Business Captain's Responsibilities

I’m new to Chief Delphi so I apologize if I am using it wrong, but I had a question that I want people’s opinions on

I was nominated for Business Captain of our team. On our team, Business Captain is the person in charge of sponsors, hotels on competitions, money, outreach, impact award, etc. I used to be the sub-team lead of assembling the robot, but over the season I kind of evolved into more of researching the rules of the game, looking at other teams and seeing what they did, figuring out strategies, and kind of being a “Drive Coach Apprentice”

But I was nominated for Business Captain because of that, and I don’t really know what or how to do it, since I have spent most of my time in robotics being in charge of the robot and not the other stuff, so I was wondering if anybody had any wisdom or insight on this subject


An important set of questions you need to ask yourself about this position are: do you want it, are you able to do it, and what are the impacts of you taking the spot/not taking it?

You use the term “nominated” , which makes me read your post in such a way that I ask the above. Especially since you point out you experience is not what I would consider to be in the same arena as robot assembly with a strategy/drive component.

Remember, FRC/FTC is an extra curricular/ hobby. Not a career/job.

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First questions I would have is, what mentor support do you have for the business side and what kind of documentation of business tasks does your team have?

To answer you, how our captain positions work is that there are an engineering captain and a business captain, and to decide who becomes the next years captain, they get nominated by team members

This year, our old business captain is graduating, and there is nobody else to really take her spot. I was told by my friends and teammates that they nominated me because since I dealt with strategy so much, I had to talk to people and make plans and compromise ideas, so they said since I was charismatic they nominated me

I made this to decide if I want it or not

This is going to be long, and a lot of it depends on how your team works, which I don’t know. My main advice, before getting into details is that you need to talk to your coach or lead mentor and find out exactly what the expectations are. My second advice is that you’re on a team, which means you don’t have to do all the work, you just have to make sure the work gets done.

It sounds like the role as implemented by your team involves managing communications (with sponsors, with the community, etc), logistics (travel arrangements, outreach event prep), finance (money), and awards prep (impact award). I’m going to discuss these in reverse order.

Impact Award prep: you’ll need to lead the people working on this function to gather information, write the essay and short-answer responses, plan the presentation, write a script for the presentation, complete a video meeting the submission requirements, and rehearse the presentation and Q&A. At the event, you will need to make sure the presenters (which may or may not include you) know where the room is, know what time you’re scheduled, and get there a few minutes before your scheduled presentation time (allowing for any change of attire before presenting if your team is stepping up to more formal outfits or shifting into some kind of costume) with all necessary materials (the mandatory video on a flash drive in a plastic bag and any visual aids you’re using). If this also includes a WFFA submission, that’s leading the students to make a decision who to nominate and another essay to write or to see to it someone else completes on time. Key skills:

  • project management (what needs to be done when, are we on schedule, let’s meet these dates, we need to start moving from the pit to the room at time X to get there by showtime…)
  • writing
  • presentation skills (unless you’re not also a presenter, which is totally normal and valid)

Finance. Depends on how your team divides these responsibilities with the mentors/coaches, but this is likely to involve budget management. Keeping track of purchases, not overpurchasing equipment, not underpurchasing critical equipment and spares, travel budget, submitting receipts to the school/your sponsor for reimbursement. Could be any or all of this. Key skills:

  • Planning
  • Accounting-style math
  • Organization skills.

Logistics: Getting people and things where they need to be, when they need to be there. Again this is a responsibility where you’re likely to have a lot of shared responsibility with mentors/coaches. For trips: who’s going, what days, where, how are they getting there, who’s rooming with who, etc. What are the plans for when and where the team will eat? Allergies and medical conditions that need to be accommodated. Any side quests or field trips other than the robotics event? For outreach: assuming you’ve finished the communication piece and know what the outreach event is, what do you need to do to execute the event? Do you need to transport equipment, the robot…? Do you need to prepare kits for an activity? Are you giving a presentation, to whom, what team members are presenting? Will you have visual aids? Is there a projector? Is there a microphone so you can be heard? How long is this event? When can you get into the space to set up and do you need to talk to a specific person to get the doors unlocked? How much setup time do you need? Who is cleaning up afterward? Will people need to be fed? How is that happening? (list goes on) Key skills:

  • Project management
  • Communications
  • Planning
  • Cat-herding

Communications: Does your team do social media? Who has access to post? When do they post? Are there content guidelines/permission required before posting? What communication types do your sponsors expect? (newsletter? emails? some kind of sponsor event at a specific point in the preseason/season/postseason?) Who do you need to talk to in order to arrange outreach events? Also PR to get people to attend your outreach event. Posters, ads?, outreach to the media (can you get a local news station to attend?)… Key skills:

  • Communication
  • Social Media
  • Organization

If you do decide to continue with the job, than Congratulations! Business captain is often a very overlooked role in many teams, but they’re more important than you might think. In order to keep your team running efficiently and smoothly, you will have lots of responsibilities that can range from organizing field trips, to outreach events in your local community.

The key thing I would focus on to start with is making sure all admin communications are organized. One good way is to divide your workload into different sectors like outreach, finances, social media and more. For each “sector” you can have a different way of keeping everything straight. For example, my team personally likes to use a lot of spreadsheets for our finances and money, so it’s easy for us (and groups affiliated with us) to see how much is being spent on different things at different times.

In terms of outreach, you will be handling more logistics related matters. What the team is doing, where the team will be, and why they’re there are all important questions to ask and answer from a planning standpoint when you’re preparing for an event. For this, you can use your team’s communication platform to talk with mentors and other student officers about the plans for your outreach events and make sure the plans are easily accessible to the rest of your team. You can also get a personal planning or organizational app for your phone, which I highly recommend for having a place to get your thoughts down and make your feel less cluttered.

There’s honestly not much I can say that hasn’t been said already. Vhcook gave a pretty good overview about what you should expect, especially with the Impact award which neither me or my team has any experience with. Make sure to consistently communicate with your mentors and ask for help if you need it :slightly_smiling_face:

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