I am in the midst of writing a follow-up article to one I have written to address some myths about startups and operations executives. In 15 years I have been through 9 startups (co-founder in 2 and early employee in most). In almost every one them I held different levels of hands-on and operations leadership roles. Every single founder, who brought me onboard, had certain "catalyst event" that made them realize it was time to bring on someone with deep expertise in scaling companies.
So this question is for those founders, who did bring a COO, VP, or Director of Operations to help them manage and scale the company. When did you know it was time?
In my case companies I joined had:
- Started signing up larger customers, where customer service and service deployment became something they could not just hack it
- Needed to recruit really hard to find talent and do it fast without murdering their culture
- Were in revenue plateau, since founders had no time to go see more customers, spend time on pushing the envelope with the product development, or even attend to mentoring their people
- Overhired and overscaled, so they needed to dial back and start over
P.S. I know on the coasts and in certain tech companies "operations" sometimes gets too narrow of definition (which should be DevOps), so to address that, I have an article "What do operations people do?"