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Leadership from the Back Office

When a business reaches $100 million in revenues, business support functions must become business leadership functions.

Although not always considered the most glamorous work, support functions are critical to success, especially when a business is scaling. Early-stage companies, focused primarily on strategy and revenue growth, are quite successful with a basic back office. But at around $100 million in revenues, the game changes and gaps in support function capabilities can become obstacles to growth. When your business support functions are not performing, you will feel the pain in every decision you make. It is time to invest.

Human Resources - Without the right team on the field, organized in a structure that empowers employees, allows information to flow and enables effective decision making, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow. At the $100MM pivot point, organizations must operate in a matrix environment requiring new skills for leaders at all levels. Further, as decision making is dispersed, culture becomes more important – a set of shared values that support a customer-focused environment of collaboration, integrity and innovation. The right HR partner will help you build a high performing team and establish the culture your business needs to expand.

Finance – At $100MM, accountability for results becomes more difficult. This is when the difference between accounting, an important but backward-looking exercise, and finance, a forward-looking planning and measurement process, becomes obvious. Transparency into how the business is operating, where the problems lie, and which executive is accountable for what results, is ever more critical. A great finance team will not only keep your books straight but will provide planning and reporting that allow you to keep score and objectively evaluate risks and opportunities.

Ops/Tech – Technology and process are foundational to any business. But as businesses grow, tools and processes need to scale for efficiency and operating leverage. At the same time, the obsolescence cycle for technology rapidly accelerates. The demand for new tools greatly exceeds your capacity to implement. So where do you invest first? And how do you increase your chances for success? An experienced, business aligned, technology executive can help you to create a roadmap that prioritizes your investment to better serve your customers, drive efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance.

Project Management – The teams in your business are all trying to do the right things for your customers, improve the right processes and deliver new products. But there is no master plan for project execution. Resource constraints become problematic and soon, projects never get to completion and if they do, the results are disappointing. At $100MM in revenues, a Project Management Office, or PMO, may be required to move the right projects forward at the right time within your budget. An effective PMO will help you to establish the tools and processes you need to get things done, with minimal project management bureaucracy.

Regulatory Compliance – No CEO arrives at work every day intending to violate regulations. But at $100MM in revenues, compliance can no longer be person dependent. The best regulatory compliance approach builds compliance into the way you do business.


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