So why does ever business need an operations manager? Doesn’t the owner, or founder, or creator, know how to operate their business? Isn’t hiring a marketing and sales director more important than hiring an operations manager?
All of these questions are good ones and ones I am asked nearly every time we consult with a one person entrepreneurial type business person who either has a service they are offering or a product they are selling. The bottom-line is, in today’s economy it is near impossible to develop a profitable business without someone to focus on the operations.
Business Plan Is Not Enough
It is great to have a business plan filled with stats, figures and mission statements. Unfortunately, a business plan usually is just a piece of paper..or in today’s world…a document you call up on your Chromebook.
Where most businesses..and business people…fail is in the execution of the business plan. They are unable to turn what is stated on the business plan into reality. This takes a person who knows how to pull out of the business plan what the product is and put wheels on it so it can be sold.
In a few cases the founder of the business is an operations manager or a builder of something. This usually leads to the conversation then being their need to find someone to focus on the marketing. However, finding marketing help is much easier than finding experienced operations help.
Just Marketing is Not Going to Cut It
Over 85% of businesses set up on a marketing plan will fail. The 15% that succeed do so only because the product or service is some sort of consulting or sales service or device that is based on their experience. However, even a consulting business hits a wall eventually since there is never an process built for the business to follow when high volumes of work is to be delivered.
In general a business today needs someone to market and someone to make sure what is marketed can be delivered. That ‘someone’ cannot be the same person. From my experience a successful business today is managed to 20% marketing and 80% operations ratio. This puts a lot of pressure on an operations director which means they need to be experienced.
Marketing Driven Business Are Heading for a Hard Fall
Unfortunately, over the past 25 years businesses have put more emphasis on Marketing meaning the balance of 80% of the business being operationally based turns to it now being more marketing driven than operational. This change is still going on today and is driven purely by economics.
Businesses, especially the millions of businesses who took the IPO route, quickly find they need to focus more on generating revenue than delivering the produce or service they are selling. As a result operations people are forces up to the front lines to sell…sell…sell. Over time the people slated as operations managers..the people in charge of making sure the product gets produced…are now selling the product before it is produced.
Over the years, the number of experienced operations managers has dwindled. Today finding anyone with even a few years experience in operational management is near impossible. Formal education cannot replace practical experience needed to oversee a business’ operations. Having someone who is not afraid of getting their hands dirty is what it takes to succeed.
Hot Potato Position
Unfortunately, the businesses run by a number of marketers treat the operation management position as a hot potato. None of them want the position because it requires WORK..it is not a glamorous position and very seldom is associated to the high monetary rewards handed out to marketing/sales positions.
Operations Management is a Must
There is no way around the need for someone to handle the work it takes to keep a business’ operations going. Today, the need for a solid business operations is a must. The problem is there are not enough experienced operations managers available to make this happen. Solution: Find someone experienced to manage the operations and train others so that experience is passed on.
I’ll be back to take about what an operations manager needs to know how to do..or if you are the one to get the hot potato what you need to realize. Until then…
Let me know how I can help.
Also published on Medium.