In 2016, I hung up my “Open for Business” sign. In the online world, that means I purchased my domain name for Virtual Office Manager. What started out as an idea I thought might work, has now turned into a full-blown business. And what a ride it has been!
For the last two years, I have operated under my original business name (Virtual Office Manager) and it’s been successful. Recently, I decided to rebrand my company. This is a necessary step to scale my solopreneur business into a full-service agency. On October 1, 2018, Virtual Office Manager will become Amazing OBM, and a new chapter in business will begin.
For those of you who have been with me from the beginning, we’ve seen our partnerships and businesses grow. I am grateful to the contributions you have made towards my business growth.
Whether you are familiar, or not, with my journey, I would like to share the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Lesson 1: You don’t know what you don’t know
Even though I had a strong business background, including prior business ownership, I thought my experience had prepared me for this next venture. But there were two things I realized rather quickly.
First, a lot has changed since 2004 (when I launched my first business). While some technology platforms still existed, the technology industry had exploded. The technical expertise required in business today is expansive and overwhelming. Immerse yourself in technical training or hire technical experts.
Secondly, when entering a new industry, it’s important to perform an in-depth analysis. Who is your competition? What are their service offerings? How is their pricing structured? And how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Bottom line… open your mind to new ideas and never stop learning.
Lesson 2: Find Your Tribe
In the beginning, I didn’t have a clearly defined target market. As a result, my first client was not a good fit. However, my second client was a leadership coach, and we immediately clicked. My third client ran a therapy practice for postpartum mothers. I quickly realized I had found my tribe – coaches and therapists.
Now I’m finding it very easy to attract these types of clients. Coaches and therapists visit my website and they know immediately who I work with. One of my core values is personal growth, which closely aligns with this market. It makes for smooth, happy and collaborative partnerships.
Lesson 3: Focus Your Marketing on Educating Your Clients
When I had my coaching practice, I found myself educating my market on what a coach did. It’s no different in the virtual support space. While most people are familiar with what a virtual assistant does, fewer people understand what an online business manager does (OBM). Although my company name was Virtual Office Manager, people still confused me with a virtual assistant.
This is why I decided to change my company name and rebrand my business. The new business name will be Amazing OBM. I understand I will need to educate people on what an OBM does. Many of my virtual assistant clients actually need an OBM. But most importantly, prospective clients will be clear that I am not a virtual assistant. I am a business manager and strategic operational partner for coaches and therapists.
Lesson 4: Outstanding Service will Grow Your Business
One of the most significant lessons I’ve learned in business was the importance of going above and beyond for the customer. This philosophy was ingrained in me at an early age. It drives my business today. Because of my commitment to excellence, Randy, one of my favorite clients, nicknamed me “Amazing Lori.”
His enthusiasm is rooted in the high touch service he receives from me. As a result, people in his circle of influence want to work with “Amazing Lori.” This is an example of how the level of service you provide can make a huge impact on your business growth.
This nickname and my amazing client are the inspiration for naming my business Amazing OBM. My goal is to provide amazing service to everyone I work with.
Lesson 5: Step Up your Game to Scale Your Business
Growing from a solopreneur business to an agency style business required me to step up my game. It’s easier to handle the business when you only have a few clients. As your client base grows, you need to change the way you manage your business.
You need to grow your team and get comfortable with delegating. Take a deeper look at your processes and put systems in place to streamline. You may need to change or add technology tools that can help manage your growth. Most importantly, you need to shift your mindset and continue to develop your leadership skills.
The most important lesson I’ve learned about scaling your business is to pace yourself. Managing your trajectory is critical to the success of your growth. Keep learning, make time to plan and strategize, and make sure you have support.
Growing a business is not for the faint of heart. My spouse mentioned a funny quote the other night “Only an entrepreneur will work 80 hours a week to avoid 40.” But the satisfaction of running my own business makes it all worth it.
Looking forward to launching my 2nd chapter of business – Amazing OBM! Bring it on!
My Journey from Virtual Office Manager to Amazing OBM
September 1, 2018