As a small business owner, what do you need to know about business operations? Why are operations important to your business? What is the difference between front-office and back-office activities?
Welcome to the first episode of the Ops Authority Podcast! Throughout this podcast you’ll learn about processes, people, systems, projects, and how they pertain to your business.
In this inaugural episode, you’ll learn about the history of operations and why you need (or will need!) a director of operations in your business. You’ll also get one practical action step you can take today to grow your business.
An Overview of business Operations
Operations are the backside of your business and a huge part of our lives.
The History of Operations
Businesses practiced operations starting in 5000 BC. However, how we view operations in modern-day started in the early 1900s when people started looking for efficiency.
Henry Ford created the assembly line in 1915, which cut a 12-hour process down to a 2-hour process.
In WWII, business started looking at data and making forecasts about demand in regard to fabricating weapons.
In the 1960s, analytics and service really took shape, especially in the banking and investment industries.
In the 1980s, digital products emerged so processes and project management became very important.
Operations are Important to Businesses Today
Operations create efficiencies, streamline your work, and allow you to serve clients or sell your product while increasing profit.
Henry Ford believed it was important to take work to the man and not man to the work.
“Operations hold people, processes, and the outcomes together.”
The Difference Between Front-Office and Back-Office Activities
Front-office activities are the “CEO Zone:”
- Strategy + Planning: What plan do you have in place to grow your business?
- Products + Offers: What will you sell or offer?
- Visibility: How will you be seen and heard? This aspect is comprised of marketing, messaging, branding, and PR.
- Selling: If you don’t sell, you don’t have a business.
Back-office activities are the operations or support side of business, and include:
- Human Resources, which includes payroll, hiring, culture, compensation.
- Customer Service, which involves serving and engaging your clients.
- Technology, meaning the automations and systems you have in place.
- Marketing, which incorporates the design, copy, and photography of the Visibility piece.
- Finance + Legal, which includes tax, accounting, financial planning, policies, risk management, agreements, contracts, and compliance.
Large companies have leaders over each of these areas, e.g. CIO, CFO, Chief Risk Management Officer, etc.
“We have to focus on lean structures so we can increase our profit margin.”
As your business grows so do the operations. When you’re in a growth phase of your business, you may need a director of operations (DOO). This person is detail-oriented, process-driven, and has the innate ability to take your vision and lead the team.
How I Became Passionate about the DOO Role
I started my career in cardiac care. Not only did I love the totally procedural aspect of healthcare, but I also loved my patients. When my husband and I relocated from Colorado to Texas, I decided to start a new career in a role that incorporated the clinical side of my healthcare background with administration and leadership. I was promoted to chief of staff for the C-Suite team at my company.
However, after a change in leadership, I needed to decide whether to stay with this company and continue to work the long hours or be more present with our two children. I took the offered severance package and spent more time with our kids.
As I dove into the world of online business, I saw small business owners who needed help. And I knew what they needed: operations! Over the past several years, I supported almost 50 businesses.
I wasn’t able to keep up with the demand, so I documented my proprietary Strategic Mapping process, and then I created a certification for women who wanted to do what I do.
Weekly Ops Activity
- Create a list of all of the back-office activities in your business today.
- Ask yourself who performs those roles.
- Pick your top three areas where you would like help or support.
- Go to the Ops Insiders Facebook Community (join here: theopsinsiders.com) to share your answers and for a chance to win a prize.
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