You are growing your business and know that you need support.  You’ve heard of a VA before and have already used them to carry out various tasks for your business, but now you’re really looking for more – you’re just not sure what it is you need more of!

Both a VA and an OBM are great for growing businesses who need the extra support but want the flexibility of a freelancer rather than an employee.  But which one do you need?

A VA can help you with virtually (see what I did there!) any admin task you might have, such as:

  • Managing your emails, appointments and calendars
  • Prepare reports
  • Manage your social media
  • Bookkeeping
  • Event management
  • Personal tasks
  • Carrying out routine tasks

So why would you need an OBM?  A VA can do most of the tasks I need anyway?

Both a VA and an OBM offer services that you need and quite often, a VA will develop into an OBM as they grow their own business too.  But an OBM can provide so much more, just take a look at these comparisons:

So, let’s have a look at those in more detail.

  1. The need for Direction

With a virtual assistant, you assign them tasks and they complete them, then come back to you for the next thing to do.  We all need someone like this to move our business forward, someone we can pass on the tasks that we either can’t do, won’t do or hate doing.  They free up your time, but do not look to see what else is needed.

An Online Business Manager on the other hand will work independently and look at the big picture.  For instance, they will take away the need for the VA to speak to you and delegate them the tasks directly.  They will look at the next steps of what is needed so that they always have the right tasks available for the VA to do.

  1. Accountability & Management

Virtual Assistants are accountable for what they do – their time spent on a task, getting the task completed correctly and making sure it is done on time.  They are reliant on your to assign them tasks and check what they are doing.

An OBM on the other hand is accountable for themselves AND your team.  They will manage your business for you, becoming your virtual ‘Office Manager’ as they make sure that they complete their own tasks whilst also checking in on your team to make sure they are on track – freeing up your time to work on the business or have some time off for yourself.

  1. Driving Initiative

As we’ve mentioned before, VA’s are task orientated, so are not driving initiative on your business as a whole (although they may suggest improvements in their selected areas).  An OBM will look at your business as a whole, look to where things can be improved, making those suggestions and also speaking to team members to get their ideas to make sure that the business is always efficient. 

  1. Implementors v Strategists

Implementing a strategy is where VA’s come into their own.  Once they have been given the task to do, they do it, they know what they need to do and have it down pat!  If you have a good VA, then you will know that once you have handed a task over, you need to give very little direction on what to do next. 

OBM’s on the other hand are not implementors.  While they can set a project into motion, they do not deal with the nitty-gritty of getting the project done, they make sure that the team member is doing all of that and is on track.

Instead, they are working with you to create your strategies, your big-picture and allow you to be the Leader of your business.

The difference is, you are currently being both a leader and thinker to your team whilst also managing them, offering guidance and direction, no wonder you’re tired – An OBM will be the sounding board for your ideas whilst managing your team for you.

  1. Working with Clients

A VA will work with many clients during the course of the month, some on retainer and some ad-hoc projects, filling the hours that they want to work during the course of the month with retainers from 2 hours a week upwards.   An OBM has far fewer clients – usually 2-3 at most.  Being an OBM is much more time consuming as they are involved in the day-to-day activities of your business, taking over the daily operations to free up your time.

There are many more differences that I haven’t covered here.

There are often grey areas where a VA will do similar tasks for a client as they grow with them (becoming that OBM that the client needs).  There is no black and white answer, but this will give you a great overview of what the differences are and then you can judge exactly what it is you need.

Still think you need an OBM?  Then book a call with me today using the link below or check out my offers here.

Denise Fowler