The Must-Have Traits of a COO: Rachel Beider in Forbes


Hiring a chief operating officer (COO) can be a daunting task for any business. Much of the operations lean on their shoulders, and you need to have consummate trust in their abilities. You want someone who is professional, yet in touch with your customers as well as your employees. It can be overwhelming to choose.

Whether you are scanning the global market or looking locally for a COO, there are some innate traits that go into ensuring you hire the best. Although the costs of a bad hire are sometimes difficult to quantify, they are definitely hard to ignore in terms of staff morale, productivity, and ultimately, financial losses.

Below, leading members of Young Entrepreneur Council give some insight into what makes for a great COO, whether it’s experience, attention to detail, integrity or other essential traits.

Members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the top things every founder should look for in a COO.

1. Integrity And Honesty

Hire someone who has high integrity, honesty, and is hardworking and willing to learn rather than someone who has a ton of experience. I interviewed a few candidates for my COO position and ended up hiring someone who is extremely dependable, fair, honest, and interested in the success of my company. We have a great work dynamic and he truly compliments areas that I need help with. - Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint

2. Being Able To Cross The T's And Dot The I's

In general, founders are excited by big ideas. A COO should balance out that visionary tendency with practical follow-through. The perfect COO for a startup is someone who can take the ideas of plans of the CEO, break them down into actionable steps, and ensure that they're done efficiently. With the right balance of a grounded CEO and a practical-but-ambitious COO, startups can go far. - Brennan WhiteCortex

3. A Lover Of Systems

I've founded two companies, and in each, I have brought on a different COO. There are a few things they have in common that made them successful: They love details, they're meticulous, they do what they say they'll do, and they are lovers of creating systems to make the company operate better as a whole, whether it's with or without them. - Darrah BrusteinNetwork Under 40

4. A Drive For Data And Actionable Metrics

To make sure daily operations are running in the most optimal conditions, a COO should utilize strategies based on data-driven decisions and actionable metrics. A COO should never rely on vanity metrics that show nothing valuable, such as having 800 sign ups for a service but only a few paying customers. Actionable metrics are more work, but are the only way to effectively evaluate and set goals. - Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

5. A Strategic Vision

It helps to get a COO with considerable strategic vision because they provide the framework for your overall vision and put a definition to it along with actionable steps. They can find the people to achieve that strategy and oversee their execution. I've found that a COO with considerable experience helped to direct where I was headed with my startup and offered new insights. - John RamptonDue

6. The Visionary And Integrator Archetypes

In Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, the case is made that a great business team requires a "visionary" and an "integrator." When these archetypes work together, they have effective synergy. Even if the founder isn't one of these, it’s good to notice what qualities they embody. Finding a COO who complements the founder means that the management team has a fuller, more diverse set of skills. - Peggy ShellCreative Alignments

7. The Right Mindset

As a venture studio partner, I see many startups focusing on skill set when hiring an appropriate operator, which often leads to major issues down the road, like conflict between mindsets. You have to make sure the attitude of your operator is aligned with the key strategic priorities and commercial impact of the decisions that are made by the business. - Artur KiulianColab

8. Experience Growing A Business

The one major skill you should look for in a COO is that he or she have experience with actually expanding and growing a small business or other venture. After all, that's going to be a major part of their work for you if you bring them on. They should have had previous experiences where they took an organization from its infancy to higher growth, and from medium success to over the top success. - Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

9. A People Person

COOs are useless if they cannot connect with people. As enforcers and systems developers, they implement and create ways to operate more efficiently. If they cannot connect with the people whom these systems affect, the chances of success and ROI are very slim. Communication is paramount, and being a cheerleader is preferred. Everyone wants solutions that make a system run smoother with less effort. - Matthew CapalaSearch Decoder


10. Attention To Detail And Bluntness

I need a COO with close attention to detail. If he/she notices all the small issues, it frees me up to focus on the big picture. He/she can fix daily problems while I worry about where my company is going long-term. It's helpful to have a COO who tells it exactly like it is. If they're handling the gritty details of what's going on in my organization, I want them to come to me with total honesty. - Kevin ConnerBroadbandSearch

11. A Keen Understanding Of Your Own Limitations

A COO is an extension of your hands and the person who accomplishes what you cannot. They fill in your deficiencies, whatever they may be (sales, managerial, technical). You are hiring someone to fill the business needs created by the inescapable fact that you are an imperfect person and the business requires more than you can give. The one thing you must know when trying to hire a COO is yourself. - Matthew NederlandenSecurity Camera Warehouse


As seen in Forbes

Rachel Beider featured in Entrepreneur Magazine: 5 Stories That Will Make You Rethink Your Leadership Style


When he first became a business leader, admits Krister Ungerboeck, CEO of Courageous Growth, in St. Louis, Mo., he was a bit of a jerk. “I assumed that the CEO should be the smartest person in the room,” Ungerboeck told me recently via email.

That was a mistake, Ungerboeck now cknowledges. Thanks to that mentality, he says, he tended to lead through criticism, he says. And that in turn led him to doubt the abilities of his team, and created an unproductive work environment.

But after receiving less-than-stellar feedback on an employee survey, Ungerboeck says he realized his leadership style wasn’t working. “When I finally realized that my leadership style left my employees struggling to feel inspired, I made a major transformation,” he wrote. “I learned that criticism is lazy leadership that is intended to pump up the ego of the boss by making the employee feel smaller.”

Since that epiphany, Ungerboeck has tried to do better by leading through encouragement. In fact, he now refers to himself as a “recovering a-hole.”

While his employees are now better off for the change, Ungerboeck is hardly the first boss to rethink his or her leadership style. Here are five stories of how other leaders came to realize they needed to do things differently:

Always be learning.

By his mid-20s Glenn Phillips was an award-winning entrepreneur. There was just one little problem: His software company wasn’t making money.

“While we delivered great systems and support, we were not profitable and I was not addressing the problem well,” Phillips told me. “I thought that I was smart enough and hard-working enough to ‘figure it out’ and solve our issues.”  

Eventually, though, Phillips realized he needed help. “I started educating myself about running a business,” he said. “The education included peers, classes and lots of reading. I studied businesses, cognitive thinking, sales, capital and more.”

Soon, his business began to turn around. Today, as the head of Lake Homes Realty in Pelham, Ala., he says he makes continual learning a priority for everyone at his organization. He says he hosts regular lunch-n-learns at the office and leads in-person trainings. The company even has a reading library, and if an employee finishes one of the books, Phillips takes that individual out to lunch to discuss what was learned.

Leadership takeaway: Set a good example for employees by constantly seeking new knowledge. This will ensure that your entire company will always be learning and improving. Tools like Workramp can help your team reach its potential.

Accept your new role.

When Rachel Beider, CEO of Massage Williamsburg + Massage Greenpoint in Brooklyn, N.Y., set out to expand her business, she quickly saw she was spreading herself too thin.

“I was trying to do too much, including still seeing massage therapy clients directly, and being involved in the day-to-day tasks,” she told me recently through email. “I started to feel perpetually stressed and burned out, and I knew I wasn't giving my best to the position.”

That’s when Beider set a deadline for herself so she couldn’t make excuses and put off the change. “Though it was a scary transition, it has allowed me a lot more time to work on important things and see the bigger picture," she wrote. "I had to learn to delegate. Now, I'm a lot more 'present' at work, with less on my plate, and open to more suggestions on improving the company.”

Leadership takeaway: First-time CEOs often need time to adjust to their new responsibilities. And it can be hard to give up old tasks that feel comfortable. But, as a leader, it’s important that you step up and accept the fact that it’s time to stop spending energy on things others can do, and focus on running the organization.

Be adaptable.

“When I had five or six employees, I managed them all the same,” Beck Bamberger, founder of Bam Communications, in San Diego, Calif. said in an email.

That worked for a while, she said, but once the company grew to dozens of employees, she saw she’d have to adapt. “There was one particular client meeting where I noticed a highly independent, quiet but well-liked employee was not taking my feedback as well as a bubbly, vivacious employee,” Bamberger went on to say.

What he told her, though, just didn’t seem to click. “We had this awkward pause in the meeting where we sat in silence for nearly 20 seconds before we started (thankfully) laughing. Then I said, ‘Okay, you're different from her.’ This was a little a-ha moment for me in terms of leadership that was adaptable for each individual.”

Leadership takeaway: Not every employee responds the same way to the same leadership style. Great leaders recognize each individual’s needs and adapt accordingly. This ensures that every employee can perform at his or her best.

Think quickly.

“A few years ago, when my companies were just starting out, my employees or potential business partners would ask me questions, and I would let them linger for a long time rather than answering them right away,” said Tony Jakstis, founder of Casa De Lago Event Centers, in Orange, Calif.

Not wanting to make a bad decision, Jakstis took his time coming up with the best answer. But, sometimes, stalling can mean missing out on big opportunities. “A good leader needs to be able to hear any kind of problem or opportunity and make a key decision that will benefit the company,” Jakstis said. “If it fails and something goes wrong, then at least I’ll find out quicker. If I’m right, the job will be done.”

Leadership takeaway: Don’t be afraid to be decisive. Even if a decision doesn’t turn out as planned, see that not as a failure, but a chance to learn.

Find support.

Danielle Wiley, CEO of Sway Group, in Corte Madera, Calif., never wanted to be a leader, she says. Nonetheless, she found herself at the helm of a fast-growing company.

“With the rocketship success that Sway saw in its first few years, my own personal leadership growth couldn't keep up,” she wrote in an email. “We were no longer a small company, but one that 35 employees' livelihoods depended on.”

The weight of that responsibility led Wiley to isolate herself -- and her team to suffer as a result. “I knew I needed to do better, I just didn't know how,” she told me.

Around this time,the executive attended a dinner for women executives. She was at the same table as a woman who kept talking about a CEO advisory group that she had joined. Wiley decided to give the group a go.

“At my first meeting, I quickly realized this group was exactly what I needed," she said. "I began to see that my concerns and frustrations were the same other CEOs were experiencing. The group gave me a newfound sense of confidence and direction that I was able to bring back to the team.”

Leadership takeaway: Being a CEO is an experience unlike anything else. Finding others going through similar situations can provide much needed support and guidance.

Article on Entrepreneur

Rachel Beider in HuffPo: Essential Ways to Keep Your Remote Team on Track


With more tools and programs than you could count now available to connect people from around the globe, remote teams are more in touch and telework is easier than ever. We talked to 14 entrepreneurs to find out what tools keep their remote teams productive and on the ball, from communicating across a country to ticking off tasks with ease.

A. Asana

I love using Asana to manage tasks for my team. We work very closely with each other on projects, so when employees are remote, Asana helps divvy up tasks, create timelines and keep us on track. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Basecamp

Basecamp has brought transparency, structure and accountability for our teams across time zones. For various types of projects, we have defined sample to-do lists in Basecamp; every time a new project is kicked off, teams can replicate those steps. I love the automatic check-ins that one can set up to remind team members. Also, via the Schedule feature, you can quickly spot whether your team has missed any milestones. - Shilpi Sharma, Kvantum Inc.

A. Bookend Meetings

We start and end every week with two critical meetings. Monday is focused on planning out the week, delegating tasks and ensuring everyone has a game plan. Friday is focused on reflecting on the week, noting any lessons learned and areas of improvement. This regular check-in cycle is critical to keeping everyone on track. - Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark

A. Cloud Tools

We’ve been managing remote employees since 2002, and cloud-based services (public and private) have kept this productive. Using online customer relationship management tools like Salesforce.com or Pipedrive, communication tools such as Skype and Slack and infrastructure services like AWS and Ring has made it possible to keep our team of over 30 members cohesive even though we’ve never shared an office. - Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

A. Confluence Wiki

We use an active Confluence wiki to keep everyone connected and focused on the tasks at hand. It provides us with one written record of the decisions from our meetings and one version of product specs. If anything changes, everyone gets automatically notified because Confluence sends out an email for wiki edits to the relevant parties. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

A. G Suite

We set up remote teams for a number of companies and we then integrate into the platform that they use. G Suite is definitely the most used platform among the companies that use our services. When we ask our employees which platform they most enjoy using, G Suite is the winner there as well. Google has done a great job of integrating everything our employees need to work with the companies. - Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct


JIRA has been the most effective tool for managing team members by departments, improving our development workflow and allowing us to keep communication centralized to increase accountability. It’s the single best platform for managing a team with multiple skill sets and with integrations for numerous other business applications that we utilize daily. - Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

A. Podio

I love the Podio management software for engaging with our remote team members over multiple locations of my business. It enables us to come together on projects, assign tasks and troubleshoot issues as a group with all of the knowledge in one place. I also love using it for company culture; we have a book club through Podio! - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg


A. Slack

Slack is one of the best tools for keeping team members connected, but it can be distracting without the right organization. If you want to use Slack for your team, I really recommend making full use of channels to separate different clients/topics/projects, because that will make everything more efficient. I recommend getting the subscription, because it allows you to keep old messages. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate

A. Teamweek

Teamweek is a great tool that lets you know what your team members are working on and vice versa. It’s especially great for osmotic teams whose work may overlap more often than not. When your team has a tight deadline, you want to make sure that you’re gelling all on the same page and being efficient, and Teamweek makes it easy to synchronize with one another. - Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

A. Telegram

We have found that the simplest and fastest ways to communicate are the best. Telegram is a great and secure way to communicate in small teams if you’re running time-constrained day-to-day operations, because you can organize into groups, easily find past conversations and quickly share files and information. It’s also very easy to onboard new people. We complement that with Asana for ongoing projects. - Patrick Linton, Bolton Remote

A. Timedoctor

We use Timedoctor to define project tasks and track the time and activity of remote teams. Timedoctor is a very strong tool: It can capture screenshots, track keyboard activity and pauses taken by remote workers. It will automatically detect a break and also analyze the type of websites and applications used. This helps us manage the team as if we were all in the same office, and it is also a very affordable tool. - Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

A. Trello

Hands down, Trello wins for us. Their free plan is more than enough for our team, but we organize every project using it. Nothing is better than content teams knowing where development teams are without having to ping them for an update. It’s fantastic for a meeting-less culture, but it takes discipline to truly make it powerful. Our team of 20 remote workers has fully embraced it, and we aren’t looking back. - Nick Reese, BroadbandNow

A. Zoom

Zoom is the best and most stable conferencing tool that I’ve found. It’s very good for video conference calls that won’t take forever to set up because someone’s sound is not working. You can also set Zoom up in the background and everyone can “co-work” from different locations, but be virtually together in a room. - Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

These answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Article Seen on: HuffPo

11 Easy Tasks a Virtual Assistant Can Do to Help You Become More Productive

Your time is valuable. What is one way to leverage a virtual assistant to streamline your tasks and make yourself more productive?


1. Email Triage

Having a virtual assistant who can answer customer support emails and manage your inbox is a lifesaver! You’ll want to work closely the first few weeks to set parameters, but allow them to handle easy requests like booking appointments, sending information and declining requests to “meet for coffee.” Over time you’ll be in your inbox less and less, freeing up valuable time.

– Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

2. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is one of the most important tasks a virtual assistant can help manage. Having someone keep tabs on bills, invoicing, payroll and other financial matters is imperative. By outsourcing your bookkeeping system to a virtual assistant, you can free up significant time each week. Not only are bills paid on time, but you increase the likelihood of finding financial inaccuracies sooner.

– Dave NevogtHubstaff.com

3. Delegation of All Admin Tasks

Give your smaller tasks and admin to your virtual assistant: setting appointments, tidying inboxes, creating reminders. These are great uses of a virtual assistant. If you end up in a lot of remote calls, having them on board to take minutes and make key action notes is a great way to free up your mental space for the meetings.

– Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

4. Organization

I utilize a VA for simple yet somewhat tedious tasks that require time and organization. I will create and share a screencast video of a process for ongoing tasks that need to be constantly organized, and I will send that along with full instructions to the VA. This way there is no confusion and I can be confident knowing that tasks that take time from my schedule will be completed properly.

– Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

5. Social Media Content Creation

Social media requires daily attention to grow your followers. You could have a virtual assistant focus on creating image overlays for Facebook using Canva.com and pinnable images on Pinterest.

– Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

6. Any Tasks That Fit Skills

I’ve found that virtual assistants are very flexible to take on all types of roles, including typing up all strategic documents, transcribing video conferences and handling all types of administrative work that frees me up to focus on bigger picture items.

– Zach BinderRanklab



7. Project Management and Follow-Ups

I use a virtual assistant whose job it is to follow up on all delegated tasks, make sure tasks are not overdue and send out follow-ups when employees or freelancers are behind on their tasks. Instead of having to spend a lot of my time following up on tasks assigned to others and making sure that tasks and projects are moving along, the virtual assistant will take care of that, making them invaluable.

– Marcela De VivoBrilliance

8. Appointments, Orders and Digital Paperwork

I use a virtual assistant to handle all my personal and professional appointments, do any product ordering or online shopping I need done, and fill in, file and take care of any digital paperwork. This saves me so much time and is well worth having this kind of support.

– Peter DaisymeDue

9. Tasks You Do Not Need to Be Doing

There’s a good chance you already know what they are. It could be trying to move a graphic a pixel over on your website or trying to schedule and post things to WordPress. Get someone to handle the simple tasks so you can free yourself up to do more big-picture thinking.

– Ismael WrixenFE International

10. Calls and Scheduling

My company has depended on virtual assistants to answer our calls for years. Before I was able to afford front-desk associates, I relied on virtual assistants to book all of my appointments so that I never missed a call while I was in a session. Now, we still use their services for client relationship management, reminder calls and appointment bookings when my front desk is unavailable.

– Rachel BeiderMassage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

11. Routine, Repetitive and Time-Consuming Tasks

If you don’t have an assistant, you probably are an assistant to yourself. Getting one could be an excellent way to magically get more hours in this mythical 40-hour work week. If you already do 80 hours per week, that’s the time to review your workload, identify repeatable tasks and delegate them to a virtual assistant. Start with the most time-consuming and often-recurring chores.

– Andrey KudievskiyDistillery


Article Originally Posted in Noobpreneur

Building Your Unofficial Board of Advisors

As much as we would love to, (me especially) no one can do it all by themselves. Reaching out to mentors, teachers, and guides over the years made a huge difference for me at important times in my career and in moments of transition. I've sought out people who can walk me through growing pains, who can be a sounding board for ideas, and who I can turn to for support and advice. They are my unofficial "Board of Advisors" and though they have no financial interest in my company, I will often take them out for coffee or lunch and ask them about specific work questions and concerns. We talk about everything ranging from which credit card processor to use and what to do when you want to start a maternity leave plan, or tough subjects like dealing with a difficult client or landlord. My recommendation is to fill your "Board" with a variety of different people and try to stick to people working successfully both within your industry and outside of it. Choose people who inspire you: knowing that they are on your team will help encourage you and give you the confidence to take more risks. 

PS. If you need someone by your side, I'd love to join!

You've got this,