If you’ve not heard of a Standard Operating Procedure (aka a SOP) before, or know what it means for you and your business, now is the time!
A Standard Operating Procedure is created for each task that is undertaken in your business.
It not only helps you to know the ins-and-outs of your business, BUT it also means that if you delegate or outsource tasks, employ new staff, you have a resource that is essential for everyone to know who is responsible for each task and how to do the task.
We recommend when creating each SOP, that you consult with your staff/contractors to engage them in the process and have their input throughout the process. As a result, you may be surprised to discover information or ways of doing things you hadn’t thought of before. That’s a win-win in our books!
Once you have created a SOP, it then means you have specific measurable outcomes for your business. Everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect of the business and what is expected of them in the business.
You’ll see an immediate increase in productivity.
Here are some additional benefits:
Reduced on-boarding time for new employees
When someone is new on the job, your clearly defined Standard Operating Procedures document will become their best friend.
For instance, you may ask your new employee (or contractor) to make travel arrangements for you to organise and attend a meeting interstate.
By referring to the travel SOP, they will know exactly which travel agency you use with their contact details (if any), which airline to fly with, your frequent flyers membership details, the car hire (or taxi) service to use, etc.
It saves time, as you are not having to relay all the information – it’s already done – and allows them to get stuck in without them thinking they have to bother you.A SOP is a living document, which is subject to change and should be reviewed 2-3 times throughout the year.Click To Tweet
If a task is to be done but the responsible person is on leave, sick, or they haven’t been replaced yet – work can continue as BAU. Another team member can refer to the specific SOP and get it done without losing time or flying by the seat of their pants and potentially causing mistakes.
In fact, each business needs a Business Continuity Plan in place (but that is a whole ‘nother blog post!).
THE process document
The SOP makes it easy to know what each policy and procedure is in place to handle repetitive situations/tasks.
An effective Standard Operating Procedure may include an organisational chart of the business, as well as have a short job description and contact details for each staff member.
If you need to delegate a certain task, you can see at a glance who will be able to help you or advise you.
Also, if there is a gap in staff, you can use the SOPs to quickly instruct others that something needs to be done and they can get onto it quickly and easily without you wasting time nor money trying to explain it all. Another win-win!
Because there is a standard way of dealing with client enquiries, issues, etc., you can make sure that each client is treated equal and all messaging is consistent; making for a far better and smoother customer service experience; making you look good in the process.
Tip: you can save time by creating pre-written email templates in your email management software (I use them myself in Outlook). But, ensure you are always genuine and personable, not cold and robotic.
A SOP is a living document, which is subject to change and should be reviewed 2-3 times throughout the year. It is useful to have it in a centralised electronic format (and if necessary, hard-copy) format so that all employees and/or contractors in your business have access to the latest version.
You need to put together a clear and straightforward SOP, compiled in simple language to convey practical information.
Grab a copy of my Standard Operating Procedures Guide and Template that you can easily implement in your business today!
Need to discover more? Comment below, or contact me.
Because you’ve read this far, here is our Bonus Tip and Gift to You:
You can’t create the Standard Operating Procedure if you don’t know what your tasks are, or even know how to prioritise them. Our motto is to identify each and every task in your business (time track your day for a few weeks to help you) and then either:
Click here for my free Task Outline Priority Planner to help you get started.