from a million to 10 million. If you want to go from 10 million to a hundred million, hire that person, who’s already gone from 10 million to a hundred million, [00:37:00] by the way, don’t go too far with this don’t hire.
If you’re at a million dollars, somebody worked for a billion dollar company that leap can sometimes be too great for some of those executives to move from a billion dollar company to do it yourself. $1 million company don’t think because someone’s got a huge resume that they actually would be ideal.
We’re looking for that 10 X we’re looking for someone who can 10 X your business and and that’s for CTO as well. And that’s for CMO. You’re going to look for those people who are comfortable in in, in getting your company to grow to a certain level and have the experience to do. Yeah, Colin.
I want to emphasize what you said cause it’s spot on. It’s not someone who’s been in the role of leading a company at that level. It’s someone who’s been through the process of growing a company to that level because they’re very different situations. And I had the experience at one of the companies that I co-founded, where, the board wanted us to bring [00:38:00] in an experienced, a real CEO, as opposed to the founding team and brought in someone from a very big, very well-known company.
But they had already been at the top in their last few jobs. They weren’t really the one who had grown the company to that level. And it wasn’t as great a fit as everyone had hoped. It would be. So Colin, that’s a great point. I tell you, it was hard for me to go from Hostopia 600 employees to.club, which is it was a dozen employees.
It was just very hard. You get used to having a lot of perks that come along with having a large company when it comes to doing things. I couldn’t even do a scan, a document and be honest with you. And then you’re, I’m a CEO of a technology company.
Unbelievable. But anyway, and then you go to a smaller business and you have to figure out how to scan a document, by the way, I still don’t know how to do it with these darn printers. I use my phone in a scan app on my phone to do it. So in any case, it’s a challenge. I think they call it.
One of the things I personally do is I maintain my own Unix web server from [00:39:00] my own personal website specifically. So I try to. At my hands and the coding. And it’s a challenge, all those things I must admit. But yeah, I think one of the bigger challenges is that as a an entrepreneur, as business grows, you end up becoming more setting policy and managing culture and things like that, where you can then hand that across to someone is like that can then take that culture and then and then grow those processes and systems and everything like that with that, and and gain a way I find that I need to get away on a periodic basis.
And the thing when I get away just myself as I begin to think about things like what is the culture of my businesses and each one will be unique by the way. What is that culture? What is it we’re trying to do? What is the policy mix? A lot of policy type things I need to go and implement. It takes the next level of growth.
It doesn’t mean I then go along and [00:40:00] implement those growth strategies or anything. That’s for someone else to actually. But I’m thinking about working on the business and how the business is functioning. Very broadly versus the detailed side. And this is where the COO really comes in. But anyway, you and listen to the complete entrepreneur we’ve got like 12 minutes left of of this room together and looking at this really interesting topic of working with your CEO.
And I’d just like to welcome to the stage. Barmak, it’s great to have you here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Welcome to the stage of warming.
Looks like we’re having a few.
Yeah. So this is my first time at this app and talking about the startup I’m currently pursuing MBA and I would look loudly as a [00:41:00] new. Yeah it was great to have you here bore make it really is, and really appreciate your thoughts. And, but you’re in radesh and obviously we’re here to learn and you know what, one of the great things about the complete entrepreneur I find is it’s times where I’m learning as well.
We’re all learning from each other and we’re learning from other entrepreneurs who have been there and done that. So thank you for coming and joining us on the stage. If you want to meet your market for now, that’d be great. But anyway, so tips for hiring a CEO. So you’re there, you’re running your company and you’re saying, okay, what I want to do is I want to go and hire a COO.
So I just want to jump down to. Rich. So what’s your thoughts around a COO and companies you may have may have launched. And do you have any tips on best ways of hiring them? Welcome to the stage? Rich, thanks, Michael. And thanks to all the mods and biting me up. Yeah, [00:42:00] I’ve been a COO for a company that was when I joined was 42 million.
When I left, we were at a 1 56 over a seven-year period. So that was some pretty nice growth and ultimately sold to a fortune 500 company and, having different roles in two fortune, two 50 companies in my career and did a tech startup on the east coast As I’m the CMO for them and ultimately ended up moving into a COO kind of role.
Not because I was asked, but because I just saw the wheels falling off the wagon and we were in a position where we were an eight man organization and we really needed to make some things happen and get some product to market and channels set up, et cetera. And, my colleague, which was the owner and CEO we spent tremendous time together.
The [00:43:00] thing that he lacked was the ability to hire. He just, he had just a terrible time identifying. The right person. And so when I came into the organization, I pick that role up and sorta walked him through that and ultimately ended up taking that role over for bringing people into the company.
So that was an interesting experience. I guess my tips on hiring yeah, basically is, one of the golden rules that I have is I always have a meal with the person I’m going to eat or to have potentially higher. And the reason for that is, is that I want to see how they treat people in a public setting.
And I want to get a an understanding of actually they’re table manners and how they react to, to, to different things that may come up during a dinner conversation and And basically just, understanding their personality outside of the interview room. Hey, [00:44:00] rich.
Tomorrow, we’re actually running a session. I don’t know if you’re available, but we’re running a session tomorrow on startup club called a hiring people for your startup. And we’re literally talking about what you’re talking about right now. It’s Friday at two, o’clock Eastern. If you’re in the audience and you want to come to it, it’s great.
It’s usually our top show of the week. But if you were around, we’d be happy to have you on stage. We’re doing an open mic tomorrow as well. Oh, great. Yeah. If I can join and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Okay. We had to move them to the audience. Sorry. I think we had some technical problems there, a whatever, but I know it sounds like it’s going to be a great show.
If anybody in the audience wants to come and speak on that topic tomorrow, Dr. Bev, before anybody else wants to speak, then we’d be happy to have you there love to join. Thanks. Yeah. Originally really do appreciate your wisdom. And obviously your [00:45:00] experience there, Chris, you have something to add to that.
I actually had a question along these lines where, we talked a lot about the CEO COO here and their role. They have a lot of companies also tend to feel at certain points or with a certain frequency or whatever hire consultants to come in and do, improvement projects or whatever.
And so my question is like what do you see is the balance between the two? Because in some aspects, the way I’ve viewed is that, some of what the consultants do is, Interwoven with the role of the CEO. And so what do you, what are your guys’s experience and kind of, yeah, like I said, with the balance between the two, essentially.
Yeah. That’s a really good question. Michele, you want to add something to that? Yeah. I think it’s so important for the COO and the CEO to really be on the same page. And I would say, [00:46:00] almost constantly communicating because at the root, as we said, the C O needs to be making sure that the strategy is being executed across the whole core, company as well as communicated.
And that sounds easy communicating, but it’s not always easy. It really means getting in there every day and having discussions and really representing. To a large extent, the CEO to make sure things get done and bring back information to the other executives on the team so that they can help course correct is absolutely critical.
And I would say if you’re not, on the same page and that doesn’t mean you agree on everything, it doesn’t mean that at all, it means that you can get behind those goals and those strategies and make it happen. Then you have a real misalignment that could really hurt not only the company, [00:47:00] but people in the company.
That’s just so true. What you just said there, Michele. I think Chris, you brought up another interesting topic was, is the whole issue around bringing in external consultants in when is the right time to do that. And should you do that as an entrepreneur? And how do you get the most out of external consultants?
That to me, Chris, as you put your finger on a completely different topic, which could possibly be a one we can schedule for a future complete entrepreneurial. So I think that’s actually a really interesting one, a really interesting one of when should you have consultants coming in because consultants play a really important role quite often in businesses.
But anyway, I just want to jump down to Robbie. It’s great to see you on the complete entrepreneur and welcome to the stage. We’ve got a few minutes left. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Welcome. Hi guys. Thanks for having me on a first time in this room. I was really just [00:48:00] wanting to pick the brains of the people on the panel as something that someone regularly tells us as your organization needs a COO just waiting quickly to set the scene.
We are a not-for-profit social enterprise, helping support grassroots football, soccer and Scotland has been running for about 10 years. For the majority of it has been quite comfortable turnover rainbow 200 to 300 K four or five full-time staff members, myself as the CEO and underneath it, four or five technical specialists But nobody of any great seniority.
And that’s been the setup. I as a CEO and the founder, I’m a great I’m a great innovator. I’m a very good implementer, but I’m a terrible prioritizer and Thai manager. In terms of, my, my own progress on how I develop and progress the organization I feel as though, we’re going at 60, 70% because I’m getting so distracted by all [00:49:00] my new ideas all the time.
My issue is basically the finance in terms of what we pay our people. It’s very modest. They are part of our organization mainly because they enjoy the culture and they enjoy being part of our vision and be part of. So if we were to appoint a CEO, we would either have to find somebody in the same price bracket as the rest of our team, which includes myself and operate in the, the sort of bargain basement in terms of the price range.
Or we would have to employ somebody who was paid significantly more than the rest of the team myself included. So yeah, just not quite sure how to approach the topic, to be honest. So any advice would be very welcome. Yeah. Look, let me tell you that you’re asking some really good big questions.
And there’s a few things I would say. Number one is, do you really want to do. Is that what you want to do [00:50:00] as the first question to ask yourself, or, you know what I’ve developed this culture, and I really enjoy this business and I’m enjoying doing what I’m doing. Sure. I’m bit chaotic at times, what things are going well is otherwise so is this really what you want to do is to grow the business.
The next thing is quite often businesses entrepreneurial startup businesses get to the point where they need a COO and you know what you’re going to have to pay them more than you pay yourself, because what you don’t want to do is get a bad one. You want to get a good one. And it, and that could be quite a challenge.
Particularly if it’s a hand to mouth type business, then it could be that you actually take it. Salary hit it. Because you have a bigger vision, the bigger vision is to grow the business and then you’ll get a payback down the track. But it, that, that is challenging. And that’s the sort of questions that only you can answer exactly what you want to do.
Jeff, do you have some thoughts on that there? Yeah, I think that it’s a great question, Robbie, and I think that, when you have a [00:51:00] small team and you’re in this space that you’re in and it’s a non-profit and you’re chugging along nicely, but you just feel like you’re missing some things because of the points that you made.
One thing you can do is look from within and see if there’s someone on the current team who has the skills or the capabilities was more organized perhaps than you are, or more focused or has some more financial knowledge. And offer them the opportunity to take on those responsibilities. As Colin always said, assign responsibilities, take them though that role, it doesn’t have to be a COO.
It could be director of operations as the title. At first, it could be a VP of operations but in practicality, within the scope of your organization, they’re taking on the responsibilities of a COO. And for them, that would be a great jump on their resume. If they’re interested in that in those areas of skills to be a director of operations or VP of operations, and eventually that might help them move into a [00:52:00] COO role at a different company in the future, but it’d be a good stepping stone for them and a chance for them to take on more responsibility within your organization.
So think in terms of the responsibilities, you’re trying to unload, not necessarily the title and the expense of a COO from that perspective. Yeah, that’s some great advice there, Jeff. And we’ve had a really good time unpacking this one today. Yeah. It’s a big decision hiring a COO as you know what it’s probably going to cause you to change some old habits as well as an entrepreneur gain the right one.
Let me tell you, it will free you up to work on your business rather than in your business. And the outcome of it is very likely than regrowth, but getting that right. Pierces the Kate, I hope you’ve really enjoyed today. And you found you got a lot out of today’s discussion. I know I did. And it’s been great, but what I’d love to hear about is what’s going on with start up [00:53:00] at the club.
So what’s happening guys with startup.club? 800,000, and I think we’re about to click over. We’re a few members shy. If you are not already a member of start-up club, please, click on that little house at the top of this screen and join our. Tomorrow. I mentioned, we are talking about at two o’clock Eastern on the serial entrepreneur club hour, we are talking about hiring people for your startup.
And if you can put the right team together, magic can happen. So looking forward to seeing you there tomorrow as well. Oh, that sounds like a fantastic topic. That’s where soul also, if you’re in the audience, they are, you are seeking, you know what, that person’s really said. Something really interesting just clicked on their profile, have a read and you made it following them.
And I would encourage you to go ahead and do that. But the meantime, so what’s going on with the complete entrepreneur next week. Welcome to retailing is tackling an interesting topic, which is reducing entrepreneurial [00:54:00] burnout. When you’ve been going hammer and tongs and your business, and you’re working your 16 hour days, and it’s seven days a week, how do you actually manage that process?
Because it’s a real problem for entrepreneurs. And so where do we unpacking that? And what does it mean? And it’s a topic. I think I’m know it’s going to resonate with so many people. So I look forward to seeing you at 5:00 PM Eastern time, every Thursday, I’ll see you there and make sure you have a great week this week.
God blessed by Michael. Thank you. Thank you, Michael. Thanks everyone.