What is an online business manager responsible for?

An online business manager, also known as an OBM, is a freelance senior level resource that helps a business owner to run their company more effectively.

An online business manager is a bit like the Operations Director or COO in a larger company. They will typically oversee weekly team meetings, delegate work to team members and support them to deliver to deadlines. An OBM will have a regular meeting with the business owner to talk about strategy and plans for the upcoming period. They also like to take on project management as well as operations management of systems, processes and staff.

How is an OBM different to a VA?

A VA tends to work under the direction of the business owner and is generally focused on getting tasks done. In contrast, an OBM is likely to be working more independently and have more of a strategic role in the business. OBMs tend to me much more heavily involved with a company and therefore likely to work with fewer larger businesses than a VA. In addition, VAs are unlikely to be managing staff within the business whereas it is common for an OBM to lead teams.


Why do you need an online business manager?

If your business is growing rapidly, you might be finding it challenging to manage your people and deliver your service effectively. However, you may not yet be at the stage where you can employ a full-time COO. A freelance online business manager is a great interim option.

An established OBM can introduce you to a wide range of contacts that can help your company to greater success. They can also be a helpful sounding board for you when you need to bounce growth ideas around.

Having a resource who is more invested in your company success than a VA on a small retainer might be is a great way to get the right knowledge and skills you need. An OBM is a resource that offers more flexibility at a time when things are changing quickly.

An OBM enables your business to grow faster and say yes to new opportunities and projects. Your operations will work much more smoothly, enabling you to manage more customers and drive higher sales.


With the online business manager helping you take a more strategic view of your business, you can also keep an eye on what your competition is up to much more effectively so you can quickly identify options for putting your business ahead of others.


What sort of businesses do OBMs work with?

An OBM can support any company that needs strategic resource on a part-time basis. Generally online business managers work with small teams, such as start-ups to help them move to the next level in their business growth.


When do you need to hire an OBM?

If this sounds like you, it could be time to hire an OBM:

  1. Your business is growing but you have less and less free time
  2. You had great growth but now it’s stagnating and you can’t get past a certain revenue per month
  3. You’re having to turn down new opportunities because you don’t have time to deal with them


What skills should your OBM have?

A great online business manager will have experience in managing and leading teams, be software and systems literate and be able to communicate well at all levels of an organisation. They should also be adept in project management and have a good awareness of business growth strategies. In addition, they should be able to track key metrics so that they can report back to you on performance against targets.

Have you ever thought of hiring an OBM? How would they help your business to develop more quickly?

I’d be happy to talk through your business circumstances to see if you could benefit from working with an online business manager. Email zoe@zoetheva.co.uk

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