Episode 119

Connecting with the RIGHT Operational Human for Your Business

June 14th, 2023


Today I’m chatting about how to know when you’ve found the right operational human for your business.
We dive into:
  • What to look for in a VCOO
  • Why experience in different businesses counts
  • What you should avoid
  • Looking for connection driven humans

Connect with Nicole on Instagram @theartisansolutions 
Nicole’s website: https://theartisans.com.au/
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Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners we experience firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be. If you’re looking for smarter ways to work, and create space and time freedom in your day, then you’re in the right place. All right, let’s go.

Hello, I’m Nicole Smith, COO, Operations Specialist and Systems Designer over here at The Artisans Business Solutions, and welcome to Take Control With Nicole. Today, it’s going to be a fabulous episode, we’re continuing talking about virtual COO, and all of the things that come into play when you’re actually looking for your human to suppport you alongside in your business journey.

So, first of all, let’s have a recap the past episodes that we have been talking about various topics relating to virtual COO, what is it how to when I’m ready, the six traits that really sort of indicators that jump out and say, yep, that’s me. What’s the costs of actually investing in someone to come and support you in a virtual COO capacity? But today is about who is your virtual COO? How do you know that they are the best human. And so we’re going to look at some traits that a premium virtual COO hold in the daily ways of working in their business as well as how they support you, in side your business.

First and foremost, how do we know what to look for? Well, me and my business, and actually just generally in life, if you are a good human, that tends to be the first point that will get you along the line. Are you someone who really looks at micro details or the overall experience? Do you actually genuinely care about the people that you’re working with on the other side of the Zoom Room, sitting next to you in the meeting, and really going through that journey, that is an opportunity to look at new things are in different ways, but can be challenging when you’re really pushing the barriers of what is normal and what they have always known. Being able to really be in a room with someone or be in a container, we call them containers. And when you’re in our virtual COO container, you’re feeling supported, you’re feeling surrounded, you’re really feeling that experience that any question is possible, and that we are there to support you to go through all the things. I talk frequently about this, that any support human in a consultancy way or a an ongoing support capacity has an element of coaching in it and support. And so that’s what we’re doing as well.

Being a good human coming to the core of it is key. Your Virtual COO should hold experience across a variety of businesses, sizes and industries. Now, why is this important? When you have, may not have had say, corporate experience, there are a lot of things in that corporate land that you just take for granted, because they’re already in place. You’ve already got tech systems that you’re applying for leave through, putting your expenses through, reconciling all the sorts of things. There’s things that are already in place, policies, procedures, systems tech, like ways of working that are so fixed, that it’s almost not not enjoyable in some ways, it’s very rigid to move around. Whereas then you’ve got small business well, which is very flexible. And you’re able to think of an idea, conceptualize an idea, design it, create it and connect it. Potentially in a few hours, depending on the size of your business. And so being able to work with someone who’s had experience in both ends of the scale, really will allow them to support you to discover what fits best for your business and for your working styles, and your team.

So, an example is in our business, I have worked in all the different things from solopreneur all the way up to multinational corporate land, seeing how things are done really well and really badly as well. And really being able to lean into those ones that I know have connected with me. So, as we’re designing our ways of working or reviewing them at the moment, my real focus for our team is to bring in async working and continue to support async working and build sustainable work practices. So, no one will in my team will ever feel that urgency and push to do the things right away. If that makes sense. We’re planning, we’re communicating, everyone’s working in aligned with how they best work and operate. Now, I know that that is not the best design for every business.

There are some businesses that are in a physical location, they have certain time parameters around them, there are certain things from a regulatory point of view that we needed to tick off and keep in records, etc. But what is been really exciting is that because of having that visibility on both ends, I’ve experienced what it’s like that if i’m aligned with how my business operates. But I can see how that aligns with how another operation will like to manage their operating ways of working as well.

Now something as well, that I love to hear is when someone says, there’s always a way, we have to just discover at what it looks like for you. Now, you’ve probably heard me say it. And that’s not the only reason why I’m saying it’s a thing to identify how you know, it’s a premium virtual COO. If you’re having a conversation with anybody that’s coming to support you in your business, and you hear the words, cookie cutter, mus,t should, the only way is, nope, that’s not an option, or anything like that it’s very short, sharp cut, I would be second guessing your commitment or your engagement with that human.

Now, there are some ways, obviously where you know, I’m going to contradict myself here, where there are regulatory requirements that are very stuck and firm, there will not be much wiggle room. But in the general day to day operations of your business, this is your space, you get to decide how things are operating. And being able to have someone that supports you, that holds a vast array of knowledge around operations. And what is and is not possible, can really provide you with those opportunities to say, Okay, this is what you’re doing right now, this is the ideal operating experience that you want to set up and stress structure for your business. These are the options that we could investigate. And this is the process on how we can transform it from concept to connected with your team. Fabulous.

Hey, there just interrupting this episode to share with you a guide that you are going to want to explore. Are you a ClickUp user at the moment? Or have you been sitting on the fence and hearing me talk about it each and every week? And just wondering, what is the next step to take? Well, I’ve created a guide that’s going to support you on your journey to really design your ClickUp Spaces, be able to create those and then connect them into the way that your business operates each and every day. My community have told me that this guide has been a game changer in the way that they really look at their ClickUp Workspaces, and operate each and every day. And you can access it as well. So pop on over to my website, the artisans.com.au backslash freebies, and access the action takers guide to ClickUp. How fabulous that you know, you’re ready to evolve your ClickUp journey. You’re ready to move from where you are right now to where you have always known you want to be. Reach out let me know I love to hear all about your journey in ClickUp. So I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Okay, so another trait is that they hold really solid and strong business foundational information. So, they really understand the combination of systems people and tech and how when they’re beautifully aligned with your business bigs and where you’re heading, how the ma-, that’s when the magic happens. So, being able to really have those conversations and when you’re hearing things like foundations, structures, set-ups configurations, IT security. That’s another one, do you have backups? Have you got security groups in place? If you are at a stage where that is really a focus, say your team is scaling and you’ve got a number, number of accounts, consistency and even the way that you purchase equipment. If you’re a if you’re a business and you’re providing IT equipment for people, do you have a standard way of managing your assets for your business? So, there’s lots and lots of things in there. But when you’re working with someone at that level at that virtual COO level that’s looking at your business holistically, they have an idea, and they know they’ve experienced what it is to be in finance, what it is to understand HR roles, operational, IT, marketing, you know, all the things who keep on going. But they really have an idea of what is involved in all of these parts, and how what you’re creating is going to connect them all weave all those threads together.

Problem solving, and troubleshooting, ah, this comes back to there’s always a way, right. So, this is one of my favorite activities to do. And which is why I just love being in and pressing all the buttons and discovering what is going on. I know today, I was talking with one of my fabulous clients. And we had a mountain of data that we had exported from a particular custom-built database. Now, this database has not yet designed the reports that this client needs to really at an easy press of a button, export that data, there’s always a way remember that. So, we did the combine and use V lookups. And all the fun techy stuff in Excel, love Excel. love it so much fun. And what we arrived at was a really clean set of data that we could actually use to enhance our data experience and pull through that high level reporting information that was not yet available from the custom-built report.

Now that is just one little example of, Ah, okay, we don’t have it yet. What are we going to do? This is the solution. And this is how we go about it. And of course, surprise, surprise, we’ve recorded some videos and created some SOPs for that client. So, going forward, if we’re not there to help them to run those reports, we’ve now handed that over into the team. And they’re confident to continue to be able to replicate and bring that data out so they can report up to the CEO about performance from this particular system.

Now creative solutions as well. Sometimes what you think maybe the answer, or what Dr. Google has told you, doesn’t work. So, being able to have that mind of okay, outside the box, what is just peering around that corner, what potentially could we do with problem? How do we get to that solution, being always solution focused and knowing that there will be a way and if you don’t know, they also have contacts on the people who do know. So, really, premium virtual COO humans are connection driven people. Connection in tech and but really, it’s about the people. So, you will know that these people are really doing their most fabulous work. As they’ve got the little magical, I’m going to call it a black book, pink book, but contacts of premium other providers that can come and slot in when and if needed. As a virtual COO, we’re not experts in all the silos, we’re not marketing experts. We’re not HR experts, we’re not tech experts, we’re not finance experts. We have enough knowledge to be able to make an informed decisions for the business and structure. But when it comes to expertise, we also already have those connections in our environments, in our remit. Whatever the word is, its escaped me, right in the peripheral there, that can jump on in and support our clients to keep on moving through. The other thing is that we are people, human, people, humans, human peoples, we love working with people. So, where you already have a fabulous team of consultants that are supporting you, or in your internal team, your virtual COO just slots on into the ways of working there and really forms beautiful connections with your team that’s trusted and be able to, you know, form those alliances to really support that change management process.

That’s my next point navigates change smoothly and supporting the team through that process. I love that when it just naturally organically falls through. This is a really important one, when you do have a will regardless of To be honest, regardless of size of business, change management is a whole thing in its own place. And it’s a whole other conversation maybe for that one, but where you have someone that can just align in with your humans in your business, and support them through those times where they may not feel confident right now with this new way of working, the process and the experience transforms from Ah, there you go. Work it out to, what support do you need right now to feel connected with this new way of working?

We have workshops, we have conversations, we’ve got chats going on all the time to make sure that your team feel supported. Another thing with your premium virtual COOs is that they create the space to support you with big thinking and curious investigations. Sounds a bit like Sherlock Holmes, right? So, when we’re looking at new ways of working, we don’t know what we don’t know until we discover it. And sometimes in these conversations we allow, we don’t even allow, we encourage curiosity. Where are we right now? What’s not working? Okay? What’s the flip? What would be the ideal situation for us? Fabulous, let’s investigate how that could look and feel and shape and all the things. And then we can bring in little waves and threads of knowledge that we’ve acquired from the years of working in different industries, sectors big and small, and be able to align them with this thought, how can this particular piece of knowledge align with the idea that you’re conceptualizing and how we can we transform it into reality. And finally, when you have a premium, virtual COO, as I’ve mentioned in the previous episodes, really come in and view your business at a holistic level, what this means is that they can really quickly identify the parts that need and are ready to evolve to the next level.

So, from a let’s just talk about tech, right? So, we’re covering systems, people in tech. That’s the whole remit of ops, all of those things connected. Your ways of working, your operations of your business. But to say we’re looking at the Tech, and there’s a bit of a blocker, your person, your virtual COO can come in, connect in with that piece of tech. Doesn’t matter what it is, and connect on in, and then go, Okay, if we change this, this and that, your experience will be transformed. I know that we do this with ClickUp. You know, we love ClickUp. We do this with ClickUp all the time. Our clients come in. And they’ve just made a simple shift that seems logical. And we can completely see and this is something we see time and time again, using statuses for the wrong purpose, for example. And so from one conversation, the experience from that system has gone from clunky to seamless. Our humans that are in that room are happy, the team extended are happy, they now can see how they look at their data in different ways. And now we know how this particular point connects into the broader experience of what you’re creating for your business.

So, your virtual COO comes in at a holistic level. They can micro in. We’re talking about marketing, we can focus in on that. We’re talking about this we can focus in however, when we are focusing in we’re always hovering above up here thinking how is this connected to your business and you as a whole? There we go.

I’d love to know what you have discovered if you’ve worked alongside an operations human or a virtual COO, before any of those traits, something that you’re like, Oh, yes, that makes total sense. Nicole, pop on over into my DNS and let me know. But overall, comes down to being a good human, and a human that aligns with you as a business owner. If you have that strong connection of trust and curiosity, and ready to see how things can be. There’s always a way, just go to discover how it works for you. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. Have a fabulous rest of your week, creating clever systems for your business. Bye now.

Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on socials yet? If not, please come on over say, Hi. I’m on all the platforms at The Artisans Solutions. So, I’d really look forward to seeing you over there. And if you enjoy today’s episode, don’t forget to tag me and I’d love it if you could leave a review. And of course, share this with others, so others can come and join us next time. All right, then everyone have a fabulous rest of the week. And until next time see you then



Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.