When your business has been steadily growing (and so has your workload) you may be considering the benefits of outsourcing. Should you outsource to an Online Business Manager (OBM) or a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

As your business grows your need to delegate also grows. This growth often means you need the support of someone who understands your business. A trusted ally who understands the bigger picture and can support your decision making and enables you to achieve your goals. You need a partner in your business who can make a difference, someone who doesn’t need to check in with you at every stage. You need a manager!

How is an Online Business Manager different from a Virtual Assistant?

While a Virtual Assistant is task based, an Online Business Manager is focused on the overall operations of the business.  An OBM is a manager, while a VA is a doer. Therefore, while a VA may be paid for short-term projects or tasks, an OBM is a longer-term relationship paid on retainer for greater outcomes.

Related | Make your Virtual Assistant Partnership a Success.

Here are some things to consider;

Understanding. Your OBM is your right-hand person. Through discussions with you, they will have a greater understanding of your business structure, operations and future goals. They are motivated to achieve these goals on your behalf and support you achieving them. An Online Business Manager is focused on the outcome you are wanting to achieve and can manage several projects effectively to ensure success.
Hint: They will ask more questions initially to learn about your business and preferences.

Proactive. Understanding your goals and work preferences, an OBM will use their initiative to make recommendations to improve your business. By drawing on their previous experiences and their nature drive to improve, they are looking forward and focusing on making things happen. They value the success and growth of your business in line with the success of your partnership.
Hint: They are usually first to see alternative ways to streamline processes.

Responsible. Responsibility comes naturally to your OBM. They are more than capable assistants. As managers, an OBM replaces you in the general and sometime mundane day-to-day operations of your business. They have the skills to complete the work at hand and can be relied upon to get the job done or oversee others to complete the tasks.
Hint: They ask for and provide feedback.

Decision makers. When you allocate a level of empowerment, your OBM can help you to work smarter. With authority levels and the end game in mind, they can be trusted to make smart decisions without seeking your approval. Therefore saving precious time!
For example; Because an OBM comprehends your pricing structure, how you make money and which clients are more valuable to your cashflow, handing them permission to discount, prioritise and/or accept new clients for your business will in turn make your business more profitable.
Hint: They seek boundaries and uphold accountability.

Ownership for business continuity. OBMs are not task focused, they are achievers. Their role is to ensure the business runs smoothly, even if you aren’t available. An OBM will ensure processes are in place to safeguard continuity in the business. This may include systematising your business by writing procedures and processes, training and managing others.
Hint: They do not blame others for mistakes or errors.

An OBM will usually work with a small number of clients to ensure they build quality relationships with you – the business owner and your clients. They will understand your clients’ needs and are in your corner making sure your business is operating smoothly.

A final piece of parting advice, as with any partnership, be clear in your communication (including authority levels) and feedback to ensure your arrangement is successful.

If you think your business is ready for an OBM or a VA, we’d love to chat with you.

by Sam Spence, Founder and Online Business Manager, Executive Virtual Associate.

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