What an Online Business Manager Does and Doesn’t Do In a Business

Running an online business isn’t exactly for the faint of heart, is it? That passion you decided to turn into a career might be the thing you love to do most, but there’s a lot more to making it a profitable biz than that. Hiring an online business manager is a smart strategic move to help you take things to the next level and navigate the shitload of work it takes to succeed… but you need to be clear on exactly what they can do for you first.

That’s right. Online business managers don’t just step in to oversee AND do all the things. We’re like the conductors of your business orchestra: ensuring everyone delivers a tune your audience is chomping at the bit to hear, but not necessarily playing all the instruments… You know?

Today I’m dropping some knowledge to help you understand what an OBM does and doesn’t do in your business.

What Online Business Managers Do

Online business managers are pretty badass professionals (I’m not biased or anything). Seriously. We’re organized, efficient, and know how to get shit done. Are there a million things we could probably execute ourselves and take off your plate for you? Of course. Is that why you hire an online business manager, though? NO.

Online business managers are management-level strategic planners. This is the role who delegates action items and tasks to your team and ensures everything’s done according to plan. We’re the people working behind the scenes to make sure your business is an efficient machine and that you can focus in your zone of genius. 

We can’t exactly plan and strategize for your business AND implement the plan and execute tasks, though. We’re not superhuman here. 

Here’s what online business managers do and don’t.

Online Business Manager duties:
Do: project management, day-to-day team management, liaise with hired experts, hire team members, and quarterly and yearly planning with CEOs.Don'ts: Tasks for VAs or specialized roles, lawyer and accountant responsibilities, and creating your business vision and culture.

*If you’re not sure what role you need to hire next or what members of your team should even be doing and responsible for, I spelled it aaalll out for you in my free hiring cheat sheets

Project Management

Project management is an online business manager’s JAM. You know that aspect of your job that you’re always a little giddy to do? Yea. This is it for us. 

We develop and set project timelines, establish chronological steps and order for action items, and assign team members to ensure everything gets done by the right people and on time. 

Day-to-Day Team Management

This is where online business managers shine, you guys. And really, it’s where you’ll feel the impact of this role the most because it’s where you’ll feel the most weight come off your shoulders.

When it comes to managing your team, we act as filters to the CEO. That means instead of peppering your inbox or Slack with day-to-day questions about tasks and projects, team members come to us. We keep a close eye on deadlines and step in when things need to get done. And, we do QA on your team’s work. 

What does that mean for you? Fewer emails and questions, and time spent managing your team. Instead, you get streamlined communication from your online business manager and more time in your schedule to do CEO shit. 

Strategy with the CEO

Do you ever wish you had a business bestie with a full operating knowledge of your biz, who genuinely supports you and your business, and has a vested interest in your success? Hire the right online business manager, and you’ve got a strategic sounding board who will also help you put those big ideas into motion.

Online business managers look at the full picture of your business and, based on your current projects and capacity, when and how the big ideas can happen. We create plans and action steps so that your ideas get out of your head and into your business.

Helpful Liaisons

We can’t fully run your finances, HR, and legal needs… But, we can absolutely liaise with other professionals who take care of those important business facets for you. Online business managers can help you hire those experts and work with them, so your business has the support it needs in those areas.

An online business manager works on projects for clients.

Hiring New Team Members

Speaking of hiring… Oh yea, we’ve got your back there, too.

I hate to break it to you, but hiring a GOOD, qualified, good-for-your-business team is a project. It’s not as simple as posting a job description and hiring the next day. From crafting a job description that attracts the right talent to vetting and interviewing, getting your A-team on board is something you can’t half-ass… and online business managers can take that off your plate.

Quarterly and Yearly Planning with the CEO

Don’t panic if you’re not doing quarterly and yearly planning yet… but please, please do it. One important job online business managers have is to help CEOs with that sort of strategy and help you create plans to accomplish your goals, short and long term.

What Online Business Managers Don’t Do

VA Tasks/Tasks for a Specific Niche Role

You’re hiring an online business manager to perform management level duties, folks. So, giving us tasks that a virtual assistant or another specific niche role should be doing, you’re not going to be getting the most value out of hiring an online business manager. Save the copywriting, graphic design, sales stuff, and data entry for the appropriate team members.

Plus, those types of tasks will not get your money’s worth with an online business manager. Because of the nature of our skills, experience, and the impact we make in your business, you’ll pay premium rates. It’d be pretty stupid to have your online business manager do tasks that team members you pay at a lower rate can and should do now, wouldn’t it? Grab my ultra-useful freebie with tips for compensating different roles on your team.

Lawyer and Accountant Responsibilities

I’d love to say that online business managers can also handle your financial and legal needs, but let’s not get carried away. I mean, I did work in the legal industry for a long time… but I’m no lawyer. 

Online business managers can work with the specialized professionals you hire and help take the day-to-day items off your plate, but that’s the extent of what we should be doing in those areas. Save the important legal and financial stuff for the legal and financial pros!

An online business manager works at her computer.

Bringing Your Business to Life 

Not to get all motivational poster’y on you, but you are a unique and special person, my friend. The vision you have for your business–where you want it to go and what you want it to be–is something only you can define. So, while online business managers help you strategize and plan to make it all possible, you’re the only one who can dream those dreams.

As the CEO, you’ve gotta be the captain of your ship. You’re responsible for not just vision, but company culture, revenue-generating ideas for your business, and leading your team. Online business managers are your first mates, keeping your crew on track and making sure you’re changing course accordingly.


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