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Why Your Startup Desperately Needs a Chief of Staff

As a founder, your tendency is probably to do everything yourself. Instead, learn why hiring a chief of staff helps you drastically improve workflows and spark growth.

Key takeaways:

  • Startup owners frequently get burned out, especially when they don’t have a full executive team assembled yet.
  • Hiring a chief of staff helps owners create much more efficient workflows, get help with strategizing and decision-making, and get their time back to focus on company growth.
  • Responsibilities of a chief of staff include managing operations, resolving staffing issues, taking on communication for executives, and acting on behalf of executives.

Many startups don’t come out of the gate with a complete C-suite or team of managers. Founders may be taking on many of these roles themselves, so they quickly become overworked and burned out, both of which get in the way of business success. One survey found that 63% of entrepreneurs deal with burnout.

One solution: hiring a chief of staff (CoS). A CoS will help you maximize your time, make clear decisions, and streamline operations to amp up efficiency. Let’s talk about why this role is especially critical for startups.

How a CoS can help a startup

Right off the bat, working with a CoS means you have an expert who can put out fires of all shapes and sizes. They help executives communicate with employees, organize your business and its processes, and ensure collaboration is taking place across the team. 

These perks are especially important for a startup business. Young businesses likely don’t have all their workflows up to speed just yet. They’re still trying to define what they are and who their ideal audience is. They’re still figuring out the best ways to make an impact.

There are a lot of gaps to fill with startups. Without a complete roster of executives behind the work, decisions are harder to make and strategies are harder to round out and execute. The business may not have enough managers yet, either, to oversee all team members properly.

This is where a CoS steps in to handle all of these frenetic moving parts. The top benefits of bringing in a CoS include:

  • They will create more efficient workflows
  • They can increase time for executives to focus on growing the business
  • They assist with business decision-making
  • They increase productivity for the team
  • They implement strategies outlined by executives
  • They help business leaders create strategies

Business owners can rest assured that a CoS will take charge of their most pressing company concerns. They will also do so in the most efficient, effective way possible.

CoS responsibilities

Let’s now take a look at what the day-to-day will actually be like for a CoS at your startup. What do they do, and how do they do it? Here are their common tasks and responsibilities:

-Operational tasks

Part of the CoS’s role is to ensure daily business operations run smoothly, which includes monitoring processes, teams, goals, and outcomes. This person should be able to take on a high-level, big-picture view, as well as understand what’s happening in the day-to-day.

-Executive team assistance

When business leaders need help with collating and following up on “action items” from meetings, prioritizing their schedules, or business planning, the CoS takes on those responsibilities. They may even act on behalf of executives with external parties.

-Document and proposal drafting 

The CoS can be responsible for drafting agreements, proposals, or letters based on leadership goals. They ensure key points and terms are presented, and they correspond and negotiate with third parties as needed.

-Brainstorming and strategy

CoS’ aren’t all behind the scenes, and they may have a hand in coming up with the best business strategies. They contribute ideas and can coordinate feedback integration from others in the business. They often make suggestions to leaders and provide new perspectives on issues.

-Communication management

Startup founders may be challenged to consistently and effectively communicate with employees. CoS’ take on this role, filling that gap and ensuring that the executives’ policies are successfully communicated to the team. They may frequently act as a liaison between executives and employees.

-Identifying metrics and KPIs

Because CoS’ have a good picture of what’s going on with the business at a given time, they’re great people to put in charge of identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) and other important metrics for the startup business. They may set up a system for these measures to be tracked, analyzed, and incorporated into decision-making.

-Staffing responsibilities

Hiring and retaining the right people is a top concern for startups. It’s important to find talent that aligns with the vision and mission of the business and can fit in with the rest of the team. The CoS either manages hiring and onboarding duties themselves, or they work closely with Human Resources to establish hiring goals and staffing policies. They may be involved in writing job descriptions, vetting candidates, and conducting interviews.

Because CoS’ wear many hats in a startup, you can include them in a variety of areas, assessing where help is most needed. Hiring a CoS helps you get your time back so that the logistics behind the business are taken care of, and you can focus on serving clients or meeting growth goals. 

How Chiefly Consultants can help

When you’ve got too much on your plate and you could use some expert help, consider hiring a CoS with Chiefly Consultants. We provide help on a fractional basis so you can continue your work as a founder without over-resourcing your business.

Our CoS’ are highly skilled individuals with experience working for a variety of companies, including startups; some are even founders themselves. They’ll step in and help you get your time back, reducing business dependency. 

Learn more about what we can do for your business by contacting Chiefly Consultants today.