How to Easily Create SOPs For Your Service-Based Business

Do you want to make your work products standardized and effective? Luckily, there’s a solution to several communication issues that can arise from your service-based business. SOPs are assets that improve your workflow efficiency, provide consistency across your brand, and ensure your business has clear and concise information. I’ll walk you through the need-to-know info about SOPs, the benefits SOPs bring to your brand, and how to easily create SOPs into your service-based business. 

What are SOPs?

SOPs, or Standard Operating Procedures, are assets for guiding specific tasks or adhering to guidelines in your business. SOPs can range from your copy format to company branding guidelines. The purpose of an SOP is to deliver consistent results across your brand, reduce errors, maintain knowledge, and promote productivity across your workflow. 

Benefits of SOPs

SOPs maintain consistency across your brand and activities. For example, a simple SOP on the colors and fonts to use in your branding is vital for achieving branding consistency across online platforms. Every business owner knows consistency is key, and SOPs help achieve that. 

SOPs reduce errors in your work. They are another resource users can employ to check their work before sending it for review or publishing. SOPs guidelines inform users of the quality expected from their work. 

It helps users and the company save time and money. Access to SOP resources allows users to troubleshoot before asking for help from others, which improves efficiency. SOPs are another resource for troubleshooting that saves time, enhances productivity, and maintains organizational knowledge of different processes outlined in SOPs. 

SOPs aid in reducing user knowledge loss. Creating digital SOPs ensures that organizational knowledge is accessible to all users and provides a guide on completing specific organizational tasks. Another perk of digital SOP storage is it’s much easier to update later on if technology or processes change in the future. 

If you work with a lot of different people across your business, SOPs make transferring work between people more manageable. SOPs help maintain consistency across these transfers and ensure that the final product is up to your business standards. 

6 Steps to Create an SOP

1. Identify the task and goal of the process, collect information, and list the steps. 

Identify the goal or result the SOP needs to achieve. Collect information by researching, using your knowledge of the task, and from the people who complete this task regularly. After you collect this information, list the steps of the process and visualize the best way to complete the task. Include other resources, templates, and platforms within your guideline if needed. 

2. Format the SOP.

Using the information you collected in step one, revise and format an outline for your SOP. You will have a complete step-by-step version outlining the operating procedure. Then, select a format that best communicates the task clearly and concisely. If you’re unsure how to organize the SOP, I suggest visualizing it in different formats until you find one that best communicates the information. This resource details several SOP formats and the best designs to use for specific tasks. 

3. Review the SOP.

After completing step two, consult with others to review your final SOP draft. Ask a wide range of people, including those knowledgeable in the task and those unfamiliar with it. Request feedback as to whether or not they can follow the SOP, if it makes sense, what they would change, and if they agree it fits with its intended goal. These insights are valuable for redrafting the SOP and creating future SOPs. Using the feedback from these people, go back and revise the SOP to improve on its criticisms. Continue to ask for feedback to adjust the SOP until it reaches its intended goal.

4. Pilot the SOP.

Following the previous step, publish your reviewed and completed SOP. After publication, conduct a pilot phase to assess the SOP’s effectiveness. Base the pilot phase timeline on the volume of work completed with the SOP, how long it takes to complete the task, and how often the SOP should be used or referred to. Tasks performed more often need a short pilot period than tasks not completed as often. I suggest a few weeks or months, as it ensures enough time to compare the SOP’s effectiveness to a period without the SOP. 

During this pilot phase, ask for feedback from those who use the SOP. Gather data about attitudes and quantitative effects on your business. This information is crucial in deciding whether or not to continue implementing your SOP. 

5. Analyze Results of the Pilot Phase and Make Improvements to the SOP.

After the SOP’s pilot phase, compile the data collected in step four and create a report highlighting the key insights from this SOP run. Some insights include overall SOP performance and effectiveness if the SOP was a helpful resource, user reactions and attitudes, and how often the SOP was used. If possible, have this report reviewed by several people to avoid misrepresentation or potential bias. 

Following this report, if users convey they like the SOP and think it is a valuable resource, use their feedback to revise the SOP to make it even better. Have others review these modifications. This is a vital step in creating an SOP because overwhelmingly negative feedback on your SOP or user resistance means you should either restart or scratch the SOP. Without user support, the SOP will be unsuccessful. 

6. Implement the SOP.

When the SOP has completed final revisions and aligns with its goal, implement it into the organization. Continue to collect user feedback and revisit its impact on your business. You should have a specific time to review the SOP and conduct steps four and five again. For example, revisit a new SOP every four months and use the data collected to ascertain its effect on your business.

SOPs can be a time- and investment-intensive process, but the outcomes are well worth the effort and revision that goes into them. Well-designed SOPs improve your business performance and work quality. These procedures are practical when working with others inside and outside your business and ensuring consistency across your content. SOPs are an essential resource for clear and concise communication. Are you thinking of implementing SOPs into your business? Contact me today to start creating SOPs that benefit your business. 

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