Fractional team members are all the rage these days with small businesses, and there is a good reason why. There is a wide range of what a Fractional CXO can help small businesses do, as described by other articles on this site regarding regard to COOs or CFOs. But, specifically for micro or small businesses, would a Fractional help you?
Let’s start with the basic thought process. Hiring a Fractional at any level helps manage the budget. It would be impossible for small businesses with less than 25 employees, to have a $300K salary on the books, even for a spectacular Chief Operating Officer who runs the whole business. And, the owner probably doesn’t need that much help and experience for a business that size.
But, without Fractionals, the owners of small businesses are stuck doing all the work themselves. They are fulfilling the roles of CFOs, COOs, CIOs, CPOs, CROs, CSOs, and CTOs. (I could continue with the alphabet, but you get the gist.) Not one of those roles needs to be filled by a full-time person in a company that size.
Full Time or Fractional?
Owners might think they should go look for an up-and-comer to help them, but then they are also guiding and directing the person who they need for guidance and direction. With a Fractional, small businesses get years of experience because the role is part-time without the high price tag.
Fractionals can go beyond the c-level suite as well. We used to call these part-time employees, subcontractors, or freelancers. Graphic designers, social media experts, project managers… do small businesses really need people in those roles as full-time employees?
Collecting a bunch of Fractionals to help you in your business can impact growth tremendously. All that wisdom at your fingertips, without the huge overhead!
Fractional COOs for Small Businesses
Let’s take, for example, what a Fractional COO might do for very small businesses of various sizes.
At 50 people, an owner likely needs a 1- to 2-day-a-week Fractional who has direct reports. The Fractional COO would help by advising and creating reporting in many areas, would help in developing the culture, identifying risks and opportunities, project management of high-level projects, and strategic planning.
But, at 10 people, owners of small businesses likely just need help getting out of the day-to-day. You can hire by the hour, usually, for these services or at low retainer rates. Before the owners can get to those bigger picture areas noted above, they need someone to advise on things like:
- what the best project management software tool is
- how to implement it
- where there are gaps in the processes (if you have them!)
- how to hold your team accountable
- and, how to make the business run without the owner in every detail
Owners might also need to create job descriptions and some of those non-C-level Fractionals to help execute the work. Essentially, small business owners need help learning how to scale and extricate themselves from the details.
Midrange small businesses (think 10-49 employees) need help with clarifying what those great employees are doing, correcting communication to prevent silos in departments (likely created by those great employees unintentionally), and making sure owners know what those amazing leaders are doing so their gap can be filled should they leave. At this stage, culture and leadership issues might also be becoming challenges.
Choosing the Right Fractional
Small businesses might only be able to afford one Fractional at a time – and that’s ok. But, how does an owner decide?
Fractional CFOs or COOs are usually the first hires. But Fractional CMOs are up there. It might be valuable to have both. Many Fractional CFOs working for small businesses will bring a range of services with them, from bookkeeping to taxes and being a trusted advisor.
Fractional COOs can range from consultants who give strategic advice (but the owner implements the work) to teams similar to the Fractional CFO team – with a COO, process development expert, and project manager for example.
Fractional CMOs will usually need to pull in a team to help execute against their recommendations because everything is so specialized these days. Everything needs an expert from website design and development to social media strategies to physical direct mail.
Small businesses likely need a full array of services as it helps remove burdens from the owners’ task lists. So, owners need to be certain what range of services they will be getting with the Fractional they hire.
About the Author
Susan Fennema is the Chaos Eradicating Officer (CEO) of Beyond the Chaos, a consultancy helping small business owners extricate themselves from their day-to-day business operations so they can grow their businesses and get their lives back. She and her team have served over 100 small businesses. With 30+ years of operations/project management experience in professional service industries, Susan is on a mission to improve American society exponentially. When not making multi-course dinners, she enjoys Texas A&M football games and Blackhawks hockey. She lives and works from her home in McKinney, Texas, with her husband and their dog, Shelby.
Today’s consumers are more connected than ever before. As a result, social media has become one of the essential tools for businesses to reach their target audience and drive brand awareness and loyalty. Social Media is playing an enormous role in the growth of businesses these days. In fact, according to studies, almost 80% of internet users now use social media sites daily. Therefore, if you want your business to thrive in today’s digital world, you need to understand how social media can be used as a marketing tool to increase brand awareness and drive sales directly from your website. The trick is knowing which social networking sites are best suited for your business, what types of content will be most effective on each platform and how much time and resources you’re willing to invest in creating engaging content regularly.
Decide on the type of social media you want to use.
The first step in any successful social media strategy is deciding which platforms best suit your business. Understanding that each social media platform has its own unique demographics, you may want to consider focusing your marketing efforts on a couple of the most popular sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, or diversify your marketing efforts across several different platforms. Some social networks, such as LinkedIn, are primarily geared toward professionals, while others, such as Instagram, focus on a much broader demographic, including teens and millennials.
Find your target audience.
Once you’ve decided on the social networks you want to focus on, you’ll need to research the demographics of each site to determine the best way to reach your target audience. While it’s helpful to know the number of users on each network, it’s also essential to research the types of content they’re sharing, how often they visit each site, and their engagement level when they’re there. This will give you a good idea of which networks to focus on and the best times to post your content for the biggest impact. By taking the time to understand who’s using each network and what they’re looking for when visiting these sites, you’ll be able to create more engaging content that resonates with your desired audience and drives more traffic to your website and sales.
Create exceptional content.
Once you’ve decided on the social networks you want to focus on, it’s time to create some high-quality content to post on these sites. There are a variety of types of social media content that you can include on your site, from blog posts and eBooks to videos and infographics. However, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not creating too much content for your audience to consume. Depending on the size of your audience, you may be able to post new content daily or weekly, but you don’t want to create so much content that you exhaust your audience or bore them with too much information. Similarly, you don’t want to just create content for the sake of having new content. You must ensure that each piece of content you post is engaging, interesting, and valuable to your audience.
Don’t just stop at one network.
It’s important to remember that social media is all about sharing content across multiple networks and platforms. While you may have a primary focus, such as Facebook or Instagram, you should also be cross-posting your content to several other sites as well. In fact, according to research, you should be posting your content to an average of 10 social networks. The trick is not just to be posting the same content over and over again. While it’s OK to repost certain articles on different networks, you should be altering the content for each site so that it better resonates with the users on that platform. Additionally, you may want to consider setting up a social media management platform, such as Hootsuite, so you can easily schedule your posts to go live at the optimal times for each network. This will help ensure that your posts are getting seen by as many people as possible on each site.
Social media is a powerful tool for reaching new customers and growing your business. However, it only works if you’re using it for your business and creating engaging content that resonates with customers. Start by deciding which networks to suit your business and target audience. Then, create high-quality content that is engaging and worth sharing. Don’t just stop at one network; post your content on multiple sites to reach potential customers.
RJ Grimshaw is a dad, son, and life learner, and I love the game of business! His passion is business coaching, in which I use the principles to grow and scale businesses by thinking less like a cog in the corporate machine and more like an active “Intrapreneur.” He helps companies revitalize their atmosphere and approach to business management to achieve maximum growth.