For those who own a small or midsize business but can’t find (or afford) game-changing executive talent to take their business to the next level—there is hope.

In his new book, Fractional Leadership, Ben Wolf shows business owners step-by-step how to land the experienced, been-there-done-that executive talent they thought was out of reach. If they’re ready to step up your game in marketing, sales, operations, finance, or technology but can’t justify hiring a top-dollar executive full-time, a fractional leader can help them bridge the gap. I recently caught up with Ben to learn what inspired him to write this book.

Published with permission from the author.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

It’s the cumulative result of on my podcast for two years, talking to people in the entrepreneurial operating system (EOS) community, being a fractional COO for businesses, and hiring fractional leaders—CFOs and CMOs—for my clients. I realized it’s a horribly manual process on both sides: trying to look through a million websites, find people, and get on a million calls.

You have to kiss so many frogs: people who don’t have the industry experience you need, aren’t charging within the budget you have, aren’t a good core values fit, or maybe they only worked with much smaller businesses or only with much larger businesses. It’s just painful.

Also, there is a complete diffusion of interest and attention in this area. There’s no one website you can look at, but rather thousands of individual websites. There’s no central repository or guide for business owners of what fractional ownership is, how it works, what it does for them, if it’s for them or not, and how it works in marketing sales, operations, and finance technology.

The exact moment when I got the idea to write the book was I was doing a podcast interview with Dr. Randy Kamen, who is a psychologist and a book coach. I was thinking, “Do I have any messages? Do I have anything that I could write about?” It hit me like a flash: fractional leadership, like that exact phrase, even. That’s how I realized there’s a gaping hole in the world in this space. When I researched to confirm this theory, I was right: no one was filling this void.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

It’s the five questions that I include on how to determine whether fractional leadership is even a good idea for you or not. For instance, the likelihood is low there’s going to be a great fit fractional leader in the specific area you need, who happens to live within 10 to 15 minutes of your business. Sometimes there is, but very often, there’s not. So sometimes, you’ll only be able to take advantage of fractional leadership if you could do it virtually.

One of the questions that I plan on asking is: will virtual members of your leadership team work for you? If your entire leadership team is in person in one central location, then it might be tough. But if you are either a completely virtual company, or if you have at least one member of your leadership team that’s already virtual, it’s much more likely to work for you.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

I definitely drink my own Kool-Aid, so to speak. Instead of trying to find an inexperienced person, like a lot of businesses always do, to lead finances and take over the other functions, I retained a fractional CFO firm. I use them to do my AR, bookkeeping, as well as the more strategic CFO parts of the business and the advisory parts of the business.