Everything You Need To Know About Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

standard operating procedures

In the world of online business, there’s a lot of talk about Standard Operating Procedures, but do you actually know what one is or why you need SOPs in your business?

As a business owner, you know how important it is to be consistent in the way you do business. Consistency in business leads to efficiency and a quality product which leads to happy clients.

It’s also important to provide quality services or products to your clients. This can only happen when you are producing consistent results. When you have an established procedure for completing a task or creating a product, you will build trust because your services are reliable.

Implementing SOPs in your business is an important step you can take to reach that point.

What Are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)?

A Standard Operating Procedure is simply a documented procedure within your business. They can be short in length or they can be pages long. It all depends on the task. The important factor is that any recurring process is documented step-by-step. 

Some tasks you may want an SOP for include:

  • Creating Pinterest pins
  • Add a new blog post to your website
  • Making style changes to your website
  • Creating content for social media
  • Gathering metrics for analysis

There are so many tasks in your business that you could create an SOP for. The more you have, and the more detailed they are, the more efficient your business will become.

Standard Operating Procedures don’t have to be fancy. In fact, some of the first SOPs I created in my own business are simply the title of the SOP and a list of the steps I did to complete a task. The tasks are not even numbered. This is a good way to start creating SOPs. Over time you can add more details.

Why Use SOPs In Your Business

My first introduction to SOPs in my business came when I performed a task for the second time and it took me as long as it did the first time. I had forgotten the small details of each step. I began to write down details of each step so the third time would go more quickly.

standard operating procedures

A Standard Operating Procedure helps you perform tasks efficiently because you know which step comes next in the process. Because there’s no guessing in the steps to take, errors in your work are reduced. This saves time and increases productivity.

Another bonus to having SOPs is that they help train new team members. You still need to spend time training someone new, but an SOP reduces that amount of time greatly. A well written SOP has enough detail that a new team member can complete a task with little help. It’s a blessing for you and that new team member.

If you go on vacation, you can rest assured that your team members will be able to keep the business running. Likewise, if a team member takes some time off, their tasks can still be completed with SOPs on file. Detailed SOPs will give team members the information they need to handle tasks and situations while you or another team member is gone.

How To Create An Standard Operating Procedure

When you start creating a new SOP, take out a piece of paper and jot down E V E R Y step. Write down anything you need prior to starting a step. Record the software you will use or documents you need. It doesn’t have to be perfect. What matters is that you just get started. You can add things later as you type it up or the next time you complete the task.

The Standard Operating Procedures I create now are more detailed than the first ones I created. They include the following sections.

  • Prerequisite
  • Purpose
  • Policy
  • Person
  • Process
  • Procedure

To save time, I have created a SOP template that I use in my business. The template contains sections for all of the necessary information someone needs to know to complete tasks in my business. Head over to my Free Resources page to grab your free copy of my SOP template.

When creating an SOP, you may discover a more efficient way to complete a task. This is something you may not have realized unless you had written  the steps down.

When deciding who should create the SOP for a task, consider asking the team member who completes the task to create it. After all, that is the person who knows how to do the task best.

As you create all of the Standard Operating Procedures for your business, consider where you will store them. You want to have them accessible to everyone on the team. I recommend storing them in Google Drive and sharing the folder with everyone on the team. Have folders for each area of the business. Even consider having folders within folders to make everything easier to find.

In my business, I take things a step further. When I create a task in my project management tool, ClickUp, I attach any SOP that will help with the completion of the task. This extra step saves time later because everything that is needed is in the same place.

What Will Be Your First SOP?

Keep in mind that SOPs are living, breathing documents. What you create today, may change next week. They need to constantly be updated as software or processes within your business change.

So where will you start? One of the first SOPs you will want to consider creating should be how to create an SOP. By doing this, you can ask your team members to create SOPs for the tasks they complete. They will have this foundational SOP to refer to so all of the SOPs in your business are uniform.

As you prioritize which SOPs to create first, keep in mind that the process of creating SOPs for your business will take time. Do not expect to create all of them in a month or two. In fact, you may find that you are always creating new SOPs as your business goes. That’s okay. Do what you can when you can. But rest assured that with each SOP created, your business will be one step closer to running more efficiently.

standard operating procedures

P.S. For a free Standard Operating Procedure template, head over to my free resources page to get the one I use in my own business.

P.S.S. This post contains an affiliate link. This means that if you purchase the software, I will receive compensation for your purchase at no extra cost to you.

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