I’m not the only one who’s had to adjust my work hours and efficiency and capacity. Several of my CEO clients have kids now home and have way less time to work. So it’s also been incredibly imperative for them to have an integrator on their team so that they can still focus on the CEO tasks, the things that only the CEO and face of the brand can do, especially in the limited time that they have.
While an integrator is a crucial hire in these times, it should be noted that hiring an integrator isn’t a one step fix all solution in online business. There is so much talk right now in the online space about integrators, COO’s, and OBM’s. Online business owners are sharing about how they feel stuck. They have all sorts of ideas for offers and niches to serve, but are just overwhelmed by all the various aspects of running an online business.
I mean at its core, it’s pretty simple. As my mentor James Wedmore says, you just need to build an audience and sell them what they want. Right how hard could that be? But as people begin to grow an online business they quickly realize there is actually a bit more to it than that: you need a website to host your offer and your sales page, you need marketing funnels, you need to build an email list, and to build an email list you need opt-in freebies or lead magnets. Don’t forget you need to promote those lead magnets, so you also need consistent content like a podcast, a blog, or a Youtube channel. You also need to outsource and build a team because you can’t do all of this stuff alone. Or maybe as the CEO you have built a lot of this stuff, but it’s become completely out of control and unmanageable. It’s like a runaway freight train. You are drowning in overwhelm and you don’t know what you should be prioritizing in your business. So, yeah, it starts to get complicated real fast.
And what I see happening is that these CEO’s get stuck and exasperated and then they happen across a post in a facebook group that mentions the concept of integrator. So they go pick up the book Rocket Fuel, devour it, and they decide “that’s it! I’m a visionary and all I need is an integrator to solve all my problems!” Not exactly.
I’m gonna be straight with you, hiring an integrator or COO is not going to magically fix your business. Especially if…you don’t have an offer that’s converting….you don’t have an audience yet…or you don’t have regular recurring income from a 1-1 service or offer. It is often precisely those business owners who think that hiring an integrator is key. And so what happens is they bring on someone to be their integrator and a few months later they might have a few more projects completed, but they still don’t have a 6 figure business like they thought would magically happen. They have now spent a bunch of money that they don’t have any ROI for.
So here are some key points I want to discuss today:
1) Simply throwing money at a problem doesn’t work. If you are an online business owner that doesn’t have an understanding of online business strategy yourself, bringing on an integrator isn’t the solution because you’re still going to be grasping at straws trying to get an offer launched and selling. I see this not just with hiring an integrator, but when hiring for other positions on their team as well. For example, instead of learning anything about Facebook ads, a CEO will hire an expensive ads manager only to get burned because they didn’t understand anything the ads manager was doing. The ads manager doesn’t know your business and your audience so they need to work in tandem with you to get a successful ad strategy working. Same goes for hiring an integrator. It’s a partnership. In truly successful CEO/COO pairings, they work together to come up with a strategy and plan to achieve the desired goal or result. And while I always believe you should hire people that are experts in their specific zone of genius and should therefore probably know more than you in that zone, you should know enough yourself to be dangerous. Hiring an integrator isn’t your ticket to taking a back seat in your business. One of my favorite things is when one of my CEO clients wants to learn a new strategy or concept, so they will buy a course or a program and we take it together. We both go through the material on our own and then come together to share our notes and takeaways. Then we come up with a plan to put into action what we just learned. Often we actually have different takeaways and ideas because we have different ways of thinking and so then it’s even more powerful what we can create with the new knowledge.
Hiring an integrator, or any expert in your business, is not your free pass to dump all the “hard stuff” on someone else. Business will always have hard stuff and things to learn. That’s what makes it more satisfying when you do finally have that launch that kills it or see your email list hit 10,000 sign ups.
2) Your integrator is not an executor. This is a huge misconception about hiring a COO - that they are just going to come in and “do” all the things. Nope, that’s what virtual assistants are for. A great integrator knows how to do a ton of things so that they can step in when needed or teach a new team member, but they aren’t the ones executing on a daily basis. So if you think that hiring one person to your team as the integrator is going to be the doer, that’s not how it goes. The integrator is the manager of all the things. We manage the people who are doing the doing. We come up with the processes and workflows and the plans for the people who are the doers. That’s our zone of genius. Bringing on one person isn’t going to magically take all the tasks off your plate that you don’t enjoy unless you are also bringing on additional team members to handle those tasks. A couple of my CEO clients have very small teams and the so the CEO’s are still doing a lot of the little tasks themselves. But now I’m the one mapping out what needs to happen when and prioritizing the tasks for them. I spend a lot of time telling them what to do, rather than the other way around. And the final reason why an integrator won’t magically fix or save your business is that…
3) YOU still need to be the creator. At the end of the day this is your business and you still need to be the one with the ideas, coming up with the content, being the face, making the impact, and doing the coaching or teaching or whatever it is that you deliver. To hear more about the misconceptions that come with hiring a team and the importance of execution, then tune into this episode of Planning for Profit. Also I share with you the amazing things that happen when you are truly able to focus on being the CEO and step fully into that role.