Role Basics: What is Business operations?
Business Operations (or Biz Ops) is like a special ops team for tech strategy and operations. They get assigned to solve tough problems that fall between other functions.
Example biz ops projects:
- Improve activation and daily active use for new product feature.
- Understand why engagement tanked in a feature.
- Improve efficiency and satisfaction in customer service call center.
- Manage a roadmapping process across a large business unit.
- Manage experiment to improve key operational metrics.
Common activities in biz ops:
- Analyze data to understand what’s causing a problem.
- Develop strategic recommendations and present them to executives
- Manage multi-stakeholder processes.
- Roll out organization-wide policy changes.
Biz Ops metrics:
- Most Biz Ops teams don’t own metrics themselves, but are responsible for improving operational metrics for specific projects. These could include:
- Daily Active User : Monthly Active User Ratio (Product),
- CSAT score (Customer Service),
- NPS (Product),
- Or many others.
Biz Ops compensation:
Entry jobs pay $80-120K. (Though you can’t get them without prior work experience.)
Biz Ops career path:
Great career: can lead to leadership in any function. Operations, finance, strategy and product are common – depending on a company’s Biz Ops culture and focus.
How accessible are Biz Ops jobs?
- Time to learn. Most Biz Ops roles require 2+ years prior experience, and skills that take 500+ hours to master.
- Selectivity. Biz Ops is very selective. High-status college, sterling resume, exceptional communications and analytical thinking required. Biz ops is one of the hardest functions to break into – you’re competing against people from McKinsey and Harvard Business School.
- Ease of working remote. It’s more difficult to work remote. Biz Ops works between teams, so this role is particularly hard to do remotely — unless the entire company is remote.
Job Requirements: What you need to be competitive for biz ops?
Key skills for Biz Ops:
- Analytical thinking, Empirical mindset
- Unit economic analysis, Cohort Analysis
- Spreadsheet modeling
- Basic SQL and data analysis
- Leading without formal influence
- Asking questions and listening
- Great verbal communication, Presents well
- Great writing
Professional background for Biz Ops:
Highly analytical, problem-solving roles where you can optimize efficiency of resources (like operations, performance/growth marketing). An MBA helps here.
Prior accomplishments to be competitive for Biz Ops:
Recruiters look for evidence of analytical problem-solving, like:
- (Customer service background) Analyzed data to create strategy to improve 20-person call center operations, decreasing wait time 25%, while customers grew 200%, and CSAT improved 65%
- (Strategy background) Led strategy and project across 400-person ops team that increased productivity 15%, saving $5 million per year
Personal characteristics for success in business operations:
Data- and out-come oriented. Very intelligent.
How to prepare for and get a job in Biz Ops?
Projects to learn and prove yourself:
- Find a company or nonprofit, and offer to do a strategy and operations project for them where you take responsibility for improving a significant metric or piece of their operations that they don’t have time to work on right now
- Help a company create a profitability backlog
- Learn to use SQL
- Learn to use common a/b testing tools and frameworks
- Analyze a company’s acquisition cost, retention, and LTV by channel to help them identify where to invest
- Do cohort analysis for a recurring revenue business
Step-by-step process to get a Biz Ops job:
- Get 1-2 years experience in a biz ops feeder job
- Master the language and concepts of tech
- Make sure you build essential verifiable skills for biz ops
- Make sure to do at least 1 great reference project (described above)
- Revise your LinkedIn profile
- Conduct informational interviews to understand the role and build your network for biz ops
- Start applying for jobs