Virtually Successful VideoSummit

There’s something super exciting brewing over here at Team OBM and we’re so pleased to finally share it with you and invite you to join us!

It’s the Virtually Successful Video Summit – a FREE Virtual Event taking place from August 4-15, specifically for Virtual Support Professionals – virtual assistants, freelancers, online business managers, web and graphic designers social media specialists, copy writers, admin support – anyone who gets stuff done!

The premise behind this event is different from many others you may have participated in. Here’s why:

Virtual support professionals, just like other business owners, have big visions for success.

However there’s a common theme in the virtual support profession that many of us don’t like to talk about. It goes something like this – our doubts, our fears, comparing ourselves to others and our beliefs are stopping us from creating and achieving what we want for ourselves and for our businesses.

After 10 years of connecting with virtual support professionals, the OnlineBusinessManager.com team has pretty much heard it all. We know that what people BELIEVE is stopping them from BUILDING the business that will BRING the revenue they desire.

That’s the reason we’re hosting this 10 day video summit with 12 incredible industry experts who will share exactly how they transitioned through the Believe It, Build It and Bring It stages of their businesses. We want to help you believe it, build it and bring it, just like we know you can.

Ready to get started? As your Virtually Successful Video Summit Correspondent, I invite you to check out all the details at VirtuallySuccessfulSummit.com. I wish this was offered back in 2003 when I first joined the VA industry!

 

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Manage Process

Image courtesy of “Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

As online business managers we are often wearing many hats… sometimes so many hats we can’t even keep them all on our head…

Not only do they fall off at times but truthfully those hats are heavy, exhausting and stressful to carry around 24/7.

But what if I told you there is an easier way… you don’t have to wear all those hats you can simply line them up in their proper places, encourage them to stay the course and then check in on them periodically…. sounds dreamy right?

Well it’s not a dream, its the way that business is meant to be ran and it is the solution to 90% of the chaos and frustration around running, managing, and growing a business. When any business becomes so dependent on one person, be it the business owner, the virtual assistant or the business manager, that business becomes out of balance (such as walking around with 14 hats on your head). The imbalance will cause both great frustration and more importantly stagnation.

So what is the solution to this ever increasing epidemic in the online business world of the great hope that one person can and will do it all?

Well I have 2 words for you:

Process and Influence

If you consider with me that Process = Management, or let me say it like this without process there is NOTHING to management.

This is why we often find ourselves frustrated as OBM’s we are running around to trying to manage a business that has not process in place. When in reality all we are doing is prioritizing implementation for the daily operations of a business. But this is not management. In many cases it is simply just a pattern of chaos we have all learned to perform in.

Manage (as a verb) – -to handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use

Management (as a noun) – the person or persons controlling and directing the affairs of a business, institution

What I want to focus in on is the word CONTROL in both of these definitions.

The simple truth is without processes in place there is no ability to be in control over how a task is executed. There is no standard in which to create an expectation for a team member in executing a task in a manner that allows you, the OBM, to continue to maintain control over the task and it’s performance.

What does this really mean: It means you have to wear all those hats until you learn to be in control but not the one ‘doing’ the task (which essentially WOULD be out of your control unless you have a process in place to maintain control) whew.. that was a mouthful!

You may be thinking, why does this really matter, after all, as long as the task gets done it really shouldn’t matter who does it or ‘HOW’ it is done.

And to some degree I quiet agree with you… but without the measure of standard (process), there is opportunity for greater error in performing that task. Error is both time consuming, costly and embarrassing… why chance it?

Secondly, without the process, you the OBM, have no ability to actually manage (control) the outcome of the implementation if someone else on your team is executing the task. This is both dangerous and unnerving! Leaving you vulnerable to look in competent or unskilled in your ability to manage the business or team.

So when you consider how you are going to manage your clients business… consider this: if you do not have processes,  you have no ability to manage!

(part 2 will be:  Influence = Leadership, the second part of the solution, coming next week)

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If you are unsure on how to set up, manage and be successful in building foundationally strong businesses for your clients you should consider becoming a Certified OBM. In our Certification Training we go in depth on the ‘how to’s’ of becoming a successful Online Business Manager. Be sure to check our the details here: http://www.CertifiedOBM.com (and set up a time to chat with me 1:1 for FREE)Manage Process

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As always we would love to connect with you either via the comments below or on our facebook page!  Feel free to chime in on this hot topic or simply ask questions…

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You would never walk into a networking event and just start handing out business cards blindly, right? Pushing your products or services on social media is the same thing. Just like at live networking groups, you want to get into conversations with people first. Social media is not an advertising tool— it’s a relationship-building tool and it’s tremendously effective when done correctly. Instead of thinking about what you can sell, think about the time you invest in social media as your own private networking event.

Listening and finding relevant conversations to join on social media will quickly advance your status as an expert in your field and as a generous business professional. Engage people in conversations and display a supportive and knowledgeable online presence. These qualities will attract like-minded people and their friends. The group of people that you attract will include: JV partners, the media and clients.

See where I am going with this? By engaging and sharing your brilliance, you will grow a very targeted network that will multiply on its own. This network will give back to you as long as you keep feeding it with more of the same.

Finding Conversations

But how do you find the right conversations on social media? The key is identifying the right hashtags to follow. By now just about everyone knows what a hashtag is, even if they are confused as to how they work. I want to help you to understand the true value of hashtags and why you cannot successfully participate in social media without them.

Simply put, it is a # symbol combined with a word or phrase. Typically they call out an event, topic or a conversation. What they do behind-the-scenes on social media is gather people with a common interest around a conversation.

These iconic symbols anchor conversations–they are the campfire people gather around to share ideas and stories. It’s pretty powerful stuff.
Here is what I advise my clients on how to get started with a Hashtag Strategy that finds conversations and builds relationships. Start by making a list of:

  • 5 influencers (who do you want to be in your business)
  • 5 competitors or people that are just out of your reach
  • 5 media professionals that you would like to report on you

If you cannot come up with five, no worries, once you dive into this exercise your list will grow.

Check them out online, see what they are talking about, the people they are connected to, what they are reading/watching and most importantly the hashtags they are using. These are their topics, their categories and in many cases they have researched these words extensively. If you happen to have the same target market, these conversations will likely serve you well and allow you to expand your reach online and build relationships.

The Relationship is the Goal

Once you have found these nuggets of online gold, it’s to time to engage in a conversation online. Connect with these people as you would face-to-face. Not very many people are doing this well. You will be in the minority and will quickly increase and expand your online presence. This will change everything.

You will find opportunities you never imagined will easily come your way and learn that the possibilities are endless.

The Practical Stuff

There are a few things you need to know:

  1. To effectively find and track conversations, you need a social media management tool. There are plenty of fine options available, but I use HootSuite. Here is a blog post that I wrote than gives you greater detail: http://socialsagepr.com/listen-social-media/
  2. Two tools that I use to help find the best hashtags:
    • Hashtagify.me
    • Twubs.com
  1. Many of the tasks related to social media can be outsourced to an employee or a team member, but if it is your business, you MUST maintain ownership of the strategy, conversation and relationship building. Get over the fear and face the fact that this is how business is conducted, if you are not there, someone else will be.
  2. Have fun! Every single day something unexpected happens to me because of social media—and it’s usually good.

Do you have a great social media story to share? Please post below.

 


 

Donna Cravotta is the CEO of Social Sage PR and the creator of the Total Social PR System™ and Publicity Prowess™. She helps entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses maximize their online presence with a very different approach to social media and public relations. Her commitment is to ensure that her clients are empowered to amplify their unique voice and share their purpose, without overwhelming their schedules.

A natural connector of people and a relationship builder long before Facebook even existed, Donna has created a simple, yet strategic method to reveal hidden opportunities online that create authentic situations for her clients to grow their networks, gain loyal followers, connect with the media, and do it all with ease.

Donna knows a thing or two about creative (and cost-effective) social media and online strategy, the best part is… she teaches her clients how to build these strategies into their own businesses in an ongoing and sustainable way. Her techniques can be easily implemented in just a few minutes each day to create valuable business connections, resulting in lasting relationships that lead to mind-blowing opportunities and endless possibilities.

You can reach Donna at SocialSagePR.com.

 

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As an OBM we spend a lot of time juggling: projects, people, ideas, complaints (hopefully not too many of these), etc.. we are masterful in the art of keeping all the balls in the air just to progress them forward at the exact moment they are needed ;-)  Without even thinking about it we are in a constant state of leading.. ourselves, the businesses we serve and our teams.  We are leading them toward a common goal:  a successful outcome for whatever the desired result of the client is at the moment.

My question to you is:  Do you consider yourself a leader?  

On a daily basis do you look at the responsibilities on your plate and consider how you are going to be a better leader today to ensure tasks are done with excellence, team members are supported at the highest level, and the client’s vision is being revealed?

The truth is most of us don’t consider ourselves leaders… we consider ourselves managers.  The person who manages the moving pieces… right?

What do you feel is the difference between managing and leading?  (feel free to respond in the comment box)

When I am coaching I share with clients that we can manage a process but we must lead a person… when we manage people we minimize their brilliance and only accept them for what we need from them.  But when we lead them, we empower them to be in their ‘zone of genius’ ensuring we get the support we need and they get the fulfillment they need.

Being a strong leader is the key to being a highly successful OBM and quite frankly EXACTLY what business owners are expecting when they hire you!

So here are my 5 Tips to Being a Better Leader as an OBM

Tip # 1 — Have a Vision

You must have a clear vision for everything you are attempting to accomplish in the business, from each project to the expectation of each team member.  Without vision there is no where to lead people too… When you have a solid vision you must go a step forward and put an action plan to that vision that consist of measurable points.. be it objectives, goals, specific tasks, there must be a process in place to see the VISION become something other than a hairy fairy idea ;-)

Tip # 2 – Stand for Virtue

The simple truth is no one will follow you if they cannot: trust, respect, admire or look up to you.  So if you want to be a solid leader for your team, clients, business or industry it is imperative that you purpose yourself to stand for everything that is of the highest moral element.  Being a person of VIRTUE will serve you at all times and not being a person of virtue will hinder you every time.  As business owners there are always moments of testing that come that we could ‘cheat, lie, gossip, steal, etc’ but if you want to be a person of influence do whatever it takes to stay away from these traps.. they will only hurt you in the end anyway ;-)

Tip # 3 — Be Vocal

Communication is the #1 tool a leader uses to ensure the desired outcome is fulfilled… you must be VOCAL about expectations, clarifying process, repeating requests, empowering your team.  All leaders who are successful in creating a solid structure of support around themselves and the business are strong communicators.  When you communicate take the time to listen too…  this is greatly needed to be certain what you have requested is fully received

Tip # 4 — Must be Vigilant

One of my favorite quotes from my husband (who is a brilliant leader in his industry) is you get what INSPECT not what you EXPECT!  You must be VIGILANT in keeping a watchful eye on all the elements needed to be successful.  It is not simply pop a task in and hope it is done right (or at all).  People want boundaries, clear expectations and to know someone cares if the task gets done and if it is done correctly.  I can assure you your ‘least effort’ will many times be the ‘greatest effort’ of others. so follow up, follow thu and follow them around if needed (well maybe not this one.. but you know what I mean)

Tip # 5 — You are Victorious

Everyone wants to be on a winning team!  Lead your team in VICTORY.  Remind them everyday the importance of the work they are doing, why you are passionate about supporting the community your client serves, why it matters and how the vision will be impacting to others.  Therefor even if it’s a bad day you are still VICTORIOUS because that one day will not stop the impact you, your client, and your team is making in someones life that very day!

Interested in becoming a stronger leader?
Check out Tina Forsyth’s
More Money More Freedom Leadership Retreat for Women Entrepreneurs

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The Online Business Manager tagline is - Where Strategy Meets Implementation.  Meaning it is vital to the success of the business and the sanity of the OBM to ensure there is a solid, tested, proven strategy in place for every element of the business.  From sending a Newsletter to managing a Live Event to setting up a Standard Operating Procedure to ensuring team training is in place.  If there is no strategy, no clear result based plan of action, then only chaos can prevail.

When we neglect the step of creating strategy we enable reactive execution to take place.  What I mean by reactive execution is making decisions based on whatever shows up in our inbox at any given moment, shooting from the hip, allowing the tail to wag the dog (if I may).  There is no way to create a strong predictable success in the midst of reactive execution… you are out of control, the business is out of control and the ability to grow is BEYOND your control.  Unfortunately, this is often how solopreneurs run their businesses.  Leaving us, the advocate for the business, at odds with our clients when it comes to ensuring proper strategy is in place.  So what do we do?

Do we wait until it is at the top of the clients priority list to ensure there is proper structure in the business?  Do we wait until the client says:  ‘hey can you create a strategy for X for us to follow?’ Do we sit back and wait for the fires to blaze before we make an executive decision to set up proper strategy that supports the initiative of the client and vision of the busienss?  NO NO NO!

As OBM’s we must be strategic in our service to the businesses that allow us the priveldge of leading them.  We MUST be the proactive pivotal person on the team ensuring that proper structure, mapping and implementation are working together for the good of the whole.  We must step into the deep of what it takes to create strategy from scratch, research, decide, test and prove to see our businesses soar above the rest.

In other words, if you aren’t clear on what your clients wants and the strategy to get there – then you need to ask and get that information from them.

You need to be willing to stand in the space of your expertise and say “dear client, I can’t properly support you until we get our strategy in place”

When a client comes to us (Tina or myself) and they say, well I really thought my OBM was going to X — that X always has something to do with strategy… it is the higher level of support we promise when we call ourselves OBM’s.

Now don’t get me wrong strategy is not the same as making decisions around WHAT the client needs to offer, be an expert in, deliver on.. it is however, the plan to get it (the WHAT) to the target market, get it (the WHAT) implemented within the scope deliverability, creating the pathway for it (the WHAT) to be successful.  The strategy takes the WHAT of your clients vision and merges it with the HOW of implementation…. do this proactively, with purpose, at every level of the business and see if your being an OBM doesn’t become much easier! Results become more predicatable, clients feel a greater since of support and the business runs much more smoothly.

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Strategy, Plan, Manage, Lead – The Online Business Managers Cycle of Success

March 6, 2014

It’s the first week of March AND we here at Online Business Manager.com have 80% of Quarter 2 and Quarter 3 already laid out in our PM tool (Central Desktop) for all arms of Tina Forsyth Companies.   Jealous? Well don’t be… just do it for yourself.  Honestly it’s a very simply process: Create a […]

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Are you a Virtual Assistant or an Online Business Manager? (and Why Not Clarifying Could Be Costing You Thousands of Dollars a Year)

February 19, 2014

As the training manager for the Online Business Manager Certification Training Program one of the key questions I am asked on a regular basis is: ‘What is the difference between a Virtual Assistant (VA) and an Online Business Manager (OBM)?” Although similar in many ways, there are some key differences between working as a VA […]

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BE A Hero – don’t have hero syndrome!

January 29, 2014

The simple truth is as OBM’s we often feel we are expected to be ‘the all in all’ for our clients and the businesses we serve.   It can, at times, be an overwhelming expectation we put on ourselves, to the point of not even enjoying the work we are doing and working ourselves to […]

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Are You Ready to Become an Online Business Manager

January 22, 2014

As the Certified OBM Training Manager one of my many duties is to have conversations with potential Online Business Manager Trainees (for our Certification Program). Often I start this conversation with a simple question: “What do you want to create and how do you feel becoming a Certified Online Business Manager can help you reach […]

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Video #3 – The 3 Key Elements of your Launch Plan

December 13, 2013

What do I need to include in my launch plan? We’ve talked about the 5 launch channels (from video #1) and how to advises your clients about which one is best for them (from video #2) – now it’s time to plan baby! The thing is, how do you know what to include in your […]

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