6 Ways a COO Can Help Your Startup Climb the Entrepreneurial Mountain

Statistically, successfully climbing Mount Everest is nearly three times more likely than launching a startup that’s still active a handful of years after it starts. At least 71% of those who commit to climbing Everest fail to reach its peak, while a staggering 90% of startups fail. The risks that come with adventuring 29,000 feet above sea level are far greater than starting a business, as nearly 300 people have died during their attempt, but there are similarities between mountain climbing and entrepreneurship.

The most important similarity between climbing a mountain and starting a business is the necessity of teamwork. Nearly 8,000 people have reached the top of Mount Everest, but only two, have made it there on their own. Regardless of how skilled and determined the CEO of a startup is, the chances of building a noteworthy business from scratch without a team is just as unlikely, if not impossible.

The COO serves as the sherpa who guides the team to the top of the mountain to reach their goals. Adding a COO to your startup’s team may seem like a luxury that can wait. However, without one, it’s easy to go down the wrong path and end up frozen halfway up (a bit dramatic, but you get the picture). Here are six ways a strong COO can help your startup climb the entrepreneurial mountain that awaits:

  • Guiding Vision

Guiding vision

Outside of mentors and advisors, the CEO looks to the Chief Operating Officer to help guide the ideas and vision. My biggest job as the COO for several startups is helping the CEO problem solve to make sure the company’s direction and goals are in line with the most realistic and profitable direction it can take.

  • Lead Financial Planning

Financial Planning

A company without a disciplined financial plan is bound to fail. A COO is likely to take on the role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) until the company has more of a need, or the ability to hire, a CFO. Having this role addressed early will lay the financial groundwork for the company and help plan a roadmap for the company’s growth to avoid running out of cash.

  • Goal Execution

Executing on a goal

The small percentage of startups that remain standing years later have been able to execute — deliver on their goals. The goals that are vital to a company’s success are envisioned by the CEO; the COO carefully weighs the business’s options and plans the execution of those goals to bring them to life based on the CEO’s vision. Think of this as the CEO wishing to climb the mountain, and the Sherpa (the COO), mapping out the best route to safely reach the top.

  • Recruiting the Right People


No great company has ever been built without a supporting team. Mapping out the structure of the company — what employees are needed and when — is one of the most important duties of a COO.

  • Networking


Networking is absolutely necessary for startups, but CEOs don’t always have time to network effectively. COOs help connect businesses with people and resources that can create beneficial relationships. A few introductions can lead to new hires, a round of fundraising, publicity, and more. Make sure your company is constantly networking, and the COO is a great choice to oversee this effort during the early stages of your company’s existence.

  • Creating Processes

Creating Processes

Startups inevitably experience problems. By proactively creating processes (accounting procedures, employee guidelines, incorporating the business, etc.) in your business, a COO can help avoid costly and time-consuming setbacks to your business’s goals. This ranges from making sure your business is properly incorporated to having the right accounting system in place. COOs create effective processes based on the type of business and its goals, and change those processes as needed to protect the business and align it to maximize on growth opportunities.

Need help climbing the mountain? Contact Michael Straza at ConsultStraza.com to see how I can help your startup overcome early challenges and make sure your business is on the right course for success.

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