There’s a lot going on in your business, but what is the best way to keep everything organized, streamlined and in one place (that’s not your brain)?
Today, I’m walking you through your new secret weapon to keep all of your business processes straight.
This tool is going to make your daily and weekly tasks more efficient and professional. You’ll feel a new sense of ease around your business and build confidence as you implement these processes in your client work.
What is an SOP?
SOP stands for “standard operating procedure” (I know, sounds super exciting, right?). An SOP is really just a step-by-step process you, your client, or your team can follow to accomplish tasks in your business.
And I believe it is THE secret weapon to building the streamlined business you really want.
You can create an SOP for anything you do repeatedly in your business, from managing your daily social media content to onboarding a new high-ticket client.
Why do you need standard operating procedures in your business?
There are SO many amazing things an SOP can do for your business (and your peace of mind).
First and foremost, it takes all of those steps out of your head and puts them someplace safe, like a project management tool (more on that later).
They’ll also free up time. When was the last time you found yourself searching endlessly for a file, like a new client agreement or a template for podcast show notes? When everything has a place, you don’t have to go searching. You can get right to work and be more efficient than ever before.
You’ll project more confidence when talking with current or future clients. You’ll always know what your next step is, and your clients will notice that you are someone who really has her act together. This makes it so much easier for them to put their trust in you.
And when you’re ready to grow your team, your SOPs act as a how-to guide and make delegating a breeze.
Which business systems and processes should you tackle first?
One of the first places busy entrepreneurs get stuck is in figuring out where to start with SOPs.
You can create a SOP for virtually anything you do in your business. But if you’re already overwhelmed, trying to do it all at once probably won’t serve you.
Instead, start with a single system that will have the biggest impact on you, your time and energy, and/or your client experience.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What do I do frequently in my business?
- What is stressing me out or annoying me?
- What feels messy or clunky?
- What is taking longer than I think it should? Where does it feel like I’m wasting time?
- What would I like to delegate?
You’ll probably see some patterns as you work through these questions. Choose one area that sticks out to you and remember that you can come back to the list and continue building out more SOPs once you have the first one in place and running smoothly.
My 4-step framework to create your business processes
Step 1: Assess what you’re already doing
If you have done this thing in your business before, you already have a process for it – it just might not be a very good one.
Start by outlining the steps you took last time, or if it’s a new process, the steps you think you would need to take to get to your end result.
And while we’re talking about the end result, make sure you have a clear vision for the goal of your SOP. What do you want to achieve through this process?
Step 2: Streamline and simplify
Look at the list of steps you wrote out. Is there anything in there that can be simplified or removed altogether?
I think of this as the decluttering stage, where you lay everything out in front of you and decide what stays, what goes and what is in need of a little repair before it works properly.
This is where you look at what is actually necessary to meet the goal. For example, in an onboarding process, some of your goals might be to collect information from the client, give the client information about working with you and make them feel welcome.
If there are steps in your process that aren’t directly related to the goal or end result, throw them out.
Step 3: Automate it
This is the fun part! I like to think of technology as your very first team member. There are so many cool tools and platforms out there that can do some of the work for you – many of them for free.
Taking a little time to set up these tech tools will save you tons of time in the long run, since those tasks will now be off of your plate.
Step 4: Document your process
Once you have your new process laid out and set up, you’ll want to store it in a safe place, like a project management tool. My favorite for this is Trello (affiliate link), and the free version has a ton of great features that help you stay organized with your SOPs and beyond.
Not only can you document the steps of your SOP, you can link to important documents, tools or sites you’ll need to complete the process. It’s all in one place, so you don’t have to keep all of that info in your brain.
Bonus Step: Maintain
If you’ve ever decluttered your home (or even just a room), you know that the initial clean-out doesn’t last forever.
Your SOPs will evolve over time, just like your business. And you’ll need a plan to check in and make sure they’re still working for you.
Try setting a quarterly reminder on your calendar (or right inside Trello) to scan through your processes and do a quick refresh.
It takes a little work to create something simple, but it is so worth it when you feel more ease and confidence around your business.
Ready to start creating your own powerful processes?
In the Serving With Systems group program, I give you course material, templates and weekly LIVE coaching call. You’ll decide which systems will have the biggest impact on your business, create and customize SOPs based on your unique needs and set up the tech to support you.
We start October 24th, so don’t wait!
Book a call with me to talk about your business and whether the program is a good fit for you.