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  • Writer's pictureShawn Dunahue

PART ONE: The Power of Fractional Experts in Small to Mid-Size Business Success

In today's dynamic business landscape, operating and growing a small to mid-size business requires a multifaceted approach that integrates operating systems and technology, empowers a skilled team, and prioritizes lead generation, revenue growth, and customer engagement. As entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of scaling their ventures, they often encounter challenges in balancing these critical elements while striving for sustainable growth. However, amidst these challenges lies an opportunity for leveraging fractional experts—seasoned professionals who offer specialized expertise on a part-time or as-needed basis—to catalyze business expansion and success. In this three part series, I'll highlight the pivotal role of fractional experts in driving operational efficiency, fostering team empowerment, and unlocking the full potential of lead generation and customer engagement strategies for small to mid-size businesses.

Part 1: Navigating the Back Office Maze: Building Foundations for Growth

For small to mid-size businesses, establishing robust back-office systems and tools is akin to laying the groundwork for a sturdy foundation upon which growth can flourish. In this intricate maze of options, the choices made in selecting and implementing these systems can significantly impact the trajectory of the business. From accounting software to CRM platforms and beyond, each tool plays a crucial role in streamlining operations, enhancing productivity, and fostering scalability.

Here are some systems worth considering: Accounting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resources Management System (HRMS), Project Management, Inventory Management, Marketing Automation, Communication and Collaboration, Customer Support, Point of Sale (POS), Business Intelligence, and Analytics. While standalone options exist, many vendors now offer integrated platforms, recognizing that managing multiple systems adds unnecessary complexity for SMB owners.

When it comes to selecting the best systems for a small to mid-size business, several factors must be considered to ensure optimal functionality, scalability, tracking, and reporting capabilities.

Scalability: One of the foremost considerations is scalability. As the business expands, the chosen systems must have the capacity to accommodate increased volumes of data, users, and transactions without compromising performance. Scalability ensures that the systems can grow alongside the business, minimizing the need for disruptive transitions to new platforms in the future.

Tracking and Reporting: Effective tracking and reporting capabilities are essential for informed decision-making and strategic planning. The chosen systems should offer comprehensive tracking of key metrics and generate insightful reports that provide actionable insights into various aspects of the business, including finances, sales performance, customer engagement, and more.

Customization and Integration: Every business is unique, with its own set of processes, workflows, and requirements. The selected systems should offer a degree of customization to adapt to the specific needs of the business seamlessly. Moreover, integration capabilities are crucial for ensuring that different systems can communicate and share data effectively, eliminating silos and streamlining operations.

User-Friendly Interface: Ease of use is paramount, especially for small to mid-size businesses with limited resources and technical expertise. The chosen systems should feature intuitive interfaces and user-friendly functionalities that minimize the learning curve and empower employees to leverage the full potential of the tools.

Cost-Effectiveness: While investing in robust back-office systems is essential for long-term growth, cost-effectiveness remains a critical consideration for small to mid-size businesses.

The selected systems should offer a balance between features, functionality, and affordability, ensuring that the investment yields a favorable return on investment (ROI).

Fractional professionals specializing in back-office operations can play a pivotal role in assisting small to mid-size businesses with the selection, implementation, and incorporation of these tools into their operations. With their wealth of experience and expertise, fractional professionals offer valuable guidance and insights throughout the entire process.

During the selection phase, fractional professionals conduct comprehensive assessments of the business's needs, objectives, and existing infrastructure to identify the most suitable systems that align with the organization's goals. They leverage their industry knowledge and network to recommend proven solutions that meet the specific requirements of the business while ensuring scalability and compatibility with future growth plans.

Many times, after the assessment phase has concluded, fractional professionals specializing in back-office operations often extend their services to include outsourcing of specific functions, such as accounting, bookkeeping and tax preparation. Additionally, they may provide Professional Employer Organization (PEO) solutions encompassing employee benefits, HR administration, payroll management, risk management, HR compliance, and talent management. These professionals may also offer technology support and management to ensure smooth operations across all facets of the business.

During the implementation phase, fractional professionals oversee the deployment of the chosen systems, ensuring a smooth transition from legacy processes to the new infrastructure. They provide hands-on support and training to employees, empowering them to leverage the full capabilities of the tools and maximize operational efficiency.

Furthermore, fractional professionals assist with the incorporation of these tools into the business's workflows and processes, ensuring seamless integration and optimal utilization of the systems. They continuously monitor and optimize the performance of the systems, making necessary adjustments and enhancements to drive continuous improvement and support the business's growth objectives.

Navigating the back-office maze is a crucial step for small to mid-size businesses embarking on the journey of growth. By selecting and implementing robust systems with the assistance of fractional professionals, businesses can establish a solid foundation for scalability, efficiency, and success in the ever-evolving marketplace.

Shawn Dunahue at Tidewater Solutions Group, LLC (TSG), powered by Sales Xceleration®, provides Fractional/Outsourced VP of Sales & CRO services, concentrating on helping small and mid-size companies optimize their sales strategy, process, and execution.  Shawn and TSG help companies with hiring the sales force, transforming the companies’ sales culture, implementing new sales processes, and instilling best practices.  TSG focuses not only on the strategic level but also at the tactical level, all to help companies achieve record-breaking sales results.  For additional information, please visit

Here are some types of fractional professionals commonly serving the SMB community:

Fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO): Fractional CFOs provide financial leadership and strategic guidance, overseeing budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting, and risk management.

Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO): Fractional CMOs develop and execute marketing strategies, manage branding initiatives, and drive lead generation and customer acquisition efforts.

Fractional Chief Technology Officer (CTO): Fractional CTOs offer expertise in technology strategy, infrastructure management, software development, and IT security to optimize technological resources.

Fractional Human Resources (HR) Director: Fractional HR directors assist with HR strategy development, employee relations, talent acquisition, performance management, and compliance with labor laws and regulations.

Fractional Sales Director/ VP of Sales: Fractional sales directors focus on sales strategy development, pipeline management, sales team coaching and training, and implementing sales processes to drive revenue growth.

Fractional Operations Manager: Fractional operations managers streamline business operations, improve efficiency, and optimize processes across various departments to enhance productivity and profitability.

Fractional Legal Counsel: Fractional legal counsels provide legal guidance and support on contracts, compliance issues, intellectual property matters, and other legal aspects critical to business operations.

Fractional Project Manager: Fractional project managers oversee project planning, execution, and delivery, ensuring projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet quality standards.

Fractional Supply Chain Manager: Fractional supply chain managers optimize supply chain processes, manage vendor relationships, and ensure timely delivery of goods and services to meet customer demands.

Fractional CEO: A Fractional CEO provides part-time strategic leadership and guidance to small to mid-sized businesses, leveraging their expertise to drive growth and navigate challenges effectively.

Fractional COO: A fractional COO is an experienced operations executive who offers part-time strategic guidance and leadership to small to mid-sized businesses, optimizing operational efficiency and driving growth initiatives.

These fractional professionals offer flexible, cost-effective solutions tailored to the specific needs and budget constraints of small to mid-sized businesses, enabling them to access high-level expertise and support without the commitment of hiring full-time staff.

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