HomeEntrepreneurshipNumber One Problem With SMBS By John Knotts

    Number One Problem With SMBS By John Knotts

    Would you like to know what the number one problem is in most small and medium businesses?

    Answer: They lack a true c-suite!

    A c-suite is much more than a bunch of high- paid executives with fancy titles that start with the word “chief.” These are highly sought-after business experts that have in-depth knowledge, skills, and abilities in their line of work.

    As a client recently told me, she expects a chief operating officer to have gray hair.

    C-suite positions typically are found in operations (COO), marketing (CMO), sales (CSO), finance (CFO), and information and technology (CIO). However, there are many different c-suite positions in business today.

    A c-suite position is a senior executive leader over their line of work. They normally have over 15 years of experience, have worked with several companies, have managed and led large teams, and often have a strong educational background.

    So, why is this such a big problem in small and medium businesses?

    Most owners, presidents, and chief executive officers (CEO) of companies don’t know all the ins and outs of all the aspects of running a business. Typically, the entrepreneur that starts a business is really good at what the company delivers but doesn’t have a lot of experience in other areas of running a business.

    All businesses benefit from a strong executive leadership team – a c-suite.

    So why don’t these businesses have c-suites if they are so important?

    Great question!

    The answer is simple. They can’t afford to employ a c-suite.

    C-suite executives – good ones – are very expensive and desire a lot of benefits and perks that the business just can’t afford.

    For instance, a chief operating officer’s salary starts at about $250K USD and can climb past

    $1M USD with bonuses! That doesn’t even include business ownership, special benefit plans, different recruiting and hiring approaches, their own office and assistant, and the list goes on and on.

    But, if not having a c-suite is the number one problem small and medium businesses face, and they can’t afford a c-suite, what do they do?

    Enter the concept of fractional c-suite support.

    There are many business professionals in the world that have moved past being a full-time employee with companies. However, they still might want to work with businesses on a limited basis.

    This is what a fractional role means. They come into your company as a high-level contract executive, but only work for a limited number of hours every week or month.

    As a fractional chief operating officer, I’ve worked with clients as little as 10 hours a month to his much is 30 hours a week. Some fractional positions even work full time, but as a contracted employee.

    There are many benefits to hiring these c-suite people for a contracted strategic engagement.

    First, although expensive, they typically cost less than a full-time salaried c-suite employee. Plus, you don’t have to invest in all the benefits and perks that a full-time person would require.

    Thus, you can get a great deal of expertise at a fraction of the cost.

    Second, as a contracted employee, their role is to come into your company and quickly stand up a function that reflects their expertise.

    In the case of marketing, as an example, they might build a marketing strategy, create a marketing funnel and processes, develop key marketing channels, and then hire a marketing director to run what was stood up. The fractional chief marketing officer might then transition to a coaching role for the new director.

    Last, since the fractional role is contracted, if they are not working out they are very easy to let go and replace. When you have a full-time c- suite executive, getting rid of them can be very challenging and expensive.

    Think about your business today. Imagine if you had a suite of part-time experts to cover the key areas of your business, such as operations, finance, technology, marketing, and sales.

    Consider how quickly your business might grow, scale, and improve with this type of expert support. In no time, you would be replacing your part-time fractionals with full-time c-suite members.

    John Knotts
    John Knotts
    John Knotts is the owner of Crosscutter Enterprises. He is a personal and professional business coach and consultant (coachsultant) and Fraction Chief Operating Office (COO). John has over 30 years of experience strategically starting, growing, scaling, and improving businesses. He has worked with 1,000’s of businesses in for-profit, nonprofit, and government; both manufacturing and service-oriented; and across many different industries. John started in the United States Air Force and served a solid 21 years until retirement. He started his own coaching and consulting business in 2008, upon his retirement, but then went to work with Booz | Allen | Hamilton for three years. From Booz Allen, he worked as an internal coach and consultant for United Services Automobile Association (a Fortune 100 company) for seven years. John now works full-time coaching and consulting, and as a Fractional COO, for 1,000s of small, medium, and large businesses. John is many-times published author and professional speaker and trainer. John owns several other businesses and he his wife own one of the largest equestrian businesses in south central Texas. More can be found out about John at his website at


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