I wish I had a dime for every time someone has asked me, “What is an online business manager anyway?” I know that’s simply a cliché people say, but seriously, I’d be rich. Following that question usually comes, “What does an OBM actually do?”
The online business manger (OBM) position is still somewhat new in the online business world. It has come about because of the success of online businesses and the need for someone to assist the owner with management as their business gets bigger.
Online Business Manager: Defined
I usually start my explanation of what an online business manager is by asking people to think of a manager who runs a coffee shop. Or a clothing store. Or a restaurant. Those managers order supplies for the business. They manage a team by hiring employees. They introduce new processes to help the business run more efficiently.
An online business manager basically does the same type of work, except they do it for an online business.
A quick answer to the question above is that an OBM manages the backend of a business so the business owner can get back to focusing on the growth of their business. This graphic illustrates the relationship between the business owner, OBM, and other team members.
What An OBM Does
What an online business manager does varies from business to business because each business is unique. Typically, though, these are the main areas an OBM will be overseeing.
- Project Management – develop a project plan that includes timeline, process, marketing, people, and other resources
- Team Management – identify team needs based on current goals and projects and then hire those new team members
- Operations Management – review key systems, create processes so the business runs more efficiently, create and maintain SOPs
- Metrics Management – track key statistics within the business, discuss the trends with the business owner, make suggestions for the future
- Website Management – review the website for outdated or incorrect information, make sure links are working
- Launch Management – set up a launch plan and work with team members to deliver the offer as promised
Essentially, OBMs do a variety of tasks. An OBM gets the right stuff done at the right time in the right way and by the right people.
Skills An Online Business Manager Should Have
Because online business managers handle so many tasks, their skill set is widely varied. But there are some skills that every OBM possesses. It’s what sets them apart from what a virtual assistant or project manager does. Some of these skills include:
- When the client starts to tell an OBM about a new idea, an OBM’s mind automatically starts to process the information and develop a plan.
- OBMs get excited about overseeing the daily happenings of the business.
- They know how to set boundaries with clients and team members and are not afraid to hold people accountable for what they have agreed to.
- They love using systems and processes to help a business run more efficiently.
- OBMs are confident in chaos because they know they can sort things out and get things running more smoothly.
How Is An OBM Different From A Virtual Assistant?
These terms quite often get mixed up. Unless you’ve had experience with a virtual assistant , you may not be sure what the difference is.
- The business owner gives a VA a list of detailed tasks to complete.
- The VA is an implementer. They do the stuff on their list in a professional way.
- VAs are a part of a team of other VAs. They usually specialize in one area, like social media or administrative tasks.
- VAs typically work for an hourly fee. The fee varies based on the VA’s area of expertise and how long they’ve been doing that skill.
- VAs answer to OBMs. OBMs delegate tasks to the VAs on the team.
- VAs can have many clients.
Online Business Manager
- OBMs work with business owners in order to establish business goals and strategies.
- The OBM leads the team of VAs. They delegate tasks to the VAs and make sure everyone on the team has what they need to do their job.
- OBMs are responsible for checking in with the VAs on their progress. The buck stops with them if something goes awry.
- OBMs invest more in the business and so have fewer clients.
- OBMs typically are on a retainer or retainer + incentive fee, meaning they work each month for an agreed upon amount.
Online Business Manager Training And Certification
Another very important aspect of the online business manager world is that most have gone through training and testing to become certified. This is significant as neither of these things are easy. A certified online business manager has invested her time and money to be a more skilled and insightful OBM. She has invested in herself so that she can serve her clients better.
If you want more information about becoming an online business manager, check out Sarah Noked’s OBM course. (This is an affiliate link.) Before you sign up for the course, Sarah offers a free call with her so you can ask questions about the program.
Or maybe you are a business owner who would like to learn more about the online business management services I offer? Check out my services or fill out the contact form on my website to set up a free discovery call.
P.S. If you’d like more specific information about what an OBM does, check out my free resource, What Is An Online Business Manager? by visiting my Free Resources page.