Project Volk – The Operator

Continuing our posts on the essential structure of a start up, we now come to the Operator.

In contrast to the Visionary, The Operator, also known as the COO (Chief Operations Officer) is the right hand man. He executes on the dream of the Visionary, he organizes and helps create the Standard Operating Procedures for the endeavor, whatever it is and whatever is required.

“The Launch Place” gives a fairly detailed overview of the qualities and expected duties of the Operator:

The ideal candidate will have strong personal accountability for results, strong commitment to teamwork in support of the company’s success, adherence to ethical business practices, and comfort operating in a start-up environment with an ability to prioritize and drive actions to closure.

Responsibilities/Qualifications/Essential job Functions:

  • Reporting to the CEO, the COO will lead all internal operations and will have the following responsibilities:
  • Drive the operational launch of the company product in Q4 2014
  • Develop and execute an integrated go-to-market plan for the product, including feature roll-out, product positioning, and routes to market.
  • Assess market priorities and prioritize R&D investments.
  • Deliver agreed performance within budget. Performance includes P&L, market share, and customer satisfaction targets.
  • Work with Finance to develop a pricing model that ensures P&L targets are achieved.
  • Partner with Business Development leader to establish agreed mix of pricing, marketing programs, direct sales, and channel partners.
  • Manage and direct company operations to meet budget and other financial goals.
  • Develop, establish, and direct the execution of operating policies to support overall company objectives.
  • Working in partnership with the management team and board of directors, create the strategic five year plan and implement new processes and approaches to achieve it.
  • Lead the performance management process that measures and evaluates progress against goals.
  • Oversee all administrative functions, ensuring smooth daily operations.
  • Oversee contract negotiation and legal activities: client contracts, partnership agreements, vendor contracts, and other legal documents.
  • Manage the daily performance of the operations team. Use good meeting and project planning practices to drive focus and results.
  • Manage individual performance by establishing annual operating objectives for each employee with quarterly reviews. Also establish annual development plan for each employee and provide ongoing coaching.
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan for a rapid scaling of operational capacity through automation, process improvements or other productivity measures while maintaining high quality standards, rapid response times, high reliability and cost effective operations.
  • Interface with Product Engineering and IT Operations to ensure appropriate systems are in place to achieve goals.
  • Oversee the human resource function, including:
    • Recruitment, hiring, onboarding and retention
    • Compensation and benefits administration
    • Professional training and development

The work of the Operator is essentially endless. He develop systems and while these above mentioned duties are helpful to keep in mind, be reminded that not everything can or should be attempted to iron out when launching a startup. The essential point is preparation and action, and the Operator is essential to making that happen.

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