I once had an OBM ask me “How do I stop or slow down the proverbial hamster wheel of my clients business long enough to jump on?” my answer “you don’t”…
This is not an uncommon feeling or question when an OBM joins a new team… there are many different moving parts in a successful business. The truth is as the OBM you need to be fully aware and up to date on every moving part to successfully fulfill your role in supporting the business. So how exactly do we jump on the wheel and join in the momentum without falling off or getting stampeded?
Survival Tool #1: you must lay out a proper expectation with the client and team. This essentially should be done even in the hiring process to ensure that the client does not believe they just hired wonder woman /superman to manage their business. There is a process to starting with a new clients (as there is a process for all things business related 😉 and the first step of the process is to give clear expectations. Your expectations of the client and team and what their expectations can be of you.
You cannot just jump in and start running if you do not know where you are going!
How to determine the expectations:
- You MUST know the clients current pain points! What is it that brought them to the realization they needed a new team member (YOU), why now, where is the pain? If you do not in the first 30 days subdue the pain in these pain points you will not see 91 days with this client. So find out.
- What are their top 3 priorities in the next 90 days? The only way to keep the wheel going in the right direction is if you are supporting these priorities. Note: this is the client’s priorities which may or may not be your priorities as an online business manager for the business.
Let me explain: when starting with a business the first thing I am going to look at is the foundation and structure: does it have a proven business model and revenue generator and is there a culture of systems and processes in place to build on. These are rarely and almost never the priorities of the business owner. Their priorities look like this: get new website up and running, launch new program, get social media in place. See the difference… you must know THEIR top priorities
- Create a job description for everyone on the team. This is so key, don’t get caught in the ‘I thought the VA did that’ trap. Everyone needs to fully understand their role and their duties on a team. When you do this in the first 30 days you learn the structure and DNA of how that business operates. Very important yet often over looked when jumping on the wheel…
Survival Tool #2: do not be afraid to jump in and start making decisions. I know it may seem a bit crazy: “I don’t even know what’s going on how can I start making decisions”.. make decisions based on where the business is going with you at the wheel instead of where it has been. The client did not hire you, especially as the OBM, to keep doing the same thing it has already been doing.. they hired you to go forward. So make decisions based on going forward. That being said, always communicate the decision to the client before taking action to ensure it lines up the clients overall plan.
For example: VA on team comes to you with a ‘I am not sure what to do about X’:
- ask them to tell you what they did the last time this issue arose,
- consider how you would like to see this issue handled in the future,
- write out the process for this issue,
- confirm process with Client,
- have VA take action according to the process,
- have VA file process to ensure they will know what to do next time the issue arises.
That is what it looks like to be a decision maker. The client will at all times be the last word on a process but they do not always need to be the person to determine the process. As the Online Business Manager it is YOUR responsibility to work in this capacity with the business.
The reason this is important in the first 30 days is because you need to build a rapport with that client that they can trust you to manage their business. If they do not feel you can confidently make decisions on the behalf of the business then they will not be able to trust you, and essentially you will not be able to fulfill the position they have hired you to fulfill if there is not a proven trust of ability.
The other thing this does is set up your authority with the team, which is just as crucial as building trust with the business owner in that the team sees you as the decision maker. If they do not see you as the decision maker they will by-pass you and continue to go to the client with everything in turn leaving you unable to be the OBM of that business.
Survival Tool #3: Go the extra mile! Go the extra mile! Go the extra mile! This is so important in the first 30 days. Why? Because you are laying down an expectation for your client and team. Not that you are a workaholic or don’t have boundaries, but that any business you are associated with is going to function with a certain level of professionalism and excellence. There needs to be a difference in morale, a difference in productivity, things should get easier on EVERYONE on the team. What might this look like:
- Take the time to build relationships with the team members – when you care they care.. it’s that simple
- Put into practice from the beginning the business structures needed to grow.. write the processes, set up the virtual office, etc.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate to everyone in every direction.. be present fully and completely. Never let the client or team wonder where you are or what you are doing.
- By the end of the 30 days: KNOW the client’s revenue streams inside and out.. usually this will take a couple hours of going through the backend of systems.. take the time do it.