With a high demand for operational excellence, process optimization, and data-driven decision-making, the business operations (BizOps) profession has seen significant growth in recent years.
While BizOps is a relatively new field and one that is still evolving, it offers a wealth of opportunities and career paths for those with the right skills, knowledge, and drive. Likewise, the qualifications and experiences successful BizOps practitioners have are diverse. As such, you can build a career in BizOps from a host of different backgrounds.
For example, within the BizOps Network, we’ve seen many BizOps professionals from backgrounds in operations, marketing, finance, customer success, and more. They brought with them transferable skills that have served them well, and are now using them to accelerate their careers.
If you’re looking for a career that offers challenge and variety, here’s what you need to know about breaking into the world of BizOps.
Is Business Operations a Good Career Path?
As organizations increasingly rely on data-driven decision-making, the demand for BizOps professionals is expected to continue to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 226,300 business operations manager positions will open between 2020 and 2030.
There’s plenty of room to get in now, making it an excellent career path for those with the right skill set.
- Because BizOps is still evolving, there’s always something new to learn and challenges to keep you engaged – which means you’ll never get bored in this line of work.
- A career in BizOps offers the opportunity to work with and learn from diverse groups of people, giving you the chance to build strong relationships and expand your professional network.
- Organizations are willing to pay top dollar for talented BizOps professionals who can help them achieve their goals.
What is a Business Operations Career Path Like?
A career in business operations can take many forms. You could work on a small team at a fast-growing startup, within a larger BizOps team at an established brand, or as an internal consultant within a firm.
Yael Cohen, SVP of data and intelligence at Lemonade, succinctly explains the role BizOps plays within an organization, saying, “if the company is the human body and the founders are the brain and heart of the body, BizOps is the neural system.”
At its core, a role in BizOps aims to help an organization achieve its goals by leveraging data to improve processes and implement best practices that prevent roadblocks and other operational obstacles.
One day you might be working on a process improvement project, and the next, you could be deep in data analysis to identify new channels for growth, reduce operational costs, or increase employee engagement. A role in BizOps will take you across departments and teams to understand what needs to happen to improve the company.
What are the Most Common Ways To Transfer Into A BizOps Career Path?
We’ve said before that BizOps is a growing field, and as such, professionals come from diverse professional backgrounds. We’ll unpack several of the most common we see below:
- Consulting: Many BizOps professionals start out as consultants at some of the most recognizable firms. Think McKinsey, Bain and Company, Boston Consulting Group, and the like. Starting their careers as consultants gives future BizOps professionals skills in deep analysis and communication. These skills transfer well into a BizOps role.
- Business administration and banking: Many professionals with backgrounds in finance and accounting thrive as BizOps professionals. Their experience building budgets and analyzing financial constraints for opportunities serves them well in BizOps. It’s not uncommon to see BizOps professionals hailing from top banks and private equity firms.
- Marketing: Marketing leaders do well as BizOps professionals as they’re likely already adept at digging into data to find insights. Deanna Sinclair, Head of Operations at Polly, says “BizOps has some overlap with Growth, but BizOps includes more tasks behind the scenes to keep the business flowing that customers or the public will never see.”
- Strategy and operation roles at large traditional companies: Individuals with experience overseeing operations within manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain management have the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in BizOps. They’re comfortable managing complex supply chains, overseeing wide-reaching cross-functional teams, and project managing across time zones for international projects covering multiple jurisdictions of implementation. To succeed in these roles, they need to be highly communicative with a shared eye for details. These serve them well within BizOps.
- Data analysis: A successful career in BizOps requires the ability to analyze data and identify trends. If you’ve worked as a data analyst or business intelligence analyst, you may find the transition into BizOps relatively seamless.
- Career pivots after completing an MBA: Many professionals with their MBA pursue careers in BizOps because MBA programs stress analytical and organizational rigor which are necessary to succeed in BizOps. Being able to examine a business and its operations to find ways to make it more efficient or find new avenues for growth are key transferable skills.
“A keen eye for process improvements, analytical skills, and project management prowess can all play a key role in creating a career path into Business Operations. Understanding how to identify and solve business challenges helps drive towards a successful BizOps career,” notes Alyssa Higgins, VP of Business Operations at CipherHealth.
Tips for Breaking Into a Business Operations Career
As we’ve mentioned, whatever your starting point, you can build a career in BizOps. Yes, you need technical skills, but many BizOps professionals will explain that their roles as a BizOps professional are highly ambiguous. For that reason, a more generalist background serves them well.
For example, Sujay Seetharaman from PipeCandy, shares that “moving across different functions gives you an edge to break into the role because you'd then come in armed with some of the functional context as well versus being solely a process person.”
But there are a few skills and qualities that will help you stand out and make your transition into BizOps smoother:
- Experience with data analysis and business intelligence tools
- Familiarity with process improvement principles and methodologies
- Effective communication with stakeholders at all levels of an organization
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- Ability to work independently and manage multiple projects at once
Aside from having a solid understanding of BizOps principles, many professionals find that joining a community like the BizOps Network can help you learn about new jobs, access resources and other learning experiences, and network with other BizOps pros, to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
The Career Path Of A Business Operations Professional
Many BizOps professionals start their careers in junior positions and work their way up to leadership roles. As you gain experience, you may find yourself taking on more responsibility and managing larger projects.
- Associate: Associate-level positions in BizOps are a common starting place and go to professionals with previous transferable experience. As an Associate, you learn the ropes and get exposure to different aspects of BizOps. This may include collecting qualitative and quantitative data, conducting analyses, and making recommendations for supervised projects.
- Senior Associate: In a Senior Associate role, you’ll be responsible for leading small projects and managing Associates, as well as developing presentations to share your findings with senior management.
- Manager: As a Manager, you’ll be in charge of a team of Associates and Senior Associates to ensure that projects and initiatives are completed on time and within budget. You’ll also be expected to contribute to the development of high-level strategy and tactics.
- Director: For Directors, BizOps is less about the day-to-day operations and more about developing long-term strategies that align with the company’s business goals. You’ll be responsible for working closely with other departments and leadership teams, strategically looking for opportunities to improve internal work procedures and systems that will maximize business outcomes. As a Director, you’ll focus on company-wide alignment to ensure smooth communication and execution.
- Head of BizOps: As a Head of BizOps you’ll champion the critical projects that impact the entire business. Whether it’s solving an operational deficiency within the business or making sure the company has the right procedures in place for a new product launch, BizOps heads will oversee the projects from inception to retrospectives.
Kickstart your Career in BizOps
Whether you’re just starting or you’re looking to transition into a new career, BizOps offers the opportunity to make a direct impact on an organization by streamlining processes and improving efficiency.
While the role can be challenging, you can find yourself on a rewarding career path with ample opportunities for growth and development. It all starts with understanding the basics of BizOps, gaining the right skills and experience, and having a community of like-minded professionals to help you every step of the way.
The BizOps Network is a private community of operators from tech and healthcare startups to Fortune 500 companies, where members can access valuable resources, job opportunities, peer-to-peer work sessions, learning experiences, mentorships, and networking events.
With the BizOps Network, you can carve out a successful career path in BizOps without getting lost in the crowd. Apply here.