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tech & tools

What is the Difference Between an Online Business Manager (OBM) and a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

In today’s fast-paced business world, entrepreneurs and small business owners need all the help they can get. Whether it’s managing day-to-day operations or planning for growth, having the right support can make all the difference. Two roles that are often confused are the Online Business Manager (OBM) and Virtual Assistant (VA). In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between these roles and how they can complement each other.

Responsibilities: What Does Each Role Entail?

At their core, OBMs and VAs have different responsibilities. A VA typically handles administrative tasks, such as scheduling, email management, and data entry. They may also provide customer support, social media management, and other tasks as needed. While VAs can be invaluable to a small business owner, they generally focus on supporting specific tasks or individuals.

An OBM, on the other hand, has a more comprehensive approach to business management. They’re responsible for overseeing the entire business operation, including marketing, sales, customer service, and team management. OBMs work closely with the business owner to ensure that the company runs smoothly and achieves its goals. They’re also responsible for creating and implementing strategies to drive growth and profitability.

Level of Autonomy: Who makes the Decisions?

Another key difference between OBMs and VAs is the level of autonomy they have. A VA generally works under the direction of a manager or executive. They receive instructions on specific tasks and are responsible for completing them in a timely and efficient manner. While VAs may provide feedback and suggestions, they generally don’t make strategic decisions for the company.

In contrast, an OBM has a higher level of autonomy. They’re often responsible for making important decisions on behalf of the business owner. OBMs may develop strategies, set budgets, hire and manage staff, and oversee projects from start to finish. They work closely with the business owner to ensure that decisions align with the company’s goals and values.

Skills: What makes a good OBM or VA?

Both OBMs and VAs require a specific set of skills to be successful. A VA should be highly organized, detail-oriented, and able to multitask. They should also have excellent communication skills and be comfortable working independently. VAs may have experience with specific software or platforms, such as email marketing tools or social media platforms.

An OBM, on the other hand, needs a broader range of skills. They should be proficient in project management, team leadership, and strategic planning. OBMs may also have experience with digital marketing, website development, and other technical skills related to online business management. In addition, OBMs should have excellent communication skills and be able to work collaboratively with the business owner and other stakeholders.

Compensation: How much should you expect to pay?

As you might expect, the compensation for OBMs and VAs varies depending on their level of experience and expertise. VAs generally charge an hourly rate, which can range from $15 to $30 or more, depending on the complexity of the tasks and the VA’s level of expertise. Some VAs may charge a flat rate for specific projects or ongoing support.

OBMs, on the other hand, typically charge a retainer fee or project-based fee. The cost can vary widely, depending on the size of the business, the scope of the work, and the OBM’s level of expertise. Most OBMs starting rate is $50 per hour. In general, OBMs earn more than VAs because of the higher level of responsibility and expertise required for the role.

Blending Roles: When do you need both?

While OBMs and VAs have different roles and responsibilities, there are times when both can be valuable to a small business owner. For example, a business owner may hire a VA to handle routine administrative tasks, such as managing emails and scheduling appointments, while also working with an OBM to develop and implement strategic plans for growth. This allows the business owner to focus on high-level decision-making and leave the day-to-day tasks to the VA.

Another way to blend the roles of an OBM and VA is to have an OBM delegate some administrative tasks to a VA. This frees up the OBM’s time to focus on more strategic responsibilities while ensuring that routine tasks are still being handled efficiently. For example, an OBM may delegate social media management to a VA, while still overseeing the overall marketing strategy for the business.

Ultimately, the decision to hire an OBM, VA, or both depends on the needs of the business and the budget available. It’s important to assess the current state of the business, as well as its goals for growth and profitability, to determine which roles are necessary. It’s also important to consider the level of experience and expertise required for each role and to seek out professionals who have a proven track record of success in online business management.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, while OBMs and VAs have different roles and responsibilities, they can compliment each other in a small business setting. A VA can handle routine administrative tasks while an OBM focuses on strategic planning and business management. By blending the roles of an OBM and VA, small business owners can ensure that all aspects of their business are running smoothly and efficiently, while also working towards long-term growth and profitability.

If you’re considering hiring an OBM or VA, it’s important to do your research and find professionals who have the skills and experience necessary to meet your business needs. Look for professionals who have worked with businesses similar to yours and who can provide references or case studies of their past successes. With the right team in place, your business can thrive and grow in today’s competitive online marketplace.

March 7, 2023