Grow and Expand Your Business with an Online Business Manager

Grow and Expand Your Business with an Online Business Manager

Think about your favourite restaurant. What makes it so good? From the best menu for a fair price, to the right music and an inviting host, a lot of processes are working together to create a smooth experience. The sum is often greater than its many parts.

While you might not be dreaming up tomorrow’s amuse bouche or plating any five-star desserts, your business still requires overarching policies, order, and rigor to produce products and services that customers want. To make that happen, enter the Online Business Manager (OBM).

An OBM is like a business owner’s right hand who can play a critical role in streamlining internal systems. In this post we’ve put together a list of the Top Five ways an OBM provides the most value that transcends traditional management functions like organizing, planning, and leading within a business framework.

1. Facilitates Seamless Operations

OBMs are the glue that keep a business owner and various teams working together toward the same goals. OBMs have a bird’s-eye view of operations, meaning they can identify bottlenecks, implement strategies that enhance efficiency, and improve cross-functional standard operating procedures.

2. Leverages Technology and Innovation

Choosing the right technologies for your company is important, but it can also be a total time and money suck if you don’t do your research. Worst yet, your team might resist adopting technology that isn’t easy to use or doesn’t serve a clear purpose, creating an uphill battle you are not prepared to fight.

OBMs keep their finger on the pulse of leading tools and platforms to optimize workflows, automate processes, and introduce solutions that harness more of your people’s potential rather than siphon off time, money, and productivity.

3. Oversees Human Resources

If you are scaling a small business, your OBM can serve as a point of contact for employees, addressing HR-related inquiries, concerns, or conflicts.

Hiring the right people, and then managing employee retention requires constant attention. An OBM assists in talent acquisition and management by collaborating with an HR team to develop effective recruitment strategies, ensuring that the organization attracts and hires top talent.

Your OBM may also be involved in the interview process by writing compelling job descriptions and vetting applications. You can still meet with top candidates and make the final hiring call, but hours of prep work have been removed from your plate.

4. Helps with Business Expansion

OBMs contribute to scalability by identifying efficiencies in processes and implementing overarching frameworks that accommodate growth.

They also analyze data, assess market trends, and provide valuable insights to support strategic decisions. An OBM’s expertise allows business owners to make well-informed choices that align with the company’s long-term objectives for expansion.

5. Communicates Effectively and Manages Relationships

Clear communication is the cornerstone of successful business operations. OBMs facilitate communication channels between various stakeholders so that everyone is aligned to the same objectives. Moreover, OBMs often act as a liaison between the business owner and external partners, nurturing relationships crucial for business success.

Real-World Case Story

Nothing brings hypothetical examples to life like a real case study. For example, our professional services client needed to streamline its time tracking system and invoice its customers more efficiently. Under their legacy system, they were still creating all invoices manually. It took two whole days to compile information and send invoices!

A VEA Online Business Manager reviewed the current process and identified areas for improvement. Then they created solid deliverables, researched and found the right digital tools to meet these deliverables, and worked with an Executive Assistant and Bookkeeper to implement the program.

Using a mixture of Clockify, Excel, and business analysis, VEA reduced the billing process from two days to just two hours, saving our client 14 hours per month in labor. Freeing up time by creating better processes enabled our client to grow without a lot of added administrative muscle to make it happen.

Are you Ready to Scale?

OBMs take on a comprehensive and dynamic role that extends far beyond basic managerial tasks. They engage in a broader scope of activities crucial for the success and growth of a modern business in the digital landscape.

The OBM also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and change management within the organization. Of course, culture is something that starts at the very top, but an OBM will promote and evangelize the values that are most important to your company. They can foster transparency, communication, and collaboration across departments, encouraging the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas.

Just like your favorite restaurant, every small business is a complicated, fast-paced enterprise that requires seamless processes for success. Contact VEA anytime to talk about your specific needs. Let’s find the right OBM who understands your business and can help make getting ahead feel easier.

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

Elevate Your Business: Introducing the Role of a Chief of Staff

Elevate Your Business: Introducing the Role of a Chief of Staff

You are surrounded by a talented team, and your Executive Assistant ensures everything from your calendar to your inbox is under control. Business is good, but you’re still doing tasks your team could handle if you had the time to delegate. You tell yourself, “I’ll get to that tomorrow if I can just finish this work right in front of me today.”

If you lack the right processes or systems to grow your business, and/or your team could benefit from better communication all around, it could be time to consider bringing a Chief of Staff, commonly known as an Executor Chief of Staff, Implementer, Online Business Manager (OBM), or Process Manager, into the mix.

 

What is a Chief of Staff?

While the role of a Chief of Staff, or Online Business Manager (OBM), will vary depending on your unique needs, they are not meant to replace your Executive Assistant. An Executive Assistant provides administrative and clerical support, and your OBM is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, including, but not limited to: managing employees, developing and implementing strategies, and monitoring financial performance indicators. 

An OBM typically has decades of experience in a business setting and helps ensure your company is running smoothly and efficiently.

An OBM is your right hand. They bridge operational and administrative functions to get the team working together. An OBM also finds ways to implement your strategies within the operations to keep moving your business forward.

With an OBM overseeing the daily business functions, you will have capacity to refocus on business growth, company culture, and anything else where you feel your contributions are most valuable.

“An Online Business Manager having a remote meeting via Zoom to present reporting, insights and direction”

How an Online Business Manager Can Help?

You and your Executive Assistant have developed a good rhythm, but you need more help at a strategic level. This is where an OBM shines. These professionals are trained to assist in areas such as:

Human Resources:

Hiring the right people, and then managing employee retention, is super important, but it is incredibly time consuming. An OBM assists in talent acquisition and management by collaborating with HR teams to develop effective recruitment strategies, ensuring that the organization attracts and hires top talent. Your OBM may also be involved in the interview process by writing compelling job descriptions and vetting applications. You can still meet with top candidates and make the final hiring call, but hours of prep work have been removed from your plate.

An OBM also contributes to talent development initiatives by identifying skill gaps and facilitating training programs to enhance employees’ capabilities. They help streamline HR processes and policies by assessing existing HR systems and identifying opportunities for improvement, such as implementing HR technology solutions or revising outdated policies. If your company is on the smaller side, your OBM can also serve as a point of contact for employees, addressing HR-related inquiries, concerns, or conflicts.

Project Planning and Management:

You know those people who just love a spreadsheet more than most? An OBM fits that definition. Complicated projects require the attention and rigor only a dedicated team member can give to ensure your vision is carried through to completion.

Your OBM plays a critical role in project planning and management by providing strategic guidance, coordination, and oversight. Everyone approaches project management a bit differently, but generally speaking your OBM will help define project goals and objectives by collaborating with stakeholders, analyzing data, and aligning the project’s vision with the organization’s strategic priorities. Then they can facilitate the creation of a comprehensive project plan and resource requirements, and outline key milestones, timelines, and deliverables.

Your OBM ensures effective project management by establishing clear communication channels, with both the project team and external stakeholders. They initiate regular meetings and check-ins to monitor progress, identify potential roadblocks, and make necessary adjustments to keep the project on track. They also think about resource allocation, ensuring that priorities are ranked in a way so that proper funding can be made available to complete the project within the given time period and team members are not overloaded, working overtime, or faced with complete burnout.

A good OBM can foster collaboration among team members, promote problem-solving, and provide support when conflicts or challenges arise. By overseeing project planning and management, the OBM ensures that initiatives remain aligned with the organization’s strategic objectives, optimize resource utilization, and increase the likelihood of successful project completion. Honestly, would you really have time to do all of this on your own?

Streamlining Internal Systems:

You can’t deliver strategy without systems and processes in place to do so. They create the infrastructure, much like our roads, bridges, and railroad lines do to keep traffic flowing.

An OBM plays a crucial role in streamlining these internal systems. They often begin by assessing existing processes and workflows to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks. They collaborate with cross-functional teams to develop and implement streamlined procedures, ensuring that resources are utilized effectively and tasks are completed in a timely manner. The OBM may also leverage technology and automation tools to optimize internal systems, reducing manual work and increasing productivity.

The OBM  fosters a culture of continuous improvement and change management within the organization. Of course, culture is something that starts at the very top, but an OBM will promote and evangelize the values that are most important to your company. They can foster transparency, communication, and collaboration across departments, encouraging the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas.

By streamlining internal systems, the OBM helps eliminate waste, enhance operational efficiency, reduce Costs, and improve overall organizational performance. They can define performance metrics, monitor progress and iterate on processes as needed. They play a pivotal role in driving organizational growth and ensuring that the company operates at its highest potential.

Is it Time for a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

You should consider hiring an OBM if:

  • Important commitments get pushed out due to lack of time, energy or resources.
  • You feel the pressure of not having the time to strategize.
  • Integrating new business opportunities feels more energy draining than exciting.
  • Connection within your team is fragmented, and communication gaps are creating roadblocks.
  • Keeping your team morale up seems to be getting more difficult as you grow.
  • Recruitment and hiring are too rushed, or do not get done at all.

Every leader needs help if they want to achieve big goals, not to mention sustain the colossal energy it takes to lead. Hiring the right OBM could be the most important business decision you ever make as you strive for better performance in your organization.

Contact VEA anytime to talk about your specific needs. Let’s find the right OBM who understands your needs and can help make getting ahead feel easier.

 

Tovey Blake
Operations Manager

 

 

Frequently asked Questions about Chiefs of Staff

Q: How do I onboard a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

A: The team at VEA will guide you through a step-by-step onboarding process to ensure you are matched with an OBM who is right for you and your business.

Q: What if I only need help during peak seasons?

A: Our OBMs are available on an ongoing basis as well as for one-off projects to fit your needs.

Q: How can I be sure I will get a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager who understands what I need?

A: We begin with an in-depth strategy session to better understand where you require support as well as assess for personality and culture fit. You get to meet potential candidates and are part of the decision-making process from the beginning. VEA prides itself on HAND MATCHING every OBM to every client. We will work with you to get it right.

Q: What if I quickly realize I don’t need a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

A: We will discover that for you before we even get started and most likely recommend an Executive Assistant instead.

Q: How does VEA ensure I am getting the most value from my Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager?

A: Open and regular communication with your OBM is the best way to get what you need. By the end of your kickoff call, your OBM should be clear about the project and/or role expectations. 

The kickoff call for a one-off project entails: Review of scope of work. Your OBM will then use the approved scope to create a project plan and work-back schedule to complete deliverables.

The kickoff call for an ongoing role entails: Creation of a 90-day plan that focuses on a combination of “quick win” improvements and short-term goals. 

In either case, your OBM will lead and execute the work needed to result in positive outcomes.

Q: How many years of experience does a Chief of Staff or Online Business Manager have?

A: Our OBMs have at least ten years of experience, and many have more than that.

Q: Where is your team located?

A: We are a Canada-based, remote workforce. Our OBMs are spread across Canada, and we can match you with someone who is within or near your time zone.

What is an Online Business Manager?

What is an Online Business Manager?

Running your own business is one of the most difficult yet rewarding pursuits. Entering the world of entrepreneurship is like hopping on a gigantic roller coaster that’s both frightening and exhilarating.

Instead of being focused on big-picture thinking that will grow the business, many business owners find themselves stuck on the minutiae of tasks outside their zone of genius, just to survive another day.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of support staff you can enlist who can help you gain back the time needed to focus on the projects/tasks where you deliver the most value. 

Woman sitting at a computer.

The Right Support for the Right Circumstance

Online Business Manager (OBM)

If your business processes, systems and/or automation feel a little tangled, consider bringing on an Online Business Manager (OBM).

An OBM is like your “Executor Chief of Staff” who oversees day-to-day operations, including managing employees, developing, and implementing strategies to achieve the company’s goals, and monitoring financial performance. Online Business Managers have decades of experience problem solving and seeing around corners in a business environment.

You are ready for an OBM if:

    • Important commitments get pushed out due to a lack of time, energy, or resources
    • You feel the pressure of not having the time to strategize
    • Integrating new business opportunities feels more energy-draining than exciting
    • Connection within your team is fragmented, and communication gaps are creating roadblocks
    • Keeping your team morale up seems to be getting more difficult as you grow
    • Recruitment and hiring are too rushed or do not get done at all

To be clear, an OBM is NOT an Executive Assistant. More than handling your administrative functions or bookkeeping tasks, an OBM can manage your staff, set processes, and oversee operations.

Gears symbolizing a well run business with text saying "need help growing, scaling and automating? Hire an OBM."

Executive Assistant

An Executive Assistant (EA) can take on a wide range of functions. Everything from calendar management and email organization to project coordination and travel booking. An EA not only handles typical administrative functions, but they are also happy to tackle more personal tasks, like booking dinners and vacations and even selecting and sending flowers and gifts. Having a healthy balance between home life and work life can help you accomplish more at work with a clear head.

An EA can even drop work blocks into your schedule, giving you permission to simply focus rather than be pulled into last-minute meetings that sabotage the day. They can also help you strive for “inbox zero,” a productivity strategy and proven system that declutters your mind by decluttering your inbox. Methodically delete, sort, and clear incoming emails. 

You are ready for an EA if:

    • Your inbox is overflowing.
    • You move a lot of meetings because you don’t have control over your schedule – your schedule has control over you.
    • You can’t imagine shutting off while on vacation. Too many things would slip through the cracks.
    • You’re constantly sidelined by small or distracting projects that take you away from the tasks where you shine.

The right EA can transform how you structure your week and make it more productive!

A clock with averlay text "Looking for more time to do what you love? Hire a Virtual EA."

Bookkeeper

What’s worse than staying up all night balancing your books? Staying up all night balancing your books, only to catch a glaring error down the road and having to start again.

A Professional Bookkeeper will balance your books and handle invoicing, reconcile credit card receipts and expenses, process payroll, and so much more. This oversight reduces the risk of errors, penalties, and legal complications that could arise if not monitored properly.

You might be ready for a Bookkeeper if:

  • Keeping your books organized feels like an epic battle.
  • Your stomach is in knots every tax time.
  • Being overwhelmed is affecting your ability to act on opportunities.
  • You have no idea what the financial health of your company is. 

What’s more, Professional Bookkeepers save valuable time and offer an unbiased perspective. Numbers don’t lie, but sometimes your judgment, especially about something as emotional as money, can get clouded.

A calculator and numbers in the background with a text overlay "Sick of invoicing, payroll and tracking receipts? Hire an expert Bookkeeper."

Fractional Controller 

You might not require a full-time Controller but tapping into their expertise and insights would sure be helpful. Fractional Controllers bring a wealth of financial knowledge and experience to the table, helping companies improve financial efficiency, identify growth opportunities, and navigate through complex financial challenges.

A Fractional Controller blends intel and insights so you see more possibility and potential. They can help you with things like key accounting functions, budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and tax filing and compliance. 

You might be ready for a Fractional Controller if:

  • You’re ready for a strategic approach to your financing needs
  • A comprehensive monthly budget-to-actual comparison will help you forecast your finances better
  • Capital management and a strong cash flow are big drivers in your organization’s success
  • You would benefit from a clear cost vs. revenue structure that reveals opportunities to become more profitable
  • You would like a better understanding of cash flow, projections, and variances

Hiring a Fractional Controller enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds; exceptional financial intelligence without committing to a full-time team member.

We See You, We Get You, So Let’s Talk About You!

Stop trying to do it all and start hiring support where you need it. Not only will you gain back precious hours in the day, but you will grow and prosper when you have more time to not only act on opportunities as they come up but identify them far in advance.

Contact VEA anytime to talk about your specific needs. Let’s find the right support to help you get ahead.

 

Tovey Blake
Operations Manager

Frequently Asked Questions about Online Business Managers (OBMs)

Q1: How do I onboard an OBM?

A: The team at VEA will guide you through a step-by-step onboarding process to ensure you are matched with an OBM who is right for you and your business.

Q2: What if I only need help during peak seasons?

A: Our OBMs are available on an ongoing basis as well as for one-off projects to fit your needs.

Q3: How can I be sure I will get an OBM who understands what I need?

A: We begin with an in-depth strategy session to better understand where you require support as well as assess for personality and culture fit. You get to meet potential candidates and are part of the decision-making process from the beginning. VEA prides itself on HAND MATCHING every OBM to every client. We will work with you to get it right.

Q4: What if I quickly realize I don’t need an OBM?

A: We will discover that for you before we even get started and most likely recommend an Executive Assistant instead.

Q5: How does VEA ensure I am getting the most value from my OBM?

A: Open and regular communication with your OBM is the best way to get what you need. By the end of your kickoff call, your OBM should be clear about the project and/or role expectations. 

The kickoff call for a one-off project entails a review of the scope of work. Your OBM will then use the approved scope to create a project plan and work-back schedule to complete deliverables.

The kickoff call for an ongoing role entails the creation of a 90-day plan that focuses on a combination of “quick win” improvements and short-term goals. 

In either case, your OBM will lead and execute the work needed to result in positive outcomes.

Q6: How many years of experience does an OBM have?

A: Our OBMs have at least ten years of experience, and many have more than that.

Q7: Where is your team located?

A: We are a Canada-based, remote workforce. Our OBMs are spread across Canada, and we can match you with someone who is within or near your time zone.