What is a Virtual Partner / Virtual Business Manager (VBM)?
The official definition of a Virtual Business Manager (VBM) is:
A virtually based support professional who manages online based businesses, including the day-to-day management of projects, operations, team members and metrics.
However, I like to look at the role from a bit of a different angle – what is the purpose of a Virtual Business Manager beyond ‘what they do’?
The role of the VBM boils down to one simple thing:
To free up the business owner so that they can focus their time and energy on the things that only THEY can do in their business.
Most business owners look to hire a Virtual Business Manager (VBM) when they simply cannot grow their business anymore being the only one in charge. In order for them to take their business to the next level they need to pull themselves out of the day-to-day management activities and focus on growth.
This includes areas such as product development, strategic alliances and big picture business planning, all of which are essential to the growth of a business. Everything else becomes the responsibility of the VBM.
What are The Key Competencies of the VBM?
Hard Skills What an VBM Does
The skills, knowledge and experience that the VBM has about business tools, systems and strategies to be able to manage the day-to-day activities of the business.
Soft Skills How an VBM Acts
A VBM has the communication skills that allow them to excel in working with high-end clients, their team and customers.
Inner Game Who an VBM Is
Why the VBM does what they do- how they get structure their work environment so as to get the most satisfaction and fulfillment from being a VBM.
What makes someone a great Virtual Business Manager?
The ‘soft’ skills are more important than the ‘hard’ skills (this can truly make or break the Client / VMB relationship!)
A VMB needs to know how to work with their clients!
What is the difference between a Virtual Business Manager (VBM) and a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
This is the one question I’m asked most often, from both business owners (who do they hire?) Although similar in nature, there are some key differences between the two roles:
FOCUS The challenge for the VBM is to shift from doing to managing.
VBM – The focus of the Virtual Business Manager is on ‘management’ – you are hired to keep an eye on the big picture and manage all the pieces (projects, team members, operations, expenses) to ensure that all projects are getting completed in a timely and efficient manner.
VA – The focus of the Virtual Assistant is on ‘doing’ – you are hired to perform specific tasks (i.e.: customer service, shopping cart maintenance, etc) or complete specific projects (i.e.: setup a new member area or blog) and are the ones actually doing the work.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS – The VBM has to manage ALL tasks and projects, not just their own.
VBM -Everyones tasks and projects are being completed and delivered in a timely fashion. The team is happy and motivated. Systems are running smoothly and efficiently.
VA -Your own tasks and projects are being completed and delivered in a timely fashion.
LEVEL OF RESPONSIBILITY – It is a much higher level of responsibility – and the VBM needs to be up for it.
VBM -You are responsible for the success and smooth functioning of the entire business (as outlined above) – not just your own individual work.
VA -You are responsible for your own individual work.
NUMBER OF CLIENTS – The VBM gets to ‘go deep’ with a select few clients, vs. juggling the expectations of multiple clients.
VBM -Because of the level of responsibility that you have with each client, a Virtual Business Manager can only effectively work with 2 or 3 clients at a time in this capacity.
VA – Virtual Assistants will generally work with 5-10 clients, give or take a few either way depending on the workload with each client.
COMPENSATION – VBMs are motivated by incentive based pay.
VBM – Base + incentive structure. I start out working on an hourly or retainer basis, for about the first 90 days – then I will discuss the various opportunities for incentive based compensation.
VA – Hourly or project based. Most VAs charge for their work on an hourly basis, which can be billed in advance as a retainer or monthly for hours worked. Some will charge a flat rate by project for certain services.