Welcome to a deep dive into the world of Online Business Management (OBM). We’re tackling a provocative question: “What do OBM Clients Want? The Seven Things No One is Telling You”. This exploration was sparked by observing what works and what doesn’t in the realm of pleasing clients. We’re not talking about the typical, surface-level advice you might hear, like needing to type up a letter. Instead, we’re delving into the real, ‘ooey gooey’ things that make clients truly appreciate their OBMs. So, let’s dig in and uncover these non-traditional, yet crucial elements.
This episode shares:
- How being proactive can change the game in online business management
- Why clear and regular communication is a must
- The importance of taking full responsibility in your role
- The value of using your skills and experience in a way that fits your client’s needs
The 7 things that OBM clients really want
- The power of initiative and proactivity
- The necessity of structured communication
- The concept of radical responsibility
- The importance of invested expertise and experience
- The role of amplifying team member strengths
- The need for a partnership approach
- The balance between leading and being led
1. Initiative and proactivity – more than just buzzwords
“You need to have initiative and you need to be hugely proactive.”
In the world of online business management, initiative and proactivity are more than just setting your alarm to wake up on time or filling up your car the day before a long trip. It’s about a higher level of anticipation and forward-thinking. It’s about looking further into the future, preempting potential issues, and planning for both the good and the bad.
As an OBM, you’re expected to operate at a higher level of initiative and proactivity than the average Joe. This means not only identifying potential problems but also coming up with solutions. It’s about seeing the whole chessboard, not just your pawn. When a problem arises, don’t just report it; come up with potential solutions and present them to your client. This proactive approach will set you apart and make clients love you.
TIP: 💡Always think a few steps ahead. If a team member is out of action, consider the flow-on effects and plan accordingly.
2. Structured communication – purposefully communicate more
Communication is the lifeblood of any successful business relationship, serving as the bridge that connects the various aspects of a business and ensures smooth operations. Clients not only appreciate communication, but they thrive on it, especially when it’s structured and well-organised. This doesn’t mean inundating them with a barrage of unnecessary details or overwhelming them with information. Instead, it’s about crafting a comprehensive communication plan that outlines when and how you’ll communicate, providing a roadmap for effective interaction.
This communication plan could involve a variety of strategies, such as weekly calls to review progress, monthly strategic planning sessions to map out future goals, or utilising communication tools like Slack for quick clarifications and instant messaging. It’s about using the right tools and strategies to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.
Having a structured communication plan in place does more than just facilitate conversation. It allows your client to know when to expect updates, how to ask for information, and what channels to use for different types of communication. It sets clear expectations and provides a framework for consistent, reliable communication.
Moreover, this plan also serves as a guide for your client, helping them understand how to best communicate their needs and concerns. It provides them with a sense of predictability and control, knowing that there are established protocols for communication. This not only enhances the efficiency of your interactions but also builds trust and confidence in your working relationship.
In essence, structured communication is about more than just talking. It’s about creating a communication ecosystem that supports the needs of the client, fosters collaboration, and drives the business forward. It’s a critical component of successful online business management, and one that can significantly enhance your relationship with your clients.
ACTION: 🎯Set up a communication plan with your client.
3. Radical responsibility – owning your role like a boss
In the job of an Online Business Manager, responsibility is really important. It’s not just about doing your tasks; it’s about really owning your part in the business. This means when things go well, and when they don’t. If you make a mistake, you need to admit it, figure out what went wrong, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Being an OBM is all about teamwork. Everything you do is part of a bigger picture. So, it’s not helpful to blame others when things go wrong. Instead, it’s better to see how everyone can work together to fix the problem. Understand why it happened and how to fix it. This makes for a better working environment and helps everyone trust and respect each other more.
Also, part of being responsible is spotting potential problems before they happen. It’s about being one step ahead, seeing possible challenges, and figuring out how to deal with them. This not only stops small issues from becoming big problems, but it also shows your clients that you’re really committed to helping their business succeed.
In short, being an OBM is about more than just doing your job. It’s about being a key part of the business, owning your role, and always trying to do better. This level of commitment is what makes a really great OBM, and it’s what clients really value.
TIP: 💡If something goes wrong, work out a game plan to rectify it before approaching your client.
4. Invested expertise and experience – tailoring your superpowers
“Clients want to feel like their business, their life effort, the empire that they have built is in safe hands.”
Clients need to feel that their business is in safe hands. They’re looking for a partner who can tailor their expertise and experience to their specific needs. It’s not about a one-size-fits-all solution, but about crafting a unique plan that caters to the client’s individual requirements.
In your role as an OBM, it’s crucial to show that you can adapt your skills and experience to meet the specific needs of each client. This means gaining a deep understanding of their business, their industry, and the unique challenges and opportunities they face. It’s about using your expertise to provide bespoke solutions that will help their business thrive.
But it’s not just about understanding their business. It’s also about demonstrating your commitment to their success. Clients want to feel that you’re as invested in their success as they are. This means going the extra mile, anticipating their needs, and always looking for ways to add value. Being an OBM is about providing a personalised, tailored service that puts the client’s needs at the heart of everything you do.
ACTION: 🎯Show your client how your expertise and experience can be tailored to their specific needs.
5. Amplifying team member strengths – boosting team performance
In your role as an Online Business Manager, you’re not just a coordinator, but a catalyst for your team’s success. You’re there to identify the strengths of each team member and provide the support they need to excel. This involves understanding their working styles and adjusting your approach to bring out their best. For instance, if you know that your web developer thrives on detailed instructions given well in advance, then it’s your job to ensure they get that.
Creating an environment where each team member feels supported and empowered is key. It’s about fostering a positive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and their contributions recognised. This approach not only improves the quality of individual work but also enhances the overall performance of the team.
Moreover, it’s about being proactive in managing the team dynamics. If a team member is unavailable, it’s your responsibility to assess the impact and make necessary adjustments. This might involve shifting workflows, adjusting timelines, or even finding a temporary replacement. By doing so, you ensure that the team continues to function smoothly, and the business objectives are met. This level of proactive management is what sets a great OBM apart and makes them an invaluable asset to any business.
“The more that you can bring out the best in the team, the more value you add to a client’s business.”
TIP:💡Understand how each team member works best and adjust your approach accordingly.
6. A partner approach – more than just business, it’s a ‘bromance’
Clients are looking for more than just a service provider; they’re seeking a partner. They want someone who is there with them every day, someone who is genuinely invested in their business. As an OBM, you’re not just managing tasks; you’re holding their business with care, acting as a sounding board for their ideas, and helping to bring their vision to life.
Creating a comfortable space for clients to share their ideas and vulnerabilities is crucial. This involves supporting them with kindness, honesty, and providing genuine feedback and advice. It’s not about always agreeing with them, but about having open and honest discussions that can help shape the business.
When clients feel like you’re partnering with them, it fosters a respectful and symbiotic relationship. This partnership goes beyond the typical client-service provider dynamic, creating a deeper connection that can lead to greater business success. In this partnership, you’re not just executing tasks; you’re contributing to the growth and evolution of their business. This level of engagement and commitment is what sets a great OBM apart.
TIP: 💡Be more than just a ‘yes man’. Provide genuine feedback and advice to help bring your client’s ideas to life.
7. Leading and being led – The dance of authority
“Sometimes they lead. Sometimes you lead.”
In the end, clients want to be the leaders of their business, but they also crave guidance. They aspire to be the face and voice of their brand, yet they don’t want to be overwhelmed by the nitty-gritty of business operations. As an Online Business Manager, your role is to navigate them through this journey, highlighting the critical points they need to be aware of, and spearheading solutions to any challenges that emerge.
It’s about striking a balance between giving them the reins and stepping in when necessary. Clients want to feel in control, but they also appreciate the assurance that comes with having an expert by their side. They want to make the big decisions, but they also value having someone who can handle the operational details, allowing them to focus on their vision.
This dynamic of leading and being led is a dance, a partnership. It’s about creating a space where clients can lead their business confidently, knowing that they have a reliable OBM who can manage the operational aspects efficiently and step in to guide when needed. This balance is the key to a successful business relationship, one where both parties feel valued and heard
ACTION: 🎯Find the balance between leading and being led. Know when to step in and when to let your client take the reins.
In the realm of online business management, these seven elements might not be the typical advice you hear. However, they are the real game-changers, the factors that can exponentially grow your client’s business. They are not just about ticking off tasks on a to-do list, but about creating a deep, meaningful impact. I encourage you to select one or two of these elements and incorporate them into your toolkit. Observe the difference they make in your client relationships and the overall growth of the business. The results might surprise you. As I’ve often found, these are the things that get me the best feedback with clients. At the end of the day, it’s not about having a degree in a specific field, but about these elements that truly help grow a business exponentially.
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Follow along with the transcript
What do OBM clients want? The 7 things no one is telling you.
Hey. Hey rock stars. Welcome to the next episode of The Audacious OBM. So today our episode is called “What do OBM Clients Want? The Seven Things No One is Telling You”, and I know it’s a little bit provocative of title, isn’t it? So this episode came about as I was thinking, what are the things that I see online business managers trying to do to please clients that aren’t quite working, and what could they be doing instead?
What have I seen that lands successfully? So that’s why we’re going to be talking about these seven things. I’m actually going to tell you what they are. I’m not going to keep it a secret. And I want you to understand that they are non-traditional. They are not your typical things where someone will say to you, oh, you need to be able to type up a letter.
This is not the level I’m talking about. I’m talking about the real ooey gooey things that make clients love you. So, let’s dig in. All right. The first thing is initiative and proactivity. When we’re talking about initiative and proactivity in terms of being an online business manager, it is more than just the average Joe.
Being proactive for an everyday person is things like setting your alarm so that you get up on time to go to work or it is being proactive is filling up your car the day before you need to go somewhere and not on your way to your meeting. But when you’re an online business manager, there’s a whole new level and we cannot operate at a different standard, a general standard, otherwise, it kind of takes away from our value and the value that we bring to a business. It is this higher level of initiative and proactivity. What I’m talking about is the ability to look forward and further forward than people generally would if you’re project planning or if you are trying to deliver an operation smoothly.
You need to be able to look forward and even preempt some of the things that might go wrong or some of the things that might go right, and if something goes really right, knowing what action is needed at that time to enhance that result. So it is all about looking further. Into the future, and then looking at the different pathways that might occur.
And when we’re talking about initiative, we’re talking about looking at all of the moving pieces. You have to be able to see the whole chess board, not just your pawn, the whole thing. And see, okay. I know this team member has said to me that they’re out of action this week. What are we gonna do about that?
It is more than just looking at what that team member is responsible for, but it’s also looking at all the flow on effects from that team member being gone. This then dictates whether we need to find a replacement, whether we just need to push timelines out. And what the other team members are going to need because they’re down a human. They might need to shift their workflow and their workload, or it might mean that we are never going to meet a really important deadline that we were banking on.
So it’s all about using as much of your thought as you can to preempt issues arising. And when they do. Having the capability to review and think of potential solutions and going back to a client with those, not just going back with, we have this problem and I think that’s going to cause more problems.
What if you added the solution? We have this problem, it’s going to put the rest of the team behind or under pressure. I don’t think it can wait until Susie gets back. Here are three people I think we can reach out to who might be able to help. It’s gonna cost you $500. I think it’s worth the investment. Otherwise we’re going to have to change the delivery date of this job.
It’s a different conversation, right? All right, so that was number one. You need to have initiative and you need to be hugely proactive.
Number two, structured communication. This seems like a simple one, and it is simple, but it is incredible how many times we forget to do this, and that is to communicate clients love, communication, and structured communication.
Now, I’m not saying you need to talk everybody’s ears off with details they don’t need. I’m saying you need a plan with your client about when you are going to communicate, what you’re going to communicate, how you’re going to communicate, so that they know what they can expect and they know. Okay. If I want an answer to something or I need something, this is how I go about asking.
This is the easiest way. And so an easy way to do this is to create some rules. Now, I’m not saying that they’re hard and fast rules. But it might be okay, we’re going to have a weekly call on a Monday, and that’s when we’re going to review the week before’s workload, what was accomplished, what is now overdue, and the things that are coming up and what looks like it might be at risk, what needing to rectify that and do operational planning.
Then we might come together once a month and do a strategic plan for the following month, or in between, we might use Slack to communicate. So if we need further clarification on little things, we can jump in there and ask the question. If you need something urgently, you can email me and you’ll get a reply within 24 hours.
All of these things are explaining different avenues your client can use to communicate with them and the different avenues you will use to communicate with your client. It also gives them a really simple way to know when to hear from you. So if you express, okay, I’m gonna let you know when we’ve hit this point of the project, or I will let you know the second that I have completed this piece of work that the graphic designer is waiting on, because then, you know, we’re three days away from launch. I will communicate with you if one of these three crucial things happen, or you will hear from me, you know, at the end of every project. Like, what is it and when can they expect to hear something? And if you want my honest advice, communicate more.
Purposefully communicate more. So not with irrelevant updates, with genuine updates, but possibly more so than you naturally would because they don’t know what you are doing. They’re sitting somewhere else wondering, and it’s really easy fix.
Number three, radical responsibility. When we talk about radical responsibility.
We’re talking about our role in a business and when things go right and when things go wrong. If you make a mistake, apologize and own it, and then investigate it. Work out what has happened, why it happened, and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen again, preferably before the client notices. So if something has gone wrong and you’ve seen it, Work out the game plan to rectify it, then come back to your client.
Don’t come to them just with a problem and you might not be able to solve everything without them. It is more about the approach and the attitude. It is also really important that we see everything we work on as a group effort, it is you and the rest of the team. Even if it is just you and your client, you’re a team.
And what we don’t wanna do is constantly shift blame to other people. And you might feel like, Hey, this was not my fault, but do you really need to highlight that? Because the chances are if there is a repeating situation, And there’s issue after issue after issue. The likelihood is one of those issues are yours.
But if it’s just, you know, things happen and sometimes things don’t go to plan. And if it’s one of those times, then your client will know that it’s not some big issue that you have or be looking to place blame on anybody.
The best thing that you can do is accept the responsibility.
“I see this has gone wrong. I’m going to find out what my role was in it and how I can help contribute so that in the future this doesn’t happen again.”
It’s taking that responsibility and it’s not just blaming, oh, that’s because such and such did this, or didn’t do this.
Well, can I tell you something? If someone didn’t do something, you’re an online business manager, so. It’s kind of your job to make sure they’re doing it and make sure they know they need to do it.
So if there is an issue where we’ve got a team member who, although we’ve put in everything in place so that they can be successful, why isn’t it working? And then it’s your job to try and help resolve that issue.
And if the answer, in the long term is, well, that person doesn’t really fit our team, that’s the answer. But it’s still not a place where we just go, no, no, no. It was their fault. If we put ourselves in the middle of it, we’re gonna come up with a better answer, and we’re not gonna come off as defensive all the time, or someone who’s not willing to help we’ll be solution focused and your clients will feel more secure.
Number four is invested expertise and experience. Now, I haven’t just said expertise and experience. I’ve said invested. And why have I said that? Clients want to feel like their business, their life effort, the empire that they have built is in safe hands. They want to be able to work with somebody that they trust and somebody who knows what they’re doing.
But not only do they need to know what they’re doing, they need to be able to show, you need to be able to show, that you can tailor your knowledge and your experience to this specific client. It is not a one approach fits all solution. Just because this approach worked in one situation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best solution for this client.
There’s lots of different factors, and it’s your job to consider them and then to explain to your client why this is the best approach for them, specifically. And share your experience and your expertise and how that looks for them. Again, it’s going, they’re going to see that you are designing a plan around them and what they need, not just a cookie cutter approach.
Number five, amplifying team member strengths in your role as an online business manager. It’s part of your job to coordinate the team, and the biggest thing you want to avoid is having the team offside. So, coming into the team explaining why you are there and that you are not there to overrule or override them, that you are there to support them, and that is your job.
And with that support comes your responsibility that we spoke about. So you’re going to be invested in how they’re progressing because you want to be able to jump in and help or give them the resources they need to create big outcomes. You need to be able to look at different team members and identify what their strengths are, and then add in what you can to bring out those strengths even more so. If you know that the web developer works far better with really detailed instructions that are given a week before, then start doing that. If you know that that’s when the best work happens, put those things in place so that the relationship with the web developer is fantastic. They feel supported.
They feel like they can do their best work, and that you are in their corner. If they get stuck or they have a problem they cannot solve, they can come to you and you will direct them. That’s the ideal situation here. The more that you can bring out the best in the team, the more value you add to a client’s business.
And honestly, the more fun it is. It’s like working with a group of people that you really like and you enjoy. You’ve got a whole crew of colleagues, that are a joy to work with.
Number six, a partner. Clients want. A partner, they don’t just want an invoice at the end of the month or before the month.
They want someone who is doing it with them every day. Someone they feel is invested, who knows their business, who can hold their business with care, who can be a sounding board for their ideas. Now let’s talk about visionaries. They have so many ideas, so many, and quite often they can’t choose between them, but that’s your strong suit.
You’re logical and practical, and can see how different ideas can roll out and where they fit. So you are the perfect sounding board, and you have to create a space where clients feel they can share these ideas and these vulnerabilities with you, and then it’s your job to support them with kindness and with honesty.
It is no good just being a yes man because that’s not what a partner is. Partner doesn’t just say yes all the time, but they give genuine feedback and advice. And they help bring these things to life. That’s your job.
If your client feels like you’re partnering with them, you end up with a really respectful and symbiotic relationship and it’s the best thing ever. Really. It makes people really easy to work with. It means that you can have bigger and better ideas if you don’t have to be worried about what someone is thinking about you, or if they’re gonna judge your idea, or if you’re going to look silly or that your business sense is going to be questioned, then all of a sudden you can have the popcorn discussions.
The ones where all of the ideas just get said, and then you narrow them down and look for the good ones. It really means that you can have open and honest conversations, and that will change everything, and it will make your clients feel like they’re not doing this alone, because running a business alone is one of the hardest things someone can do.
And the final one, number seven, clients want to lead. And to be led. So, how do they want to lead? They have created a business, possibly. It’s only been them for quite a long time. Now. There’s another person, or now there’s a team. They still want to feel connected. They still want to have the final say. They still want to be able to have ideas and have their thoughts and their visions amplified, activated, implemented. They want to be the face and the voice of that brand. They want to lead, they want to be respected and seen, and all of those things are totally valid. But here’s what that doesn’t mean. That doesn’t mean they want to manage every person and all the jobs that all these people have to do.
It doesn’t mean they want to be on the end of every email. It doesn’t mean they wanna be so overrun by the operations of the business that they can’t actually be the visionary. They don’t have the space. And without space, you don’t have the room for creativity, which is where all brilliant visionary ideas come from.
For this, they want to be led. They want you to come to them and say to them, this is where you are needed in your zone of genius. Here’s when I need it. Here’s how you have to do it. Or, Hey, we’ve got some critical points. That really need your understanding and your insight because you know this industry better than anybody else, or I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but we’ve had some consistent feedback about the program and I think it’s valid.
Everybody is asking for a call schedule, and I think that that would be really helpful. Here’s how I want to go about it. So it’s bringing them different things that they should know about, not necessarily that they have to go and do, but things that will be valuable to them or that will help shape the business.
And then they want you to lead that solution and to get it to happen and be live and then see the outcome. They want you to tell them in this aspect, which is where we go back to being partners. Sometimes they lead. Sometimes you lead.
So there they are. Those are the seven things, and like I said, they’re probably not things everybody talks about, but I can tell you from personal experience, these are the things that get me the best feedback with clients.
And none of it is, “I really wish you had a degree in blah”, because at the end of the day, that does not help them grow their business exponentially, whereas all of these things will. So, have a go even try one of them. If you’re not used to doing all these things, pick one. Add them to your toolkit and then come back and tell me what the result was.
What response did you get? Did you see a change? Thanks so much for listening. I’ll catch you next week.