You know those early morning routines’ you’ve expertly designed for yourself? Where you start a load of laundry before jumping in the shower, turn on the coffee pot before putting on your makeup or start your car 10 minutes before you’re set to leave. Let’s be real, these little tasks and rhythms we have in our days are the “Standard Operating Procedures” of our everyday lives that help us make the most of our time and feel a sense of calm and productivity.
These SOPs may not seem like much, but if you didn’t plan to do these little tasks in a certain way, could you imagine how much extra time you’d be wasting trying to manage it all?
Then add on all of this WHILE trying to run a successful business. Yikes.
As an Operations Manager and Director of Operations, I have seen (and implemented!) SOPs in a way that saves my business owners so much time and so many headaches!
When businesses don’t have Standard Operating Procedures in place:
- Processes move slower
- We waste time trying to remember how to complete tasks
- The steps are stuck in our brains and it becomes easier to make mistakes
- Onboarding new team members moves slowly and we can’t bring on support quickly (or spend double the time training new team members in person
Nobody’s got time for that!
With SOPs, your business can run efficiently with less room for error. Also, having a system to keep these SOPs organized is the icing on the cake! We’ll be touching on these systems soon so stay tuned! In the meantime, let’s run down the basics of SOPs.. the what, who, why, and how to get started!
So… what are standard operating procedures?
Standard Operating Procedures, also known as SOPs, are a series of steps that show how to do a specific, repeatable process in a business. They are usually in written form, with video walk-throughs if needed (this is a game changer for all you visual learners!). Having these steps allows for more uniform operations, and easy-to-follow guidelines if the task just so happens to be handed off to someone on your team. Having SOPs assures you and your business that tasks are going to get done efficiently and correctly since you’re the one that put them into place!
Here’s a quick example! You manage a social media account and every Sunday you like to create your posts in bulk for the following 2 weeks. You save audio, record your reels, design your carousels, write your captions, pull hashtags, then batch schedule them to be posted on set dates/times. Each of these steps has a purpose and belongs in a certain place in the workflow… a perfect content creation + posting workflow SOP!
Who needs them?
Every single business needs standard operating procedures. Within every business, there are 7 key strategic departments/pillars/objectives that have processes inside of them (not sure what they are, check out this IG post or this IG post to learn more!). Every repeatable process inside of these needs to have an SOP. They are the general “routine” of your business and how you keep tasks, small jobs, and events flowing. SOPs are especially helpful if you’re looking to have a team of any kind doing tasks for you that help to support your business.
Why do you need them? 4 Reasons Why…
- Our brains can’t remember every single thing (as much as we think we can), so an SOP takes off the pressure and allows your brain to forget some of the steps and release the mental load. The SOP will always be there when you need it, and you can always update it as your business grows!
- Not having SOPs in place is the best way to remain the bottleneck of your business and not grow. You’re leaving money on the table by not having SOPs in place. I mean, isn’t your goal to grow? That’s why we started these amazing businesses to begin with!
- It makes onboarding a new team member a BREEZE. If they need to know how to do something, send them the SOP instead of hopping on a call. Can you hear the time you’re saving racking up?
- Things get done quicker because you’re doing them in a systematic way every.. single.. time! Again, time is money! Cha-ching cha-ching, back in your wallet.
How to get started:
Before settling in to create that SOP (or better yet, assign a team member to create it!), let’s review why we need this particular SOP in the first place. What is the purpose it’s going to serve? Who is going to be using it? Once you know WHY, everything else begins to fall into place.
And then tackle the how. What format should the SOP be in… a simple checklist because it’s a quick and down-to-business task or a video walk-through because a written list will only confuse someone?
I personally think every SOP should have some “written” component to go over the purpose and detail some of the top-level information, but does it need to be more than that? Only you can decide.
Start by thinking through the tasks that you or your team do on a regular, repeatable basis.
- Onboarding new clients into your group program
- How to get your VIP days set up
- How to schedule social media posts
- The workflow for your weekly emails, and so many things in between!
Once you have a list, pick one and create one SOP at a time. You’ll quickly start to see how many steps you yourself follow when maintaining these tasks. It’s all the little things that make up the grand scheme of the bigger picture here!
My top tip? Start with a loom video of the process! This is literally just doing the thing you have to do anyways while recording yourself doing it. You can even talk through it to make it easier as well. After that, either you or your team can transcribe it and organize the written SOP into steps or a checklist and voila – you have an SOP!
What processes in your business could desperately use an SOP? Tell me below! And if you’re starting to actually get excited about creating some SOPs after going through this “why and how” process, then you’ll want to follow and stick around!
Need some more help kicking off these SOPs? Let’s connect and get this party started!