How a Fractional COO Can Help Scale Small Businesses and Improve Their Processes
Changes that come with the growth and development of small businesses are delicate and vital. You must navigate how to manage your processes, delegate tasks, and manage the rising work hours without combusting. Hiring a fractional COO could be the answer to your prayers.
Find out on this episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast with John Corcoran, in which he features Chad Glasscock, owner of Future State COO, a company that offers fractional COO services that helps small businesses, entrepreneurs, and CEOs attain their desired future state in an achievable and sustainable manner.
Mr. Glasscock shares the methods he uses to help small businesses grow, and the impact his services have had on the companies they work with. The guest also shares the mistakes companies are making in their processes, how to handle them, and how to deal with push backs from company leaders who are too stubborn to delegate.
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Key Resource List
0:06 – Podcast introduction
0:49 – Mr. Corcoran shares the best solution for documenting standard operating procedures, SweetProcess, highlighting a 14-day free trial.
1:32 – The guest speaker, Chad Glasscock, is introduced.
1:38 – Glasscock speaks to what he does and how he helps entrepreneurs and small businesses.
2:20 – Glasscock shares if he uses the same methodology to get results for every client.
3:23 – Glasscock shares how his citadel training impacted the success of his business.
4:27 – The guest speaker talks about how he got into putting processes and systems in place for companies.
6:57 – The guest shares a real example of the impact of his company and how it has helped businesses.
10:32 – Glasscock speaks on the kind of clients he helps—such as pure startups and growth redundant clients—and the reasons clients come to him.
12:50 – The guest speaker shares common myths and restrictions you’re heeding to and are affecting your process, and how to solve them.
14:46 – Glasscock talks on how you can deal with push backs from leaders who have trouble delegating or reject input from others.
16:16 – Outro
Chad Glasscock is a business management expert and a reliable fractional COO. He is the founder of Future State COO, a company that provides fractional COO services to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and CEOs. It is a service that makes companies more money, reduces work hours, and gains freedom by optimizing their business for sustainable growth and profitable scaling.
Glasscock has 20 years of operational and entrepreneurial experience and has held positions as a COO, director of operations, general manager, and project manager.
Transcript of the interview
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now let’s get started with the show.
John Corcoran: John Corcoran here, host of the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Take a look at some of our past episodes. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of E Myth and many more. And this episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. Have you ever had team members ask you the same questions over and over again, and it’s like the 10th time you’ve spent explaining it, well, there’s a better way, and there’s a solution. It’s SweetProcess. It’s a software that makes it drop dead, easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff.
John Corcoran: Not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operations. You can use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time so you can focus on growing your team and empowering them to do their best work. Sign up for a free 14 day trial. No credit card required. Go to sweetprocess.com. Sweet like candy S-W-E-E-T process.com.
John Corcoran: All right. So my guest today is Chad Glasscock from Future State Fractional COO, and Chad, I’ll just turn it over to you. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do through your company.
Chad Glasscock: John, thanks for having me. So I provide fractional COO services to entrepreneurs and small businesses who are trying to either start, improve or grow their business. My ultimate goal is to help them achieve their desired future state, whatever that looks like. Typically, that involves growth, and a lot of people come to me because they kind of hit that growth ceiling and they can’t really figure out well we’re scaling revenue, but we can’t manage processes and systems and things like that and that’s what I do.
John Corcoran: And this is a very meta question, but you help companies to put systems and processes in place, but at the same time, when I think about what you do, is it different every time or do you kind of take your own medicine, and I imagine you have kind of a process that you go through with your clients.
Chad Glasscock: Yeah. That’s a really good question. And it’s a good question because yeah, there’s a lot of existing systems and processes out there, right? And when I say cookie cutter systems and processes, I don’t mean that in a negative way, right? But everybody does it take something out of a box and it fits perfectly. So yes, I customize what I do for each individual business based on their specific needs.
Chad Glasscock: Generally there’s some theory and practice that I’ve used over years in my own personal experience in helping others, but all that just kind of folds into what is it you need. It’s your business and we can develop systems and processes that fit their specific needs versus just trying to cram them into that out of the box solution.
John Corcoran: And you attended the Citadel, very prestigious training background. What did that upbringing, that training, what do you bring that to the work that you do today?
Chad Glasscock: Well, yes. I attended the Citadel but not as a cadet just FYI. I came in as an evening, undergraduate adult learner, but at the same time, there’s a lot like going to school anywhere I guess will produce discipline and the need for [crosstalk 00:03:55] and process.
John Corcoran: Even just being around the Citadel I imagine you would pick up things.
Chad Glasscock: Absolutely. I mean, I think one of the bigger things that I aligned myself with with the school is their honor code. And frankly, that just speaks a lot to my personal core values. Things like transparency and helping others succeed, things like that. So yeah, I definitely aligned with a lot of the values that come out at Citadel but I was not a cadet, so I can’t really speak to that regiment and the benefits to that.
John Corcoran: Right. Right. How did you get interested in helping companies to put better systems and processes in place? What brought you to that?
Chad Glasscock: Frankly, I’m a business management geek. I like talking about it. I like thinking about it. I love the ins and outs of day-to-day operation. Obviously there’s strategy and all these other things that can be systemized but what I realized was that a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs are really good at monetizing their idea, right? And obviously there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s important. You’ve got to do that, but they kind of lose sight of the importance of some of those day-to-day details.
Chad Glasscock: And typically I’ve found that this is a huge generalization. Obviously you can’t put people in these tiny little boxes, but I see a lot of the entrepreneurs I run into, they either understand the value of all those details, but just don’t have the time to get to it, or they’re spread themselves too thin with too many hats. And they can’t afford somebody to do it 365 days a year. So I saw there was a need there. And then that other bucket of entrepreneurs that I kind of generalize are the ones who think sales solves everything, right?
Chad Glasscock: And they don’t see the value in the details and the day-to-day structure of things. And again, that’s a huge generalization. There’s obviously a lot more nuance to it than that, but I focused on the former, right? I focus on those who understand the value and know they need it. Either they don’t have the skills or the experience to do it, or they don’t have the resources to do it or the time. And so seeing that there was that need and finding that I really enjoy those things, and I’m also passionate about small business and helping entrepreneurs succeed, it kind of developed very organically into a business.
Chad Glasscock: Well, I’ve spent my whole career in operational leadership and frankly, I almost worked myself out of a job in my last COO role because I put so many systems and processes in place. So I think combining all that together, I think there’s an entrepreneurial need, and I think I have the skillsets to provide service there. And typically when I come in, I’m not trying to embed myself into an organization for the longterm. I mean, my goal is to help them achieve that desired future state and then replace myself with somebody who can do what I do 365 days a year.
John Corcoran: That’s a great point. And tell me a story about some of your clients that you’ve worked with, maybe it’s this, what you’re talking about, working yourself out of a job with your last COO position, but it was kind of a success story of how you’ve seen putting systems and processes in place have helped them does it, does it help the business owner to be less stressed? Does it help the employees, the staff to get along better? Paint us a picture.
Chad Glasscock: Yeah. Well actually it starts with your second point, at least in our leadership standpoint. If you could come in and help a business owner or entrepreneur relieve some stress, I’d say that’s a big deal for anybody, but that’s what I think is always the first piece or first milestone, I guess you would say, and my clients progression is that you give them the structure and the space to work on the business versus in the business. And I don’t remember the exact line, but basically by creating awareness, you’re creating improvement, right?
Chad Glasscock: You don’t necessarily have to take any steps right away but just the awareness that you get from bringing someone in outside from an outside perspective, giving you a place to focus on solving problems or building strategy, whatever that is. Just having that awareness of what you’re missing immediately starts relieving some stress and helps them improve but long-term, and I mentioned sales solves everything. Obviously I’m not against sales, right? I mean, revenue is important, and so typically that’s the end game, right?
Chad Glasscock: We’re just trying to grow sales, but how do you do that in a sustainable way? So that’s kind of the next piece after you create the space and start relieving some of that stress and help them see the roadmap to complete their vision or not complete, but achieve their vision. The next phase is really all about helping them put a structure and processes in place. And then again, that structure gives them a lot more clarity than they had typically before. And when I say structure, I’m not talking about just an org chart, I believe Gino Wickman, we spoke earlier in his book Traction, he talks about the accountability chart. I’m a big fan of that tool and that concept, but what it does is it creates accountability and clarity in your company.
Chad Glasscock: So once you have that accountability, a lot of times that’s what’s missing to push a vision forward because an entrepreneur can’t do everything forever, right? He’s got to delegate and elevate other people. And then in order to do that effectively, you have to have accountability. So once you’ve given this space, you’ve created the accountability and the clarity with structure, the next milestone would be, “Okay, let’s improve and refine processes so that you can build a sustainable business, right?” So that you can scale revenue, however, how you want and know with confidence that you have the system and the processes in place to fulfill product promises, make customers happy, grow and develop your team.
Chad Glasscock: So again, ultimately the goal is everybody wants to grow revenue, but typically I make them kind of pump the brakes on that. Most entrepreneurs don’t like that, right? They just want to keep pushing forward. So I try to help them simultaneously build all this stuff into place so that their success story is, “Yeah, we grew revenue. We doubled whatever that number it looks like.”
John Corcoran: Right. Typically, what brings clients to you? In other words, what stage of growth are they at? Or is it typically that they’ve had some kind of breakdown in the process or drop the ball with a big client or they’ve hit a revenue ceiling and they find they can’t get past this point or just the owner is completely stressed out, hasn’t taken a vacation in three years? What is it that brings them to you?
Chad Glasscock: All of those things. Typically, but yeah, I think the growth ceiling is a big one as far as we’re doing everything we can, and we just can’t seem to push past this point, and typically a lot of that comes back to because they can’t fulfill it, right? Like, “Yeah. We’ve scaled up a little bit, but then we can’t make everybody happy because we don’t really know how to manage this many orders or provide this much service.” But I mean, I mentioned accountability. That’s usually a big one too for leaders not wanting to feel like they have to have their fingers on everything. They want to be able to empower other people and make them accountable. And they don’t really know how to do that. So structure, systems, processes, things like that because obviously help.
Chad Glasscock: I’d say part of all of that. I mean the gross ceiling pain point, the accountability pain point, I think it all ties really to a profitability standpoint. A lot of times that’s the issue, right? Like, “Okay, we’ve grown revenue, but our resources have scaled with it and we can’t figure out how to be profitable and our cashflow is horrible.”
Chad Glasscock: And frankly, I think this is a short answer, but the quickest way to fix profitability is through processes and systems and making things more efficient and more consistent. And so those are some of the big ones, as far as why clients come to me. Sometimes it’s a little more nuance like the things I just spoke about. Like, “Hey, I don’t know what my structure’s supposed to look like. I hired my cousin and my nephew works here and we just kind of became this company. We need to figure out where we’re going.” And so structure is another big one that people need help with a lot I found.
John Corcoran: Well, we’re running out of time, but any final thoughts or tips or advice for companies that are listening to this, maybe they haven’t done a great job of putting systems in place. They realize they’re dropping balls, they’re stressed out all the things that you talked about already, but they would like to get a better system in place. Where should they start? What else should they be thinking about right now?
Chad Glasscock: I think it starts with what they should be thinking about exactly. Or specifically is that processes are not meant to be constraints. They’re constructs for building your business. And I think a lot of small business owners are concerned about putting too much process or system in place because they feel like it will limit their team’s ability to innovate and grow and improve. And whereas it’s really the opposite. And so I think if people could kind of get past that concept of restriction and think about it more of a way to include others and facilitate other people’s empowerment and growing and developing and reframing the way they think processes, I think is a big step in the right direction, right?
Chad Glasscock: And I say that to also say that inclusive leadership is a big part of everything I talk about and what I do. I don’t think processes are meant to be handed down. I think they’re meant to be built by engaging stakeholders. So if you’re trying to go out there and make your own processes for your company, don’t just sit in a room and write it all down and hand it out and say, “Go do this.” You need to be inclusive. You need to bring all the stakeholders to the table and give everybody a voice. And you’ll end up with not only a better process, but you’ll get buy-in. So the process will actually be executed. And then if you get the results you want.
John Corcoran: That’s an interesting point. Yeah. So do you get pushback on that piece from business owners that tend to want to have their hand in everything feeling they can’t let go and let their team create these processes?
Chad Glasscock: I think intellectually, no. They accept it and understand it, right? And frankly, maybe they haven’t even thought about it and as soon as I say it out loud, they’re like, “Yeah, that’s what I need to do.” But at the same time to your question or to the point is that yes, there are typically entrepreneurs who’ve been wearing tons of hats. They kind of do everything, right? I mean, they’ve had to make the product, market the product, sell the product, write the checks, whatever, right?
Chad Glasscock: So it’s tough for them to let go initially, but as far as pushback, no. I think once they hear it, they already understand it intellectually, it’s just a matter of accepting it and then figuring out how to do it. And so as long as you’ve been given the framework to operate that way and delegate and elevate, as I mentioned earlier, and let go of some things and realize that the collective brain power that they have is going to push them a lot further than just them sitting in a room by themselves figuring it out.
John Corcoran: Well, Chad, this was great. futurestatecoo.com is your website. Where can people go to contact you in addition to futurestatecoo and email or any other way of contacting you?
Chad Glasscock: Yeah. I mean, obviously the website’s a good landing place. You can find me on LinkedIn, but my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Corcoran: All right. Great. Thanks so much, Chad.
Chad Glasscock: Thanks a lot, John.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14 day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up, go to sweetprocess.com, sweet like candy and process like process.com. Go now to sweetprocess.com and sign up for your risk-free 14 day trial.
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