What Does a General Manager Do and Why Should I Consider Hiring One?

By June 29, 2023 August 12th, 2023 Small Business Planning

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

Hiring a general manager is often a matter of timing — should you hire one now or wait?  Maybe first you should answer: “What does a general manager do?” and “What are some general manager skills and qualities?  Larger companies have a variety of managerial roles and responsibilities — ending with the COO. However, small businesses can benefit from general managers, too.

If you’re unsure how to answer “What is a general manager?” read on for clarity and insight that might save you a bit of grief and aggravation.

A woman General Manager smiles at the camera in front of a table of her teammates.

What is a General Manager?

Let’s first dissect the roles of a  general manager vs. a CEO.  The manager fills in the gaps of what the CEO does.  If the CEO is on the road, the GM remains to monitor the daily operations.  The General Manager can be a sounding board—a trusted resource for alternative solutions and an operations specialist that thrives on chaos.

Some qualities of an excellent general manager include the following:

Insightfulness – they provide unique insight into different aspects of the company

Timeliness – you want to be ahead of any potential industry issues or supply-chain problems

Connected – networks work best when they’re worked

What is a general manager?  A general manager is everything a CEO isn’t, but the CEO cannot always be all things to everyone.  So, what does a general manager do?  Everything the CEO cannot.

Do Small Businesses Need a General Manager?

What does a general manager do?  They manage the day-to-day operations of a business.  Here are three reasons why you should hire a general manager.

1 – You prefer to be “in” the business of creating, manufacturing, or selling rather than the daily minutia

2 – You plan on selling in a few years and want to discover the true ROI of the business when you are adequately staffed

3 – You need someone to course-correct the ship you’ve created because you’ve been “in” it for too long

Why do you need a general manager?  Beyond the reasons above, there may be a multitude more. 

Hiring a General Manager

Hiring a manager or COO is one way to avoid founder burnout.  You might have become too close to the business entity and need a mental break from it.  However, your customers need what they need when they need it.  So, your GM picks up the slack when you’re unable to perform. 

When you started the business, you likely poured your heart into it.  Then, as it grew and you hired more people, you were the manager, sales team, marketing manager, and everything in between.  Now it’s time to share space with someone whose ultimate goal is to help you and the company grow.

There must be a personality match for the team to work well together.  This is also a unique opportunity to work together in a mentor-mentee relationship since growth happens for both parties.

Hiring a General Manager is a critical investment in the future success of your business.  Click here to schedule a complimentary video call to discuss the pros and cons.


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