3 Critical Roles in a Small Business
You can have as many job titles as you like - President, CEO, CMO, CFO, whatever – but the business still needs three core roles to be successful.
These are: the “Entrepreneur”, the “Product Specialist”, and the “Manager”. Staff do the work; the three roles define the business, the product, and the structure to work together. A balance between these lead roles is critical.
The Entrepreneur (President)
The Entrepreneur is driven by the buck. They are communicators, risk takers, and decision makers. The role identifies ways to make money by introducing identified products to target markets. As an outward-focused role, entrepreneurs are conscious of market needs and product benefits that determine how much a market will pay. The entrepreneur balances customer satisfaction with pricing and feature sets. (“It’s no good to give it away for free…”).
The Product Specialist (CMO)
The Product Specialist (Chief Marketing Officer) is passionate for productivity. His or her primary objective is to create products that enable capabilities and efficiencies. Product features extend existing capabilities and create new ways of doing business. Products are the source of value sought out by the Entrepreneur – to Product Specialist works with the Entrepreneur during product design. It is easy for a Product Specialist (or product team) to be consumed by research and product development activities. Left alone, many hours and dollars can be spent perfecting the product before it is introduced to the market.
The Operations Manager (COO)
The Manager is a critical role when the business grows beyond 5 people. As an inward-focused role, managers create environments where staff can work in unison. The objective: “Fire on all cylinders – all of the time”. Managers coordinate resources and develop core operational processes that leverage these resources in daily activities. As the organization grows, ensuring processes are suitable and “in control” becomes increasingly important to managers.
How Do You Size Up?
The interaction of the Entrepreneur, the Product Specialist, and the Manager is crucial to the efficiency of a small business. The balance can be represented by the three legs of a stool; some imbalance is tolerable, but too much will cause the stool to topple (business fail). The degree of imbalance represents lost productivity associated with not firing on all cylinders. Businesses leaders need to understand how the three roles are implemented within the organization and how managers may be challenged by conflicting concurrent priorities or personal bias. The organization structure, that defines roles and responsibilities, should support the balance between the Entrepreneur, Product Specialist, and Manager.
Running a growing business can be complex. Sustaining growth requires managers to constantly re-balance the changing dimensions of the business. At the same time, managers may be consumed by short-term activities (“fires”) that restrict their attention to growth development. Call us if you are in this situation; our coaching, advisory, and consulting teams help businesses accelerate their growth.