If you didn’t already know it, I’m obsessed with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs are the foundations to building solid, reliable systems that will optimize your business.
If there’s one thing that’s especially important for businesses, it’s consistency — and this is the main focus of SOPs. Consistency is what develops positive habits, which eventually become second nature and take some weight off your shoulders. It’s the difference between failures and successes. When you think about the aims and goals in your life, you think about building your dream home or simply getting your kids to bed at 7pm (the real dream!), and all of these victories require you to consistently apply routines and procedures.
Think for a second about your favourite restaurant. Perhaps it’s the Italian down the road, the one that serves pizza to die for. Why do you love to eat there? Because you know that that pizza is damn good, every single time – not to mention the wine! In this case, following processes and creating consistency achieved that restaurant a positive lasting reputation: making you a super satisfied customer with a food baby that proves it.
Now to stop thinking about pizza and wine (for now) and get serious. Your employees, your customers and your business will thrive off the consistency that SOPs deliver. Let’s look more into what they are and why you’d be crazy not to use them for your business.
What are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)?
An SOP is a documenting procedure which outlines the steps necessary to perform tasks for your business. The aim here is to streamline your processes so that they’re clear and concise. This will then allow you to deliver consistent and predictable results. To put it simply, think of them as ‘how-to’ guides and checklists for all of your recurring procedures and processes.
They help you and your team to stay organised and keep the wheels turning smoothly. This method of documenting holds the key to quality, efficiency and dependability throughout your organisation. Good procedures = less worries for you, more class action for your biz. On the other hand, bad procedures will cause you nothing but a headache in the end.
Why waste your precious time and money, when you could invest in SOPs that will give you HUGE returns in the long run?
There’s a ton of benefits in utilizing this kind of documentation process. Let’s dig a little deeper and learn my 6 top reasons why your biz needs SOPs.
1. Keep things consistent and standardized.
I must have mentioned the word consistency 100 times already. Your reputation depends on it. It’s super important for making sure things get done the way you want them to, in the most productive and efficient manner. SOPs give you an easy way to know what procedures are in place and they standardize your processes, making outcomes more predictable.
2. SOPs help you train new team members.
An SOP for training can help you smoothly onboard new team members. It can help your newbie understand their responsibilities and provides them with a set of clear directions for completing tasks. Similarly, SOPs can also help them to address any questions they might have. Ultimately, this allows your employees to feel more secure and wastes less valuable time. These training SOPs are definitely useful resources for existing employees memories if and when needed.
You can use written SOPs to eliminate errors and uncertainty in your operations because they provide a clear outline of duties and expectations. Generally, this makes everything run more like clockwork. On top of that, they also provide the basics and make sure you and your team are all on the same page, which overall creates a more productive working environment.
Once you have solid SOPs in place, they can now be replicated 100 times over. Because you already know the success of these processes, they can be used time and time again as your business grows. Also, you can use them to track performance of each standard procedure.
5. Managing quality and reducing risks.
Quality management is super important for keeping your customers, employees and your business happy. Depending on the nature of your organisation, legal compliance could be a factor, and it’s these standardised processes that have got your back. If your process is well-established, it shows you’re taking care to carry out all necessary tasks.
SOPs will give you the peace of mind to switch-off and rest assured that your processes are taken care of in the correct way. This is great if you’re on vacation, and is equally important in making sure your ass is covered in the case of unexpected absences like sick days. SOPs clearly outline who is responsible for what, so when you need to delegate it will be easy to see who is your point of call.
Now over to you: Are you utilizing SOPs in your business? How have they proved valuable to your organization? Share your experience in the comments below.