Questions pop up when I speak with new clients. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions. If you have a specific question or need further information to help you with your research, please get in touch!
What is an Online Business Manager?
An Online Business Manager is a professional business owner who supports other businesses in a remote/virtual manner. They will work with more than one client and usually have a wide skill base and honed management, PM and operational skills.
What kind of person becomes an OBM?
OBMs come from different backgrounds in their past work but will always have management/planning/agile skills. They may have certifications to support their professional development. For example, I hold diplomas in Coaching and Training, as well as certifications in Microsoft and Entrepreneurial skills. My original degree is in IT and I’ve been a business owner myself for over 15 years. We tend to get involved with the direction and growth of the businesses that we support, so we can understand at a deeper level the fee-generating activities that need to happen to support and grow the business.
What does an Online Business Manager do?
An OBM ensures that; the right things (planning) get done in the right way (systems), at the right time (project management), by the right people (team management) and on budget (finance). They take the pressure off the business owner, which releases (sometimes like a pressure-valve) time and headspace for you to focus on leading (and not managing) your business into its growth-phase faster and more effectively.
How will an OBM help my business?
An OBM will first and foremost learn about your business model and structure and how you create turnover. They work beside you as a manager of systems, planning, time, people and operations. They are the buffer between you and the online fee-generating activities. Your own productivity (headspace) will improve so that you can spend more time on the fee-earning and growth aspects of your business. You will benefit from their expertise as well as create space for the ‘other’ things you enjoy doing.
How can I trust an Online Business Owner?
Firstly, a good OBM will provide access to referees and testimonials. They are transparent in their dealings and willing to answer any questions that you have. It’s impossible to know if an OBM is a good fit initially. To accommodate this, I ask my clients to fill out a questionnaire to help them get clarity around their needs and offer a short online meeting to develop a relationship and have a ‘chemistry’ check. Check out some of the testimonials from current and recent clients.
Why should I consider working with Elaine?
I made the conscious choice to be involved in virtual work to improve and enhance my own work environment. This allows for flexibility, creativity and entrepreneurship. I like working with interesting people, can choose my own hours and create my own business model to support my lifestyle. I am focused and dedicated and nurture a positive outlook on work/life integration. What’s not to love about that? So are you working with interesting people, choosing your own hours and creating your business model to support your lifestyle? If not, then we could be a good fit to help get you there.
What is included in a Contract with Elaine?
I give my contracts special attention to ensure fairness, integrity and protection. Your contract will include:
- Agreed Package and Services provided
- Terms of Service / Terms of Agreement
- Payment terms
- Confidentiality and data protection
Will I have to share personal information?
You will need to share certain login information and passwords with your OBM. There are facilities available to accommodate this virtually and securely. Data protection laws protect your personal information. I will require certain details about you and your business in order to conduct business in a professional manner and provide a valid contract.
How can I protect my IP and Content?
Any content created within the contract is protected and becomes your property, whether created by you, me or us together. Any existing content is also protected under the contract/service agreement. Ensure that this is the case with any service provider you work with. You will retain ownership over all content created during and after our working relationship.
What if I fold my business?
If you are having a cash flow problem, it’s best to be transparent about this as it directly affects my business too. A contract is normally 30 days binding and this will give us time to finish up loose ends and prepare you and your business.
Can I work with an OBM from another country?
Absolutely. Your online business manager will abide by their country’s laws involving legal and data protection. Time zones can be advantageous for certain clients. It is important that your OBM understands your business setup, any legal obligations and the data protection and other regulations that govern your business.
Is an OBM like an employee?
In my case, no. I am a business owner just like you. I look after my own business costs and fiscal responsibilities. I provide a contract for our work together. If you use terms like “working for me” and “CV” it might mean you are seeking an employee/contractor and not a collaborator.
What is a Retainer?
A Retainer is an agreed investment between you and your OBM on a monthly basis. In my case, retainers are paid up-front to ensure my attention to your needs and that we mutually respect the contract. My retainers begin with a six-month contract as this really is the minimum you can work with an OBM and expect to see reasonable results. Retainers provide security for you as the client and allow me to properly delegate my time and energy appropriately for each client.
Can I change a Retainer later?
Yes, of course. Your relationship with your OBM should be fluid. I value integrity and communication in my business. If a certain retainer is not working for your business, we can change at any time subject to contract (currently 30 days notice).
How do I pay you?
All my services are billed/invoiced in Euro €. I accept payment by bank transfer or International bank transfer (IBAN) for Euro transactions. I use Transferwise for international online payments.
Can I fire an Online Business Manager?
You can only fire someone you hire (for example an employee or contractor). An OBM provides agreed terms of service or an open-ended contract. Either way, you can terminate the contract at any time and discontinue our working relationship. The agreed period will be stipulated in the contract (currently 30 days).