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The Differences Between an OBM And A VA

So many business owners out there are looking for help to run their businesses. It’s why I started my business all those years ago. I knew how to set up seamless processes and maximise efficiency, and my clients recognised that. By helping them unleash the potential in their own businesses, I found my calling as an OBM.

The reason people are looking for help is not because they are not capable. They may not have the time or expertise to do everything themselves. Outsourcing experience is the smart way to run a business. No one can be good at everything, and no one has the time to do everything.

This is where I come in.

I offer the services of an OBM (online business manager), in myself, as well as VA’s (virtual assistant) through my team members. Both have their rightful place in a business but they are not the same thing. In this blog, I’d like to take you through the differences between them.

In a Nutshell

An OBM is someone who helps with the overall management of a business. This can include things like project management, customer service, marketing, and more.

A VA is someone who helps with specific tasks that need to be done, but they are not necessarily responsible for the overall management of the business.

Breaking It Down

  1. An OBM Manages While a VA Works on Tasks.
    The VA will focus on things like administrative work like sending emails, answering phones, marketing activities, general tech support etc. Generally, a VA will fill in the gaps wherever needed based on their expertise.An OBM will manage the business. He/she will assign roles, set deadlines and manage projects. It’s a more senior position in the business and it requires specific qualifications.
  2. An OBM Manages Others While a VA Is Responsible for Themselves.
    The OBM looks at what everyone is busy with and manages their time and processes. It’s the role of the OBM to ensure projects are finished on time and business objectives are being met.A VA only has to worry about their own task list. Often, their responsibilities and deadlines are assigned by the OBM.
  3. An OBM Forecasts While a VA Focuses on Their Current Workload
    The OBM needs to plan ahead. The sign of a good OBM is a proactive business and not a reactive one.The OBM needs to make sure that the business is always running at optimal levels. To do this, they need to create plans and implement systems.
  4. The OBM Manages the Team While the VA Collaborates Only When Necessary
    The OBM is the central point of contact for the whole team. It’s their job to make sure every team member knows what needs to be done, how to do it and when it needs to be completed.

The VA waits to be assigned tasks and will only collaborate with other team members if the work calls for it. Otherwise, they will work on their assigned tasks independently.

So, Which One Should You Hire?

It really depends on your needs and what you are looking for in your business. If you need someone who can take on more of the overall management of your business, then an OBM is likely a better fit. I’ve written a more detailed article titled ‘Are You Ready for an OBM?’ which you can read here if you’d like.

If you just need someone to help with specific tasks, then a VA may be a better option. You can even hire both. Having two people working on your business can be helpful because it allows for more flexibility and coverage.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to hire an OBM or a VA, or both, depends on your specific goals. If you need to discuss it in more detail before you make your decision, feel free to reach out to me directly and we can chat further.

Written by: Team Bauhinia


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Established in 2007, Bauhinia Solutions is a boutique virtual business support agency with a team of dedicated and experienced business specialists, administrators, and virtual assistants.