A COO for a start up needs to handle Everything! What I mean by that is that the COO is the “wingman” to the CEO/founder of the company. They need to be able to deal with all things operational. Depending on the individual company or CEO, the COO needs to be able to deal with HR, compliance, financial and administrative support too. A COO needs to be a “Girl Friday” who can handle all aspects of the business. The COO needs to be adaptable and can’t follow a specific cookie cutter set of tasks. For example, a small start up would need a flexible COO that has a legal degree since HR or simply real estate lease contract negotiations would likely be part of the duties. A start up COO might need to have the ability to deal with regulatory matters and compliance issues. A start up COO should always have great social skills since they will be interacting with various different groups both inside and outside of the start up. For example, the COO will have to interact with employees and HR staff (if any). At the same time the COO might have to deal with outside attorneys and inside legal support. If it is a particularly small company, the COO should never be too proud to handle front office concerns. In short, the COO of a start up needs to have a wide range of practical experience not just theory in a variety business practices.
WOW, have we got a perfect COO…:)