Providing Solutions, Not just Options

By , Founder of the CEO Business School for Transformational Leaders

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

Tina Forsyth - Founder of the CEO Business School for Transformational Leaders

What makes someone a great Online Business Manager?

That’s a bit of a loaded question, and of course a big discussion all on it’s own as there are a myriad of things to consider. However one thing I know to be true is this.

A good Online Business Manager will present you with solutions and not just options.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are Bob, a business owner who is looking for some help with picking a new broadcasting system for your newsletter. You aren’t happy with the one you have now and want to change it.

You ask a member of your team Suzy to look into this for you. Here are two potential responses that i’ve seen in this type of situation.

Response #1:

Hi Bob

I did some research and found some broadcasting systems that look pretty good. Here is a list of what I found:

[insert big list of URLs here]

Which did you want to use?


Response #2:

Hi Bob

I did some research and found some broadcasting systems that look pretty good. I found a number of systems and these are the ones I took a good look at:

Option 1 is great because of ABC, however they don’t have D which I wish they did. Otherwise I quite liked it, would be easy to import and start using.

Option 2 could totally work, they do have D but don’t seem to be quite as robust as Option 1. Plus they have a pretty stringent re-opt in requirement when importing a list which could mean losing subscribers.

Option 3 could work as well, they seem to have great features however i’ve heard of some deliverability issues with them so I hesitate to use them.

My suggestion would be to go with Option 1 – I know of a number of people using this system and they are quite happy with it.

Let me know your thoughts? If you agree I can get started on a plan to move the list of Option 1… or if you have further questions I can look into those as well.


Now putting yourself in the shoes of Bob – which response would you prefer to receive? I’m guessing you picked #2, but of course.

The difference in these two responses is obvious – and the reason why this is so important is that you are making it EASY for a decision to be made. Theoretically yes, the second response could (and in a real response probably would) go much deeper… however you can see in the example the focus on providing the best solution.

Business owners already have enough on their plates – and when you send a response of options (such as in #1) that just gives them more work to do. That kind of response is asking me to go to each site and check things out on my own… which most business owners don’t have the time or inclination to do!

In response #2 everything has been laid out, so that I can take a quick peek and immediately be able to respond with “yes, lets do it” or “hmmm, what about X… can you look into that for me?” No more work on my plate, and progress is made.

I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again (like a broken record, hehe). The role of the Online Business Manager is to take things off the business owners plate, so they are free to do the things only they can do in their business (marketing, strategy, development and such.)

And this includes lightening the ‘burden’ of making decisions as well as regular ole to-dos. Present your clients with solutions so that the decision making process is quick and easy. Don’t let them get ‘buried’ in having to figure things out on their own (and run the risk of not making a decision at all.)

A formerly overwhelmed entrepreneur and recovering control-freak, Tina Forsyth is passionate about helping conscious CEOs and entrepreneurs build a business that can run without them. As the author of The Entrepreneurs Trap and creator of the CEO Business School, Tina teaches transformational leaders how to get the right systems, team and leveraged revenue streams in place for profitable and sustainable success.  Tina also founded the International Association of Online Business Managers and is the creator of the Certified OBM™ Training– the only program of its kind to train high-end virtual managers.

© Copyright 2009 Tina Forsyth

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