A Guide To Hiring An Office Manager
Hiring an Office Manager can be a game changer for your business. It can free you up from the day to day tasks and help you work on the more strategic side of the business OR it can just give you more time to yourself!
But there are lots of questions you need to ask yourself before you jump in and hire the first person you see!
Why Do You Want An Office Manager?
It’s important to decide your why. Why do you want someone to take over running part/all of your business?
Something I always do before I implement changes is ask WHY?
It’s a really good habit to get into to avoid rushing into things with no plan and then regretting it.
How Will Your Role Change?
If you hire an Office Manager what are you planning to do instead (and it’s ok to say nothing!!)
- Do you want a manager to deal with everything or just some tasks?
- Are you stepping away completely day to day or still being involved?
- Are you going to focus on growing your business or just take more leisure time?
It’s important to be clear on roles before you hire.
What Do You Want Them To Do?
I would suggest outlining what happens in your business daily/weekly/monthly. Grab a large sheet of paper and write down all the elements of the business and the tasks that get done.
It can take a few days to get it all down – I recommend writing it out and then leaving it and coming back to it a few times so you can be sure you don’t miss anything.
Once you do this you can start to see where there are tasks that you want to handover
- Do you want someone to answer the phones/deal with enquiries?
- Maybe you want someone to take over hiring and dealing with staff?
- Do you want someone to do your blogging and social media for you?
- Do you need someone to do your website?
Once you decide what you want to get done then you can determine the type of person that needs to do it.
If you want someone to do your Social Media then maybe hire a Social Media expert.
If you need someone to do your hiring, or part of it, you could hire a VA to do phone interviews and then only speak to people that are suitable yourself.
Maybe you want someone to do general email enquiries, again maybe a VA is more suited to this.
Virtual Assistant Versus Employee
A virtual assistant is someone who you hire on a contract basis. They have their own ‘VA’ business and provide services to a number of different clients.
Usually they have specific skills, so you might hire one to do your email marketing or your social media as that is their area of expertise.
Where you probably wouldn’t use a VA is for scheduling Pet Sitters or dealing with client complaints. This would be something that an Office Manager (who knows your business) would do.
Where Can You Find An Office Manager?
Often you might have an existing member of staff that can step up to that role. But remember just because they make a great Pet Sitter doesn’t mean they will make a good Office Manager
You could advertise through a recruitment site
What Type Of Skills/Personality Should A Good Office Manager Have?
An Office Manager needs to be organised, experienced in customer service and not someone who has a desire to start their own business.
Not wanting to own their own business is really important for me. If someone wants to start their own business then you run the risk of them taking clients, causing problems, being resentful and so on.
It’s best to have someone who enjoys working for someone and doesn’t have their own entrepreneurial dreams.
Other skills such as how you run your business, what way your system works etc. can always be taught.
How I Manage My Office Manager
Tasks They Do
- Answer Enquiries via phone and email (This is something we take the overflow of at the moment due to the volume)
- Schedule Sitters/Walkers
- Monitoring Keys (Updating System)
- Monitoring completed jobs throughout the day
- Dealing with Existing Customers via phone and email
- Customer Service i.e. Thank you cards, Follow up customer service calls, Birthday/Christmas cards etc.
- Chase Invoices paid, credits applied, referral fees given etc.
- Interviewing new Sitters
- Training new Sitters
Task They Don’t Do
- Social Media
- Financial Planning, Taxes etc.
- Customer Complaints
- Shared online files/folder (e.g. DropBox, Google Drive)– for example, spreadsheets for daily dog walk clients to track bookings, phone scripts, email templates.
- To Do lists in our online booking system for reminder tasks
- Notes on client profiles on client conversations, cards sent, feedback given etc. Dated and initialled.
- Whiteboards and wall planners in the office to sitter track holidays, sitter cover requirements and enquiries/new clients each week (Previously this was done online)
- Morning catch-up every day to discuss items that need completing
Note – if the person is working from home then it’s important to have good communication to avoid any miscommunication. It’s also important to meet up regularly for face to face chats.
A Valued Employee is a Happy Employee!
Our office manager works full time. She initially started working from home and was given a company mobile and then diverted it to us when she wasn’t working.
If you have clients that text a lot then you need to make sure your Office Manager forwards any communication on her phone to you while she is off (or take the phone back from her)
Note – We have a central freephone number that all calls come into so they can be diverted to different phones from there. (There are other systems like this, for example Ring Central.
Since moving into an office we have the same phone call system – but if the office manager is off she leaves her mobile in the office.
We also now have a part time recruitment person that comes into do phone interviews 5 hours a week.