There came a point in my business.. where I simply new it was time for a change. As I talk with prospective Online Business Managers there is a recurring theme I hear about WHY they are ready to make a change in their business. In this video I talk about these themes and what can be done about making that change.
(excerpt from Chapter 4 of Becoming an Online Business Manager)
Coaching Approach Tactic #1: Assume everyone is doing their very best, especially when they don’t seem like it.
This means that even though the Virtual Assistant crashed and burned, there is a story behind it. Not even just that their dog is ill, or they’re overworked, either. Very often it can mean that (1) expectations of the project weren’t clear in the beginning (2) they did not realize they were welcome to ask “stupid” questions (3) prior experience on projects for this business had deadlines that were flexible or even (4) their self-esteem is low for unrelated reasons and they aren’t good at setting personal boundaries or saying no.
Coaching Approach Tactic #2: Set up a business culture that requires over-communication, always. And that the only real mistake that can occur is the failure to communicate early.
In an online business situation, the majority of unknown “gotcha’s” will be prevented with the application of this one coaching approach tactic. I’ve been known to get very adamant when emphasizing this one, along the lines of:
“You can’t get it wrong UNLESS you don’t tell me you’re getting it wrong.” Translation? The only real mistake is a failure to communicate. You can call me up in the middle of the night and tell me things are doing horribly, and really, I will be much more okay with it than not knowing until it’s too late.
Coaching Approach Tactic #3: Be serenely confident in the fact that until you successfully go through a conflict or sensitive negotiation with someone, you don’t know the true nature of the relationship.
I am of the conviction that until you have to go through a tough or even just touchy something with someone, you aren’t really friends. Perhaps because Tina and I only ever work with clients we respect as much as our friends, we apply this to our business relationships too.
As an OBM who’s in it for the long haul, and wants to really reach the pinnacle of success available, be open and willing to embrace conflict. Take feedback as a vitamin and strengthen your internal self each time. Use the other coaching approach tactics here to anchor your conflict in productive conversation. Remember that to the degree you can be serene through a conflict, the more you are learning and the less likely you’ll have to go through this same conflict again, in another form.
How does this apply in our scenario? In mentoring OBMs over the years, we’ve come to recognize that managing conflict is one of the most difficult things an OBM does. Your goal is to be able to transcend the fear of initiating quickly, the conversations that need to happen with the errant VA and also of presenting the ugly problem to your client.
Defining the team is taking a look at the business needs and identifying what kind of help is needed. This is where your expertise will come in, as you need to know enough about the process of doing business online to know what kind of help you need to hire. It is VERY VERY important to know exactly what you are hiring someone to do, so as to prevent confusion down the road on both sides.
For example, say you want to create a video for your client to put up on their homepage. Does the person you’re hiring need to do everything from A-Z (identify the content, create the content, produce the video, edit it and coordinate with your web master to put it on the homepage)? Or will your client record the video with their webcam and you just need someone to add an intro and convert it into a format that you can put online? There’s a big difference between those two jobs.
Once you are clear on the needs of the business you can look at putting together job descriptions for people you need to hire. Don’t be intimidated by the terminology – it doesn’t need to be a standard corporate 5 page job description – you just need to outline the skills, abilities and availability that you are looking for. It is also a good idea to define how much you are willing to pay as contractors rates can vary.
So how can you help your clients grow their business? Taking care of the day-to-day is definitely part of it – managing projects, team and operations – however there is another level to impacting growth. What I like to call being “OBM 2.0”, and I’ll be sharing a number of tips here in the coming weeks to help you step into your OBM 2.0 shoes.
First, something simple but often overlooked. Doing a website review for your clients. I think it goes without saying, having old dates and wrong information on a website is not a good thing for business. (I recently visited the site of a well known 7-figure biz owner to find details on her live event which I knew was coming up, clicked the Event tab on her website and it took me to an event from last year. Eeek!)
So put yourself in the shoes of a website visitor and review your client’s website/s. Click all the links on all the menus and see where they take you – are all the links going to the latest/greatest information? Any broken links? Check sales pages to either a) update information with new dates or b) if a program is past, setup the site to offer a self-study or a “join our notification list for the next offering.” Do a general read of the main websites, does the information still apply? Anything need to be tweaked/rewritten?
Let your client know of updates you made or talk to them about the stuff that needs their input. Then drive the process to get it done. And make this something you do at least once a quarter, could be monthly for really busy clients.
I was reminded on a call this week about the importance of having the *right* support in your business – and so I wanted to share with you one of my favorite checklists from the THRIVE Hiring System.
Check the ones that apply, and if need be, look to make improvements that will truly create a strong working relationship. (I’m of the opinion that most stuff is fixable, with the right amount of communication and intention.)