You’ve heard me talk about my operations certification, but what the heck does that mean? Do you need a director of operations in your business? Should you be a director of operations?
A director of operations is a professional who helps business owners take care of the back-end of their business so the business owner can take care of…well, business. The money-making activities. The things that keeps the business afloat.
What is a director of operations?
The question here should be, “What isn’t a director of operations?” because she fills so many roles in a growing business. She is…
- The go-to person for the CEO and the team members in the organization
- The person who runs the day-to-day operations of the business
- The creator, holder and upholder of standard operating procedures
- The person who hires and, if necessary, fires employees and contractors
- The manager of projects and leader of teams in a growing business
- The has-your-back team member who works behind the scenes to make the business owner (and the brand as a whole) look darn good
Why is the director of operations such an important role?
Sure, you can take on the director of operations role in your own business. Often, that’s what business owners do. But it’s not always realistic in the long-term because many CEOs are born visionaries, not systems and back-end people. I know you’ve heard me talk about the Kolbe assessment and how it can help you determine your own strengths.
Business owners who are growing and scaling struggle with keeping the back-end of their businesses in shape. They struggle with managing their staff and making sure their clients are taken care of.
While they don’t have any problem getting the work done and being the go-to person in their industry, it doesn’t always look that way from the outside–without a director of operations. The director of operations is the person who holds it all together. And frankly, they can usually do it with ease. (Time to throw away the duct tape and Elmer’s glue!)
There are three types of people in the small business space:
- One is that person who needs to hire a director of operations, pronto.
- One is that person who isn’t ready to hire a director of operations but needs help cleaning up the back-end of their business.
- And the third is that born operator–that person who has director of operations written all over her.
1. You need to hire a director of operations
Your business is growing and you feel like you’re just barely treading water in your business. Not because you don’t have clients, but because you have so many clients you’re not spending enough time working ON your business. You’re spending late nights and weekends catching up on paperwork, marketing activities, financials, etc. and your family is frustrated (so are you). Your contractors or team members seem to be floundering and you don’t have the time or patience to manage them. You’re ready to scale, but you fear that any more business growth will cause you to implode.
Yep, been there. Growth is such a great feeling as a small business owner because it means we’re stepping out of our comfort zone a bit and earning more money, but it’s often a time when we panic because we don’t know what the next step is. If someone could just take all the back-end guesswork off our plates, all would be good. And that’s exactly what a director of operations can do for you.
2. You’re not ready for a director of operations but you need HELP in your business
This is a common challenge for people at the cusp of growth. You can’t grow without systems, but you’re not a systems person and don’t have a director of operations in your budget. But, again, you’re spending late nights and weekends doing all the things in your business that need to get done so you can serve your clients well.
When you’re at this stage, learning how to get some systems set up and how to clean up the back-end of your business is preferable to letting projects slide and having clients tell you peace out. Get your most important systems and process in place until you’re ready to hire a DOO of your own.
3. You’re a born operator and you’ve got this shizzle already
You are a gem of processes and back-end operations are your jam. You love a to-do list and can see the vision in a systematic way. And did you know that you’re a commodity for SO many business owners? (Seriously, sister. I get calls from those folks every. single. day.)
But sometimes those future directors of operations are stuck in a space of being an online business manager or virtual assistant. Now I’ve seen OBMs and VAs build thriving businesses that they love, helping business owners with administrative tasks. Like in any industry, there are some people who are looking for something else. (Right? Every business owner has a natural progression and their businesses can grow in different directions.)
You want to do more and serve others in a way that helps them grow and thrive. That list of what a director of operations is? That’s so you.
A director of operations gets giddy over a tight back-end (get your mind out of the gutter–we’re talking business here). They love a well-curated Trello board and notifications that work on auto-pilot. They jump with excitement when it’s time for a team meeting (because they’re in charge, y’all) and aren’t afraid to tell their visionary CEO client when they’re straying too far from their goals and messaging.
I mean, you’re able to do it for yourself. Why not take on this role for someone else?
Sound dreamy? You might be ready to uplevel with a certification so you can attract the clients who are looking for exactly what you want to do!
Whether you’re a born director of operations, someone who needs a DOO in their life, or you just want to learn how to clean up your own business back-end, this is a role for every size of business. Don’t let the title fool you. After all, you are the CEO of your own business. And that’s no joke. Go on being that boss.