Easily Systemise Your Business With Simple SOPs

Last Updated: March 27, 2024By
systemise your business with SOPs

Do you find yourself spending too much time every day looking for what you need or learning the steps for how to do a task instead of actually doing the work? If so, it’s time to systemise your business.

Why, you ask? Because systemising your business – whether it’s an online business or off – helps in a number of ways, such as:

  • saves time
  • increases efficiency
  • ensures consistency
  • makes scaling quicker and easier
  • and even increases the value of your business

So how do you get started? There’s more than one way to approach business systemisation, of course, but one easy way to start is with Standard Operating Procedures (or “SOPs”). This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to quickly see results in the form of time savings and increased efficiency.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a standard operating procedure is, how to create effective SOPs, identify some everyday tasks that are straightforward to document, share some strategies for implementing them in your organisation and even look at some tools for creating and managing them.

What is a standard operating procedure?

A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a document that outlines step-by-step instructions on how to perform a particular task or process within your business. They’re typically developed by subject matter experts like business owners or managers. And they serve as a guide for employees to follow when performing their duties.

SOPs are designed to ensure consistency, accuracy, and quality when tasks are performed. This is especially important for tasks that are critical or involve safety, security, or compliance issues.

The SOPs provide a clear and concise outline of the steps to be taken, the resources required, and the expected outcomes. All of which makes it easy for your team members to know exactly what to do and how to do it.

A good SOP typically includes details such as:

  • purpose of the procedure
  • roles and responsibilities of those involved
  • materials and equipment needed
  • steps to be taken in a specific order
  • expected outcomes
  • and any potential risks or hazards associated with the process

For many reasons, SOPs are an important tool to sure that your business operations run smoothly and efficiently. In fact, they are often required in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and aviation, where safety and quality are crucial.

So, basically, an SOP is a documented set of step-by-step instructions for how things get done, to make sure they get done the same way every time. And, it gets all the knowledge out of your head and into a format everyone can easily access whenever needed. All with the goal of helping you systemise your operations and make it easier to run your business.

How to create effective SOPs

We think you’ll agree that we all want a business that is easier to run efficiently. So let’s talk about how, exactly, to create SOPs that get the job done right the first time.

To make sure that these documents are useful for your team members, it’s important to develop them with the right details and structure. So, for effective SOPs that ensure consistency, accuracy, and quality in all tasks, follow these key steps:

Define the purpose and scope

Before you start writing your SOP, you want to clearly define the purpose and scope of the procedure. This includes identifying the task or process that the SOP will cover, the intended audience, and the desired outcomes. And don’t forget to include any legal or regulatory requirements that may need to be addressed.

This will require you to get precise with your subject. Don’t lump too many tasks together, or you’ll end up with a novel for each task. On the other hand, you don’t need a full SOP for each granular step. Find a good balance between enough but not too much.

Involve subject matter experts

All standard operating procedures should be developed with input from subject matter experts who have firsthand knowledge of the task or process being documented. This ensures that the SOP is accurate and reflects the best practices for that particular activity. Experts can also help identify potential risks or hazards that should be addressed in the SOP.

So when considering who to consult, think about who is actually doing the tasks now, as well as who originally set up the task. Get input on how it’s being done now vs how everyone would like it to be done. Then, outline the steps and see if you can reduce any redundancies without too much effort.

Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. The goal is to get it documented and move forward. But if you see opportunities to make small improvements in the process when you start listing out the steps, feel free to make them.

Start with the most important processes

Identify the most critical processes in your business that require SOPs. Prioritise these processes and create SOPs for them first. This will help you see the impact of SOPs on your business and give you a template for creating SOPs for other business processes.

Write clear and concise instructions

The instructions in the SOP should be written in clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Use bullet points, diagrams, or flowcharts to break down complex procedures into simple steps. Avoid using technical jargon or acronyms that may be unfamiliar to the intended audience.

Review and revise regularly

SOPs should be reviewed and revised regularly to ensure that they remain up-to-date and relevant. This includes updating the SOP to reflect changes in the process or technology, incorporating feedback from users, and addressing any errors or omissions. Regular review and revision also help to ensure that the SOP remains effective over time.

Write the SOP

When creating an SOP document, it’s important to include specific details about what needs to be done. Start by outlining the purpose of the procedure so everyone knows why they’re doing it. Then list out all of the roles and responsibilities involved along with any materials or equipment needed for each step.

Next, you’ll need to write down each step in detail in a specific order – this should be simple enough that anyone can understand what needs to happen without having additional questions or getting confused midway through an action item.

Finally, make sure you specify any expected outcomes as well as potential risks or hazards associated with completing the process successfully. Once everything is written up properly then you have an effective SOP!

Common tasks perfect for your first SOPs

When systemising your small business, the first step is deciding which tasks you want to systemise with a standard operating procedure (SOP). This can be one of the most difficult parts of systemisation as there are so many different tasks that need to be done. However, it’s important to identify the most critical processes and get those documented first.

Start by looking at the daily operations that occur in your business and prioritise them based on their importance or frequency. Then break down each task into its individual steps and create an SOP for each process. Once you have these core procedures in place, you can start systemising other areas of your business such as customer service or marketing.

Here are some repetitive tasks in most businesses that would benefit from a good SOP:

  • Order fulfilment: cover the processes for receiving, processing, and shipping customer orders, including how to handle returns or exchanges.
  • Customer care process: detail how to handle customer FAQs, complaints, or issues, including communication protocols and response times. This a great start to making sure your business is managing client expectations proactively.
  • Website maintenance: outline the processes for updating website content, including product descriptions, images, pricing, and promotions.
  • Social media management: detail the processes for managing social media accounts, including content creation, scheduling, and engagement with followers.
  • Marketing and advertising: outline the processes for creating and executing marketing campaigns, including email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and content marketing.
  • Content creation: detail the process for creating high-quality, SEO-optimised content for the website, including blog posts, product reviews, and tutorials.
  • Team onboarding: outline the steps to bring on new team members including logins, required training, important contacts, etc.
  • Client/customer onboarding: cover all the steps required to welcome new customers or clients into your business in a way that makes them feel confident and secure in the decision they made to work with you. This is one way a strong customer relationship is built.

These are just a few of the endless tasks that can be systemised using SOPs that will make a serious impact on the efficiency and ease of running your business.

Strategies for implementing SOPs in your organisation

Once you have identified which tasks you want to systemise with a standard operating procedure (SOP), the next step is to implement them in your small business. Here are some strategies to consider when developing and implementing SOPs:

Involve your team

First, make sure that everyone involved in the systemisation process understands how it works and why it’s important to systemise. Make sure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities within the systemisation process, as well as any potential risks associated with it.

Standardise the process

Next, create a standard SOP template that all employees can follow when systemising their tasks. This will make it much easier for them to write up their SOPs and ensure that they’re all consistent in format.

Use technology

The right technology can make the implementation of SOPs easier and more efficient. Consider using tools to create and manage SOPs (we talk about a few options, below). This can help you save time and resources while ensuring that your SOPs are up-to-date and accessible to everyone in your team.

Provide training and feedback opportunities

Then, schedule regular training sessions and meetings to review systemised SOPs to make sure everyone is following them correctly. These training sessions should also provide an opportunity for feedback on the systemisation process and any suggestions for improvement.

By following these strategies, you can ensure that systemising your online business or small business with SOPs is a successful process that will bring immense value to your organisation

Tools for creating and managing SOPs

We won’t lie – getting all the processes and knowledge in your head written down can feel time-consuming and overwhelming. But if you start small and just keep at it, you’ll get there. And once you are, you’ll wish you’d done it so much sooner!

Fortunately, there are a lot of different tools and technologies available to help assist in the process. From document creation software to project management systems, these tools can help you systemise your business more efficiently and effectively.

Here are a few options:

  • ClickUp – This is one of our favourite apps for tracking projects, managing tasks, and creating a central repository of SOPs and reference docs. Not to mention optimising your business in many other ways! Check out our article about ClickUp here to get a feel for some of the many ways it can be used to streamline your business.
  • Asana / Trello / Notion / Workflowy / Other task or project management apps – If you already have a task manager you love, most likely it can be used to create, organise, and manage your SOPs.
  • SweetProcess / Process Street / Tallyfy / Other process managers – If you have a large organisation, dedicated process software might be worthwhile. But they are usually more expensive and don’t offer as many different uses as the project/task managers do.
  • Google Docs / Microsoft Word –  You can always keep it simple. Just open your Google Drive, start a new document and do it the old-fashioned way.

All of these programs allow you to easily create documents with templates that make formatting easy, as well as providing features such as spell-checkers and auto-save functions which will save time when writing up SOPs. Additionally, they provide an easy way to share documents with team members so everyone can view and edit them simultaneously.

How systemising with SOPs can help you scale and grow your business

If you want to scale and grow, an essential first step is to systemise and streamline your business. Because the truth is, if your business systems are messy and chaotic, scaling will just increase the chaos exponentially.

By creating SOPs for all the processes, tasks, and knowledge that make up your business operations, you can create a more efficient system that will make achieving success much easier.

Having this information documented also makes it easier to train new employees or outsource work as needed without having to constantly explain things from scratch every time.

And one of the biggest benefits of systemisation? Increased efficiency. Once everything has been systemised and documented properly there’s no need for guesswork or trial-and-error because the process has already been set in stone.

This means tasks are completed faster with fewer mistakes, which saves both time and money in the long run. Additionally, systemising your small business gives you more control over how it operates since everything is outlined clearly – allowing you to quickly identify areas where improvements can be made or changes.

Another great benefit is that systemising your small business allows you to spend more time on the creative and strategic side. Since all the mundane, tedious tasks are systemised, you can focus your energy on the parts of your business that will have a greater impact on growth.

SOPs – the first step in your journey to an efficient, systemised business

Systemising your small business with SOPs is a great way to help streamline operations, save time and money, and ultimately set yourself up for success. Whether you use a dedicated systemisation software or just document your processes in simple documents – systemising is essential for any successful business that wants to scale and grow.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the idea of doing the work to systemise your business. But don’t worry – start small and systemise one area of your business at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have systemised the whole thing and be one step closer to your dream business.

If you would like help from someone who has done it many times, book a free discovery call to discuss how we can assist. Or take advantage of our 60-minute Automation & Optimisation consult, just $99 for a limited time!

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About the Author: Valerie Tate
Marketing | Business Optimisation | Automation

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