As a marketer and now Online Business Manager, I see a lot of business owners struggling with the same dilemmas. Comments like these aren’t unusual.
- I have goals for my business, but haven’t had time to put together a strategy.
- If I could clone myself, I probably still wouldn’t have enough time.
- There are so many marketing options, how do I know which is best?
- I could use extra help to grow, but it’s not easy finding the right people.
Do you feel the same?
What if I told you acting on the last issue could solve all of the others?
It’s common to put off hiring extra help. Finding and managing other people can be a challenge that obviously takes time and costs money. But I can tell you that the entrepreneurs who bring in help earlier are the ones who grow faster. Because they can focus more time on their businesses and do what they prefer to do.
For a small business, hiring a contractor like an OBM or VA is a great option and more cost-effective than an employee.
The question is which one?
If you read our post on the benefits of an Online Business Manager, then you know an OBM is a project manager who can oversee large projects and work with you to systematize operations or any aspect of sales, service, marketing or administration.
A VA or Virtual Assistant is what it sounds – an assistant who can do any of the tasks you would expect from an administrative assistant, albeit at a distance. This includes sales support, customer support, scheduling, and online file management. If she has specialized skills, she might also help with bookkeeping, social media, graphic design, website maintenance or email marketing. She’s a work-from-home assistant who’s a phone call or email away.
The differences between the two might seem obvious, but their work areas may overlap and the online aspect can cause confusion.
How an OBM differs from a VA
Use our visual infographic below for easy reference, but here are a few key differences.
An OBM is more than an online facilitator. We are project managers who can help you build a strategy and oversee its execution. Essentially, we lead a team that makes it happen. Don’t have a team? No problem. OBMs like me have our own team members or subcontractors we can bring in when needed.
Our work is more strategic and proactive. Once you bring in an OBM, you can count on us to focus on your top-level priorities. So rather than carrying out smaller tasks, we take on longer term projects or operational processes that are vital to the growth of your business.
We set up your systems for efficiency and success. As an OBM, I can also set up the processes or systems that will help your business run more efficiently. This includes creating policies, writing standard operating procedures, finding the best tools and offering guidance.
As the titles imply, an OBM has the experience to be a manager and leader, while a VA is an assistant who focuses on individual tasks. While both contribute to the growth of the business, the levels of responsibility are very different.
How do you know which is best for you?
Here are a few questions to help you determine whether you need an OBM or a VA.
What would help you grow your business at this time? An assistant to work on your task list or a manager who would take entire projects off your plate?
Do you need help streamlining the processes for sales, support or marketing? An OBM has the perfect skillset to present you with options and carry this out without much oversight.
Do you need to build a strategy for your business? If you need help building one, consider an OBM.
Have a strategy that is planned out to the task level? If so, then a VA can help you execute. Keep in mind that overseeing the execution will take time and can be done by an OBM as well.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with an OBM. And you only need one. I know businesses, mine included, that have a couple of assistants, because they each have different skills. As a manager, your OBM can find and manage others to get the job done.
Considering an OBM? If you have any questions, let me know below or send an email.