What is the BizOps Career Path?

Is business operations (BizOps) the right career for you? Work cross-functionally to help businesses work more efficiently.

Are you the type of person that enjoys thinking about ways to improve revenue, enhance results, or create strategies to improve a business' workflow?

A career in business operations and strategy might be for you.

BizOps is a cross-industry job that is increasingly more common within companies  that are looking for ways to optimize processes for success.

BizOps jobs are especially popular at startups and tech companies, as they bridge knowledge gaps that may exist between product, engineering, and marketing teams.

Strategy and BizOps Responsibilities

Someone who has a career as a strategy and bizops professional is considered a generalist. The skills and responsibilities with this job are not necessarily industry-specific.

Bizops acts as a partner between cross-functional teams in an organization to both ask and answer questions about the way a business functions.

But that doesn’t mean that business operations is about unspecialized skills or knowledge.

Learning on the job about the specific industry or niche is common for Bizops and strategy roles. It is common for someone in this career to switch industries at a high level, since the skills are transferrable between many areas of business.  

So what do strategy and biz op professionals do?

  1. The top priority in a BizOps career is to help a company run smoothly. Every day might look different for someone in this career.
  2. A BizOps and Strategy professional will look at all kinds of raw data to inform their opinions. Professionals in this job will need to have an analyst’s eyes when looking for patterns or interpretations of the data. They can present narratives to leadership about the company’s current, past and future needs.
  3. One of the critical responsibilities of a BizOps and Strategy position is to put out fires. This job requires the ability to see the big picture within a company strategy every quarter. When problems arise, BizOps can see within the bigger context of the company how to solve problems, as well as see them through to their completion. This is different than a consultant who may suggest solutions for big or small problems and then leave. BizOps are part of the company itself. Someone in this career will also be responsible for the success – or not – of their suggestions and the implementation of those improvements or changes.
  4. Bizops professionals regularly create mechanisms to measure the health of an organization. This might include building and maintaining operating dashboards to create specific data sets to analyze for efficiencies.
  5. A Strategy and BizOps professional will work with departments or specific business units to identify areas of the company that are struggling. Biz ops develop strategies to affect change and then recommend changes to management or leadership, as well as oversee the results.
  6. Bizops and Strategy professionals may help with creating strategic plans or budgets.
  7. Identifying new growth potential areas is part of a BizOps job. This might include product development, product strategy, expansion into new territories, sales strategies or other types of growth.
  8. BizOps help companies see how daily operations can be optimized or automated to improve efficiency and revenue

Skills for a BizOps and Strategy Career

A professional in the BizOps and Strategy field needs a combination of hard and soft skills to be prepared for challenges.

Hard skills are proficiencies, abilities or certifications that are learned or earned through work in the professional world. They are many times job- or industry-specific.

A degree or certification is considered a hard skill. The ability to use programming languages and understand the principles of a business function are also hard skills.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are the abilities and competencies that a worker takes with them to all jobs. They are the skills that make them good at their job regardless of the industry.

Soft skills define how well you do your job and work with others. Many Bizops soft skills are learned through experience on the job just like hard skills may be.

Hard Skills Needed for a BizOps Career

  • Accounting – While a degree in accounting is not necessarily required, the practical application of accounting principles will be used regularly while evaluating company financials in a strategy and operations role.
  • Data Software – Having a good working knowledge of SQL or other database languages will be beneficial for succeeding in BizOps.
  • Presentation – BizOps professionals will need strong presentation abilities, including being adept creating easily digestible slide decks or presentations. The ability to clearly communicate findings to teams of all shapes and sizes is imperative.
  • Researching – One of the key functions of a BizOps professional is learning as much as possible about the company, a department, the product or any other area within an organization that needs more context to be fully analyzed. Being able to proficiently research all types of information easily is a basic requirement for this position.
  • Spreadsheet Software – Expertise in Excel, Google Sheets or other applications will be needed to put together raw data, analyze the data and build financial models or strategies using company data.

Soft Skills Required for a BizOps Career

The soft skills needed for a BizOps and Strategy position are really what makes an excellent professional in this field. Since this position may be in any industry or field, strong soft skills are critical for a BizOps professional.

  • Analytical Thinking – BizOps jobs require a high level of analysis of data, situations, problems and potential issues. Being able to look at an issue through many different lenses is crucial to this position because seeing all aspects of a business decision is at the core of this job.
  • Big-Picture Thinking – Whereas some jobs are tightly focused on their content or department requirements, a BizOps and Strategy professional should be able to see the “10,000-foot view” of a company. They should be able to drill down into the specifics of any problem. But seeing the Big Picture allows someone in this position to be more objective about problems or issues without prioritizing the wrong things.
  • Collaboration – A BizOps career path means learning to work with employees from all departments and areas of a business at one time or another. Someone in this position should be very comfortable collaborating with others on small and large projects. They'll work together during data gathering all the way through to the completion of initiatives or changes made to the company.  
  • Communication – Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required regularly in this position.
  • Cross-Functionality – This job requires understanding how different departments work together to formulate effective operational transformations and business opportunities.  
  • Enthusiasm – A BizOps and Strategy professional should be able to tirelessly work for the good of the whole company and should always be looking for ways to help.
  • Prioritizing – Knowing what areas to prioritize within the company’s needs or within a project is critical.
  • Problem Solving/Strategic Thinking – Whether a BizOps is asked explicitly to solve a problem or simply proactively look for areas to improve upon, this position will need strong skills in solving problems and thinking strategically.
  • Project Management – This position will require taking a project from start to finish, managing all parts of the project and being agile enough to pivot when changes are required or a new strategy is called for.

Is BizOps a Good Career?

BizOps jobs are in high demand across many industries, especially tech.

Acting as the right hand of the top decision-makers in the company is a critical position for any company.

And a BizOps will have an objective, big-picture mentality that will assist leadership in seeing problem areas. They can think through solutions or improvements to the business without being partial to one department, person, or product.

Another reason why BizOps is a good career is that professionals in this job are able to see projects all the way through to completion.

Consultants are commonly used to identify problem areas and suggest solutions or improvements.

But the BizOps professional works for the actual company, unlike the consultant. They are going to be able to support the company throughout transitions or changes that are implemented.

The BizOps job is one that is visionary but also practical. The strategy and operations role is always balancing big picture ideas with the day-to-day.

This job will be putting out the little fires that inevitably come with changes or upgrades to the company, as well as continually working through strategies to avoid future problems and make the transition continue smoothly.

Many BizOps love the beginning-to-end work because it allows them to be intimately involved in different aspects of a business. They can pivot when adjustments to plans need to be made in the interest of the company as a whole.

Those who pursue a BizOps career can also anticipate working directly with the top leadership of a company and within industries.

People in this career have the benefit of learning all about an industry from its leaders as well as seeing how they think and plan.

A BizOps and Strategy professional will not only work directly with leadership and learn from them, but they will also be able to see how the highest levels of leadership think and strategize.

While this career focuses on being a strategist, a BizOps job will allow you to learn how the perspective of the C-Suite affects the decision-making process.

Working closely with and learning from leadership also provides the opportunity to help shape the company’s direction with strategic changes while you gain an unparalleled perspective into what drives business performance.  

Being a BizOps professional also provides an opportunity to specialize at the highest level.

Someone in this career will be able to gain deep knowledge of different departments or business units within an industry, allowing them to move from BizOps roles into almost any other management or leadership job.

This career can be excellent preparation for stepping into leadership roles as well. This job requires most BizOps and Strategy professionals to work side-by-side with COOs, CFOs and other top leaders.

Another reason why BizOps is a great career is that every day, month and year will bring about new challenges and complexities to consider.

Those who love to problem-solve and are excellent at being flexible and agile in the workplace will thrive in this career.

A BizOps and Strategy professional will be constantly looking at problems, looking for ways to upgrade the corporate structure and seeking out strategies that will improve the bottom line of a company all while keeping the current state of the business in mind.

This means being agile and able to respond to the positive and negative effects of plans that are implemented and adjusting strategy when necessary.

How to Land a Business Operations and Strategy Job

For those wanting to pursue a BizOps and Strategy job, multiple pathways are available to land a job in this role.

Transition From Management Consulting

Many BizOps roles are born out of management consulting for a company and having an established prior relationship.

Not only are many of the core soft and hard skills the same for consultants and BizOps professionals, but also many companies may decide that a consultant’s intimate knowledge of the company makes them a good fit for transitioning to a permanent position.

Without having to retrain the consultant on the inner workings of the business, a consultant can seamlessly integrate into the business. They'll use their current knowledge and experience in the industry.

One of the keys to making the transition from management consulting is to clearly illustrate the ability to follow through with proposed changes or improvements.

While this skill may not be visible as a consultant, having excellent relationships across all departments is a good way to show you can work with all levels of employees.

Showing agility within management consulting with the company can illustrate how your role as a BizOps might benefit the company structure and future as well.

Move from Investment Banking

Many of the core competencies of investment banking are similar to those needed in a BizOps and Strategy role at tech companies.

Investment bankers are notoriously well-trained in communication skills, analyzing data and Big-Picture thinking.

A strong work ethic is usually present in the field of investment banking, making this career a great training ground for future BizOps roles.

It's also likely that if you work in investment banking, you attended an MBA program. Your skills from an MBA program will transfer over to being able to think about business operations at a higher level.

Use Skills from Experience in a Startup

Many times the culture of a startup is one of all hands on deck where each employee performs a variety of functions. As such, biz ops roles may be within reach if you've already worked at a startup.

Job responsibilities in a startup may have included such critical BizOps tasks as strong communication, analyzing data to drive decisions, collaborating with teams, problem-solving and cross-functionality.

Transitioning to a BizOps position on your career path can be an excellent option for someone with a startup background especially if a candidate can show how their work experience illustrated leadership, working with top decision-makers, or focused on problem-solving across business units.

Often a startup will also provide opportunities to learn about the visionary or big-picture thinking required of a BizOps role making it excellent practice for a career strategizing and planning for the future direction of a business.  

Possess Strong Analytical and Strategic Thinking Skills

The strengths of an effective BizOps team come from its diversity of professional experiences and varied backgrounds.

If a past role has allowed someone to demonstrate their ability to think critically, analyze raw data for big decisions, strategize on a small or large scale and effectively communicate across the corporate structure, then they may be a strong candidate for a BizOps position.

Many businesses prefer a BizOps team rather than hiring just one person, so creating a situation for collaboration between members with deep knowledge of different industries or departments is an asset.

This diversity will allow the strategic thinking and problem-solving to be more thorough and thought-out and each team member can bring their own specialized knowledge to the table.  

Biz Ops and Strategy Salaries

Many BizOps roles can be very lucrative and compensation is a big reason why some choose to pursue BizOps careers. But experience in the field is the biggest determiner of salary as a BizOps and Strategy professional.

  • Entry-level BizOps Analyst: $70-90K plus 5-10% bonus opportunities
  • Associate BizOps: $100-125K plus 10-15% bonus opportunities
  • BizOps Manager/Lead: $125-160K plus 15-20% bonus opportunities
  • Director of BizOps: $180-250K plus 20-30% bonus opportunities
  • VP of BizOps: $250K+

Strategy and BizOps Transition to Other Careers

A BizOps career has provided undeniable experience in critical areas of any business: problem-solving, data analysis, cross-functionality and strategizing financial, product, personnel or a host of other areas for the company.

Someone who comes from the BizOps and Strategy field will be a highly sought-after candidate for a variety of jobs.

Some potential transition opportunities may be:

  • Level Up as a BizOp – One of the best transitions from this job is to move up the experience ladder. Those moving past entry-level experience can often become associates at the same company or within the same industry.
  • Become a BizOps Manager/Leader – Those with experience in the field often find that shifting into team leadership is a good professional move once they have gained some experience. This transition also can be in the same industry. But those wanting to become leaders in BizOps can also move across industries as well. The soft skills of BizOps lend themselves well to being a good leader.
  • C-Suite – Many BizOps professionals may find that they are excellent candidates for a VP of BizOps role. They may also be a good fit for COO or CFO positions. With high-level BizOps jobs, experience gained working alongside the C-Suite provides unmatched familiarity with the thinking and responsibilities required of the top levels of management.
  • BizOps Consulting – Some professionals transition to consulting. This can be a great move for some because the candidate will have verifiable experience and comprehensive hard and soft skills to prepare them for consultative work.  In addition, they will also be able to focus on problem-solving and putting out fires without having to work on the follow-through portion of the recommended changes like an employee of the company and full-time BizOps role would.  
  • Pursue Specialized Knowledge – The opportunity to learn deep knowledge about different departments is one of the unique aspects of a BizOps role. So those transitioning out of a BizOps career can choose to pursue a new role that aligns with a specialization in finance or any other department that was gained during their work. Some common transition careers from the field of BizOps could be Product Development, Product Strategy, Product Management, Corporate or Business Development or even Sales.
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