Is it time to hire an operations manager for your small business?

Are you spending too much time on administrative duties and not enough on the critical activities that keep your small business moving ahead? If so, it may be time to hire an operations manager. An operations manager can take the tedious, day-to-day activities off your plate so that you have time to focus on sales and marketing, developing new products and services, identifying and pursuing strategic partners and exploring new markets.

An operations manager can establish policies and procedures that help to boost productivity and efficiency among employees and establish a code of behavior and performance. Consistency in the performance of your team also helps to ensure quality customer service.

An operations manager also can take on HR functions, running ads for new positions whether in the office or remote. They can research employee benefit options, such as insurance and a 401 (k) plan. They also can serve as the “go to” person when employees have questions and concerns. In addition, they are responsible for safety precautions, including maintaining first-aid kits and fire extinguishers and for creating disaster plans.

You also may find that you are having trouble keeping up with necessary purchases for the office and even paying bills on time because you are trying to juggle too much. An operations manager will take over procuring supplies and equipment for the office and managing relationships with vendors.

Your operations manager makes sure that equipment, such as copiers, is in working order. Depending on their technical proficiency, your operations manager may even perform some IT duties and help you explore and make decisions about new technology offerings. For example, your operations manager can help identify vendors for new cloud computing solutions in which your software no longer sits on each desktop or somewhere on your network. Instead, service providers host your applications on remote servers, which you access over the Internet now redefined as “the cloud.”

Qualities to look for in an operations manager

In addition to their experience and knowledge of office procedures, finance and money management and technical skills, your operations manager should have:

Strong communication skills: An operations manager should be able to interact with every one of your small business team. They should have the ability to listen and be sensitive to someone’s point of view in order to resolve problems.

Analytical thinking: They should be able to identify problems and apply strategic thinking to come up with solutions.

Commitment: Your operations manager is a critical person in the growth of your small business. Whoever you hire must be committed to your success and to working toward your goals. They need to help instill a team spirit in your office.

If you are ready to bring on an operations manager, take time in making a decision. Find someone who thinks like you do in addition to having the right skills.

About Judi Hembrough

Judi leads Americas Marketing strategy and go-to-market programs for the Small and Medium Business (SMB) customer segment at Plantronics. Judi has been a marketing director at Plantronics for 10 years in various roles focused on Strategic Alliances Marketing, SMB and Home & Home Office solutions. Prior to Plantronics, Judi was President of William-Christie Associates, Inc. -- a management consulting practice, for 10 years where she guided numerous companies such as Palm, Intuit, CBS MarketWatch and HID, in driving new initiatives.