Meet: Business operations

Business Operations is a catch-all term within many technology organizations, representing a diverse set of job responsibilities. In general, "biz ops" jobs are concerned with the core tasks that make the business run, and tend to be internally-focused and less customer-facing. You can find biz ops jobs in the following areas:

Finance & Accounting
Human Resources (HR)
Office Management

Business Operations
Computer & IT

General and Administrative (G&A) jobs tend to be supporting jobs. So, expect less time facing customers or building the core product, and more time focused on supporting business operations behind the scenes.

Who hires a lot in this function:
→ Consumer businesses that sell physical goods to people (Zulily/Amazon)
→ Consumer businesses that move people and objects in the real world around (Uber/Convoy)
→ Software businesses that are complex and require lots of human coordination (Google Ad Ops)

What's it like?

You'll love it if

→ Feel a sense of satisfaction when you improve a process
→ Extremely organized and detail-oriented
→ Like to think outside the box
→ Can put out fires on the fly

You'll hate it if

→ Multitasking is a weakness
→ You don’t like managing a team 
→ Need more structure in job function

How we do it

Building a great startup is hard. Really hard. It requires domain expertise, uncommon talent, great execution, great timing, and a little luck. It also requires the ever-elusive great idea. Our team has developed the playbook on how to rapidly validate, refine, and build new businesses.

Sample role

People Operations Associate

Responsibilities:
→ Own employee lifecycle processes including onboarding, offboarding, employee changes, leaves of absences and compliance

→ Oversee completion of mandatory trainings (e.g. security and sexual harassment trainings)

→ Administer employee benefit programs, including health benefits, open enrollment, 401(k), perks and wellness

→ Maintain our internal intranet (“The Calm Insider”) to enable our employees on all things people policies and process

→ Serve as the front-line advisor for employee inquiries (e.g. benefits questions, HRIS support)Ensure and maintain data integrity in our HR systems with a high level of accuracy

→ Manage and improve key HR tools, processes and workflows to keep our organization running smoothly to scale

→ Support on people programs involving employee experience, virtual events, engagement, learning & development, performance management, employee relations and recognition

→ Identify opportunities for improvement and assist with communication, implementation and change management of various programs and initiatives

The nitty gritty

Tools
In this role you’ll use software like Microsoft Office – typically Excel and Word, project management tools like Asana and payroll and/or benefits administration software like Gusto. Increasingly, at startups you will also use "no code" tools like Zapier.

Your time
On a typical day you will likely spend 30% of your time in meetings, 50% executing work, and 20% supporting employees and executives.

The job ladder

Entry level

People Operations Associate (HR)
Bookkeeper
Assistant Office Manager
Executive Assistant

Requires
Supporting manager and working across the company to ensure operational goals are being met.

Intermediate

Office Manager
People Operations Manager (HR)
Controller

Requires
Working with exec leaders managing and executing company frameworks plus managing a team.

High level

CFO
COO
Director Finance
Director of HR

Requires
Overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a business. Creating best practices, policies, and frameworks for the company.

Results

0

Ideas Spun Out

In the rarest of cases, a startup idea has great timing, true customer demand, and the market is enormous.

0

Ideas Killed

More often than not, an idea isn't a viable business. Our learnings from our failures make us more confident in the ideas that we love.

Spotlight

Leah Severe

Leah Severe is the Director of Operations at PSL and supports the new spinout companies in their early stages. This includes finance, HR, entity creation & fund management.

Leah's career path
→ Worked in the restaurant and retail industry for almost 20 years, mostly in management positions
→ Transitioned to a jack-of-all-trades position (customer support, UX, social media manager, and managing all transactions and redemptions) part-time for a small start-up
→ Moved from the small start-up to full-time Operations at PSL
→ Promoted to Director of Operations at PSL after 3 years

How did you break into technology?
“I was getting pretty burned out on the physical toll and the late nights that bartending required. Right around the same time I was trying to figure out what to do next, my friend asked me if I was interested in helping his friend with his small start-up. They needed someone who could wear multiple hats. I was confused at first why he reached out to me as I was in the bar industry and this position was for a tech company. His response was, “you’re doing this job already, just in a different industry.” And that’s when the light bulb went off. I could apply my skill set in a different sector. 

In the bar industry you have to quickly prioritize as the day progresses. Having to juggle multiple projects and keep them organized while also providing quality service to customers is part of the day to day. You are constantly shifting gears between back of the house operations and adhering to the customers needs. Along with balancing a shuffling workflow I was constantly problem solving. The same applies at a startup.”

Who's hiring?

See who’s looking for operations on Indeed, or scan the open jobs on LinkedIn.

More resources

We recommend reading "A guide to an essential business operations role"

Careers at PSL

Check out openings across all our portfolio companies.

Studio Investors

PSL Studio is independently funded by top venture firms from across the United States. They form the foundation of a venture network surrounding PSL companies and entrepreneurs. They invested in us because they want to invest in you.