When should a startup make its first ops hire

Startups often delay hiring operations staff, because the founder or CEO may be reluctant to hire someone who isn’t directly involved in developing their product. That can be a mistake, however. The operations manager, or chief operations officer (COO) or VP of operations, helps make the company function. At Kruze Consulting, we get asked a lot of operations questions by founders (in fact, we’ve got a lot of videos on startup operations). And we typically recommend hiring an operations person once your startup reaches 10 or 12 employees. 

The biggest reason for hiring an operations manager early is that it frees up the founder or CEO’s time. Often with startups, the founder is involved in every decision, and if he or she isn’t available, things come to a halt. An operations manager helps keep things moving and deals with a lot of the details, making things run more smoothly. 

While operations duties vary between companies, typically they include:

  • Overseeing and improving operational systems and areas, like IT, human resources, and finance, and coordinating communication between business functions..
  • Supporting management and financial reporting.
  • Assisting in organizational planning and long-term business planning.
  • Developing budgets, and monitoring and approving expenses

An operations manager keeps your startup on track

Operations staff have wide-ranging backgrounds to match their responsibilities, and their most important quality is being able to dive into a situation and figure things out. With an operations manager, employees, service providers, vendors, contractors, and all of the other people and organizations that interact with your startup have a person they can contact to get instructions or resolve issues, rather than waiting for the founder. And that allows the founder to focus on developing and building the business. If you have questions about startup management, operations, or accounting, please contact us.