What I really need from my Online Business Manager (aka my must-have wishlist)

by Tina on October 29, 2010

in Build Your Team

photo of Tiffany and Tina

Tiffany and I
on a San Fran trolley

As many of you know Tiffany Johnson is my wonderful Online Business Manager and has been working with me  in this role since January – the OBM’s OBM as it were (hehe).

We’ve had a really busy year with launching the THRIVE Hiring System, doing 2 Online Business Manager Trainings, the OBM Mentorship and such… and along the way a few things have been falling through the cracks. Mainly because we have been so busy (as many of you know, launch time can be a gong show!) and also because I haven’t clearly shared with Tiffany what is most important to me in the work we do together. That last part is the key really… if I don’t share this, how can she support me and the biz in the best way possible?

Now that we have a “breather moment” in the business we are revisiting some of these things and I made a list of what I really need from Tiffany to support both me and the business in the best way possible. I thought I’d share this list with you to give you a sneak peek into what goes on in my brain… and I know you guys love seeing the real-deal stuff right?

These are the “must haves” for me – things that really frustrate me when they fall through the cracks. It’s worth noting that not everything is a must-have, that will be different for each business owner based on who we are and what our business offers. Stuff will fall through the cracks from time to time – nothing is perfect! – but you also need to be aware of your “must-haves” in order to make sure you get the support you need. (Especially if you are a recovering control freak like me, hehe 😉

And it’s also worth nothing that Tiffany and I have already chatted re: this and she came to the conversation with some new systems to prevent any more ball-droppage. Which is why she rocks (and no, you can’t have her ;).

What is most important to me is:

  • Sending out reminders for calls – I’m a really big believer in overcommunicating with our clients and want to make sure we are in touch with them on a regular basis re: upcoming calls, resources, recordings and such. I know that I love to get these kinds of reminders when I’m participating in something, and so I like to do the same for our clients as well (vs. assuming that they will remember about a call… many times they don’t). It’s really important to me that we send a reminder the day before a call (and again the day of in some cases) and that we also send a follow-up email after the call with a link to the recordings, etc.
  • Testing to make sure things work – Whenever we make an update to our websites, I want to make sure that the process actually works. For example, setting up a Teleclass page, actually going through the process of signing up ourselves to make sure that the thank-you page is correct, we get the right “welcome” email and that the person ends up on the right list in our system.
  • Following steps as outlined in the SOP – We have a really great SOP guide set up with details on the “how to’s” for many of the things in the business (SOOOO important for any biz to have). It’s really important to me that the steps are followed as outlined and the proper templates are used… therwise steps get missed and things may fall apart.
  • Reviewing for “old” or outdated information – If updating a website doing a quick review to check on outdated information – past class dates, references to old pricing or promotions and just generally things that don’t make sense anymore. I love having an extra eye on that stuff as I think it looks “ick” when pages are full of outdated info (what I call a ghost town webpage).
  • Keeping an eye on the money – Making sure that payments are going through, and if/where there are any declines, they are being followed up on. (We’ve always been really good about this stuff, but I’m surprised how many business owners actually let this slip through the cracks… should be on everyone’s list, imo, and is something that an OBM can help with.)

As I read this list I also couldn’t help but wonder… am I being too picky here? I know I can be a control freak and have to be aware of that, but then I also know there is a difference between being picky/controlling and having high standards for your business. It’s really the latter here that is at play and I invite you to do the same for your business. Let folks know what you really want and need from them to support you… it’s the little things that really do count over time.

If you are hiring an OBM, VA or other team member, let me ask you – what is the most important stuff they can do to support you and your business?

If you are the OBM, VA or otherwise – is there anything else you could be doing to perhaps take things up a notch, and truly make yourself indispensible to your client?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Karri Flatla October 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I LOVE this list, Tina. And you’re NOT being picky at all.

I think we just don’t realize–or maybe it’s a blind spot–how simple it would be to have another person keeping an eye on this stuff. We just get so accustomed to doing our own checking and tweaking and follow-up that we forget it’s not actually CORE activity we as the biz owner have to do!

Um, you don’t happen to have a template of your SOPs/process around that by chance, do you? 😉


Janet Goldstein October 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Love this, Tina. It’s helpful advice for an in-person office manager too. Since you’re asking, here’s something to add to the list:

*Making note of NEW systems and best practices that can be standardized or that need to be figured out.

Thinking in terms of capture-rinse-repeat for the things that work is something I really value, but forget to do. As I write this, my intern is making a template for our LinkedIn and Facebook Event announcements.:)


Sue Bates October 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I’ve been through a few in the last 2 years. If someone does what they say they will in a timely fashion, I’m pretty happy!


Lisa Wells October 30, 2010 at 10:42 am

Great post Tina!

I always like to ask clients what their “must haves” are, it makes it easier when I have that in mind as I go about doing the work. For example, if I know their main focus is listbuilding during a particular month, I’ll keep that in mind… The newsletter that just went out? I’ll repurpose and submit articles to article banks. Free report that was sent to subscribers? I’ll add as a pink spoon somewhere else. It always helps to know the “why.”


Phillis Benson October 31, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Love the SHARE! Great information for everyone (business owners, OBM’s and VA’s) to know, review and revisit~ P.


Raven Howard November 8, 2010 at 6:35 am

As an OBM or a great Virtual Assistant, I think it is crucial that you are proactive! If your client mentions they want to send something to you by Tuesday, and Tuesday comes, it is great to give a nudge and remind the client. Don’t wait for them…that makes us an employee. Being able to keep your client accountable and on track is what makes us valuable partners in our business owners success.


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