When you’re a young start-up, you need to maximize the aid of passionate, capable people while carefully managing your meager Series funding. Fractional work is a valuable tool that allows you to bring in in-depth experience and tested leadership into your company.
So what is fractional work? Employing a person on a fractional basis means they work with your organization part-time, in the same vein as a consultant or interim employee. Fractional workers block out a chunk of hours each week where they devote entirely to a budding start-up. Typically they fill high-level roles like CFO or CIO and often play a part in the development of several startups at any given time. A fractional worker helps drive the success of his or her businesses.
Fractional employment is a fabulous way to get high-level talent and seasoned expertise while on a budget. As a startup, you must be careful with your dollars -- a fractional CFO working a few days every month will save you hours of grief when it comes to managing money. If you don’t have someone to help navigate the pitfalls of human resources, a Chief Human Resources officer working three hours a week will keep you compliant.
Periods of radical growth
According to Jean Latu, Founder of Ingenio Solutions, the best time to engage a fractional person is when you're experiencing significant change, especially a during growth, period that places more of a burden on your organization than anticipated.
Let’s return to our CFO example. If your accounting team needs help with cash flow and bookkeeping strategy, an experienced fractional CFO can come in and revitalize that area of your business. Sure, when you’re just starting out, a bookkeeper working in QuickBooks can handle day-to-day transactions. But when you start growing in volume, a fractional CFO can analyze your financial behavior and make key strategic decisions to take your company to the next level.
When you’re sucked into the everyday happenings of your company, a leader who can draw on their expertise and do a well-rounded evaluation of how you can improve.
Finding fractional resources
The easiest thing to do when you need a fractional worker is started with Google. Search for “interim CFO” or “interim CIO,” and you’ll find a variety of delivery methods. There are individuals who market themselves as a fractional worker; there are firms like Jean Latu’s with a pool of talented individuals ready to go. You can also work with your network to find word-of-mouth referrals for people who can help.
Referrals, especially, are an excellent source of fractional aid. If somebody had a great experience, they’ll happily refer you to the fractional worker and can give you a much more detailed account of their expertise and work personality. As referrals are a critical way to find these experts, growing your network is essential.
Common fractional workers and fixes
As I said before, fractional workers are a huge benefit at critical change points in your company’s lifecycle. One of the most common change points is the unexpected departure of someone in a leadership position. You had a 60/90/120 day plan, and this person departing leaves a gaping hole in your growth.
Sure, you can immediately close the position, have people currently in your abandon their roles to fill the gap. The best choice, however, may be to bring a C-level fractional worker to take charge temporarily. This gives you an opportunity to benefit from their expert-level insight and some wiggle room in which to hire a replacement. A fractional worker, again, most benefits smaller organizations who can’t maintain a full-time interim person on staff.
Another common problem fractional workers solve is to provide leadership training to a younger company. In the beginning, startups go it alone and solve problems to the best of their abilities. A fractional leader who can come in to help implement software, update accounting processes, etc. carries a track record of success, passion and experience completing these projects.
Instead of spending months finding a full-time leader, save money and hiring expenses to start with a fractional worker who will perform well while staying cost-effective.
Jean Latu is the Founder & CEO of Ingenio Solutions, a consulting firm focused on accounting and finance. She leads a talented team of experts in finance and accounting who work with clients to solve problems, create efficiencies, and improve the bottom line.
Jean has worked on projects for companies like CarrAmerica, Coldwell Banker, and Marriott as a consultant. She joined Jefferson Well as a Director of Finance Operations and led their finance and accounting practice. She grew the practice to 40 consultants from 5 and increased annual revenues to $10M from $1M in 3 years.
Rick Girard is the Founder & CEO of Stride Search, an Orange County-based recruiting and consulting firm. Rick brings world-class leadership to firms across the nation to meet highly challenging business and talent acquisition objectives. With expertise in creative sourcing, consultative management and winning placement strategies, Rick Girard plants the hiring seeds for his partners’ success.
While not running a School for Gifted Mutants as Professor X, Rick hosts Hire Power Radio Show, a weekly series on OCTalkRadio.net which serves as an entrepreneur’s resource to solve the most difficult hiring challenges. When not on the air, Rick regularly gives talks and writes valuable content for Hiring Managers and Job Seekers alike. His mission: elevate and sharpen the industry standards of exclusive professional search.