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11 Skills You Will Need as an Online Business Manager

Do you dream of…

  • Traveling while you work?
  • Raising your family while working from home?
  • Working for clients and businesses that align with your values?

Does this sound like you? If it does, you’re certainly not alone! In the digital age, many people dream of having the flexibility and freedom to live on their terms. 

But in this digital era, we are inundated with information about various ways to work online and, your social media feed probably isn’t tailored to your current skillset or deepest desires. Scarcity-focused or clickbait marketing encourages you to make “investments” based on your shame about your financial or life situation.

You enroll in course after course but walk away feeling you don’t have the integration, support, or mentorship we’re seeking. Even a step-by-step of how another person achieved success may not mean that it will be an effective method for everybody. 

And I want to reassure you, there is never know judgement here and, I want to share with you the role that changed my life: Online Business Manager, or OBM!

Becoming an online business manager allows you to live the life you’ve always dreamed of and do the work that can create an impact. You’ll build strong client relationships, develop transferable technical skills, and see personal growth. 

But how can you get started when there’s so much information out there?

I’m here to share with you the Top 11 most in-demand skills for Online Business Managers that YOU can leverage to get the clients of your dreams!

1. Strategy & Vision Planning

Strategy sessions and vision mapping are the foundational skills for becoming a standout OBM. This skill will set you apart from Tech Virtual Assistants or Operations Managers and allow you to charge higher rates.  

As an online business manager, the best way to make a more significant impact and income are to position yourself as a strategy expert and put in the legwork to live up to that standard! Conducting an excellent strategy session should involve the following: 

  • Market Research on your client’s target audiences and industry standards
  • Updated working knowledge of tech platforms to recommend the best fits for your client’s business infrastructure 
  • Solid foundations in business financial planning and revenue building
  • Leading sessions with confidence and empowering clients

Using the data and expertise you’ve gained, you can drive the vision your client communicates by creating a roadmap with actionable steps. 

Actionable steps include hiring additional team members and allocating resources appropriately, implementing tech automations and SOPs, and creating individual project timelines. 

Nail the strategy, implement the plan, execute with relevant resources, and you’ll be the go-to OBM in your industry! 

2. System implementation and infrastructure building

Businesses are ecosystems! There must be infrastructure for everyone to thrive, including the CEO, the team, the clients, and the business as a whole. Messy action can be a good thing, but as an online business manager, your task is building foundations to help a business create a sense of stability. 

Once you’ve strategised and set goals with your client, it’s time to implement them with the tech platforms that best support your client’s business. Automations and systems (with your human support!) will allow your client to take a step back from the day-to-day management they dread. 

You may implement tech systems for things like: 

  • Task Delegation and Project Management
  • Team and New Client Onboarding
  • Team Communication Platform
  • Client Management and Communication
  • Offer Launches/Waitlists
  • Marketing (Email, Ads, Socials)
  • Client and Course Portals

Once you’ve completed implementation, you’ll also need to provide troubleshooting where necessary and keep in mind any changes that need to occur as the business grows and evolves! 

While it may seem like all numbers and data, there is a component of being an online business manager that will involve tuning into the environment around you! You are the person that can see the business from above ground and provide perspectives that the CEO or team may not have access to, which will be your biggest strength. 

3. Project and Launch Management

Were you the Operations Manager (like me, in the early days of corporate) who raised IT requests to improve systems and processes for a better customer experience? You may be a GREAT fit for the OBM role! 

The last thing any business owner wants is for projects to feel like mundane corporate projects that nobody wants to do! That’s why it’s YOUR job to appropriately delegate tasks, assess and clear any roadblocks, and make executive decisions following the ultimate goal. 

Project and launch management typically involves creating KPIs, setting deadlines, properly allocating resources and team time, and gathering data for future projects and launches. 

Launch management is a big point of contention for many business owners. It can often feel like a race to the finish, at a sprint the entire way. You, as the online business manager, can alleviate this stress by using your expertise to create a project timeline that feels attainable given the resources available. 

4. Team Management and Onboarding

When hiring an online business manager, you’ll allow clients to step into a leadership role. Bringing on a strategic partner means a CEO can spend more time in their zone of genius, which can involve business strategising, creating new offers and services, and supporting more clients. 

And that’s where you can step in: management! 

At some point or another, most businesses will need to hire additional support, whether a contracted brand designer, accountant, copywriter, or in-house employee.

Most business owners hesitate to bring on additional support because they worry they won’t have the time or resources to manage employees or contractors properly. Additionally, some may have even been misled or let down by service providers who don’t follow up on their promises. 

As an OBM, you act as the filter between the CEO and the team! When hiring, you manage applications and screen potential employees before they meet the CEO. With team management, all requests and issues usually go through you before something escalates to the CEO, allowing the CEO greater flexibility and freedom to focus on their zone of genius. 

5. Metrics management and data-driven decisions

If you want to become an effective OBM, make data your new BFF!

While your clients shouldn’t be too wrapped up in follower count or hitting specific revenue goals before they’re prepared to accommodate those obligations, data is a powerful tool in decision-making. As an online business manager, it’s your job to focus on the RIGHT numbers! And it doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. 

The first step is determining the best ways to track metrics. Will you use social media analytics? Email marketing click and open rates? Keep a close eye on Google Analytics? How will you keep track of conversions to determine where to allocate marketing resources to achieve the highest return on investment? 

It’s best to develop an internal reporting system that you can consistently keep up with on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Reports will give you and your client a clear picture to make projections, drive decisions for future products or offers, and identify any sticking points. 

6. Client Experience/Management

Businesses with a stellar client experience will win over competitors ten times out of ten. Have you ever had an experience with a brand that was frustrating, annoying, or just plain bad? I’m guessing that you were not inclined to return to that brand! But think about the brands that value your success, listen to your feedback, and insert points of joy at every interaction. These are the brands you’ll return to over and over again and recommend to friends.

The same is true with your clients! Staying at the top of your game in client experience will be why you are chosen over a competitor. To do this, it’s important to have a streamlined process and system to support the client journey. Are you celebrating with them by keeping in mind holidays, birthdays, and successes? Are you asking for feedback to improve your services and taking action on that feedback quickly? 

Your client experience is a beautiful process allowing you to show your brand’s personality and stand out from the crowd. A great OBM should be able to analyse what’s happening in the client journey, review and implement feedback, and make suggestions from their perspective. CEOs are often so invested in their business that it may be difficult to track the small improvements that need to be made, which is exactly where an OBM can step in to make high-impact changes.

7. Financial Analysis & Management

Running a business is challenging if you’re in the dark about your finances! While you certainly don’t have to take on the role of bookkeeper or accountant, the business’s financial health should be top of mind when making strategic decisions for your client. 

Financial capital is limited, and it’s your job to partner with the CEO to determine what investments will see the greatest return. What hiring decisions would most benefit the business? Where can you cut costs or time on a task to yield a higher profit margin? How can you create recurring revenue? 

Like data, business owners should make every strategic decision with financial health front and center. And how can you do that?

When managing your client’s finances, it’s critical to ensure they don’t feel judged or shamed. As an OBM, I’ve seen it all: the business owners who avoid their finances, report losses on their balance sheets, and rack up debt. By developing these skills, I’ve helped clients identify and break unhealthy spending habits by having honest conversations.

These conversations aren’t always easy, but necessary. Having an honest conversation, delivered with integrity is an important aspect of the OBM role, rather than misleading clients about their financial situation for the benefit of your business. 

Financial health is business health. You can’t have one without the other! 

9. Process Mapping and SOP (Standing Operating Procedures) Creation

Process Mapping and SOP Creation is a beautiful integration of everything we’ve discussed so far! Many OBMs are often as detail-oriented as they are big-picture. They know that the two go hand in hand and that one can’t exist without the other. 

Once you’ve got the big picture, it’s time to create daily processes to make your client’s goals attainable. Process Mapping is like a puzzle; you have to determine what fits and throw out what doesn’t! You’ll create a standard practice that will encourage consistency for the business—no more winging it! 

Building solid foundations in process and system mapping will help the future of the business, whether that means bringing on new team members, gaining investors, or selling the business one day. 

10. Continuous Improvement

A Mercedes Benz needs an oil change just as often as a Toyota! Even if you create top-of-the-line, optimised systems, it doesn’t mean much if you didn’t build those systems to evolve with your client. Evaluate your client’s systems at least every quarter, ask for feedback frequently from your client and team, and always find small ways to improve and optimise to achieve operational excellence.  

11. Free up the CEO’s time to focus on their zone of genius

The best thing you can do as an OBM? Be the one to empower your client to give themselves grace. When your client comes to you burnt out, driven to the point of physical exhaustion or illness, that’s your time to step in and be what they need. Better yet, as an OBM, you can identify the warning signs of burnout and course correct before the CEO gets to that point. 

Remind them that they have support. 

Build that white space into the fabrics of their business. There is an endless return on investment to giving yourself kindness, grace, and time away. 

This skill is a BIG one and one of the main selling points of an OBM to a business owner. An OBM should be intuitive as much as they are data-focused. While many of us ditched our 9-5 jobs for a lifetime of time freedom, business owners may find themselves more busy and burnt out than before. 

12. The value of an OBM is giving the CEO their life back!

CEOs often attempt to wear all the hats in their business to avoid giving up control. CEOs often put unrealistic expectations and pressure on themselves; before you know it, they are overwhelmed with their workload.

As an OBM, you can be the one to let them know that their success is not defined by how much they “hustle” or how much time they spend working in a day. With you taking on the management role, the CEO can lead the business and team, focus on, revenue-generating activities, and high level client support.

As an OBM, It is your responsibility to preemptively identify where you can free up the CEO’s time, automate where possible and delegate to a team member.

Even with all the proper skills, the most important thing to remember is that you won’t be the right OBM for everybody. But that’s okay because you’ll be the perfect fit for somebody by embracing your unique skills and personality in your business! 

Embrace YOUR unique ideas, expertise, and experiences, even if you don’t feel it perfectly aligns with the industry standard. Build your client base on people you love to work with and businesses you genuinely believe in. 

Skills can be learned and developed over time, but having the conviction and self-leadership to invest in yourself and take risks comes from within. 

Want to learn more about becoming an OBM from someone who’s been in your shoes? Get in touch here!

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