Before Jacqui and I started our business we both worked at jobs where standard operating procedures ( SOP’s ) were either non-existent or were vaguely written and never followed.
In either case the results were the same, it created an environment where things were always chaotic, productivity was very inefficient, errors were unusually high and accountability was virtually non-existent.
Speaking from personal experience, when I started at that particular job my instructions were basically try and figure things out and if you get stuck just ask one of your more experienced colleagues to help you. I very quickly learned that everyone had their own way of doing things, any form of standardization was non-existent.
So when we decided we wanted to start our own business, one of the first things we agreed on was that we would start out recording SOP’s from the very beginning. So with that being said, let’s dive straight in.
What Are Standard Operating Procedures?
Standard operating procedures are a set of highly detailed written instructions that describe how to perform any function with-in your business, the procedure should be detailed enough that anyone in your organization from a new hire to the CEO could execute the operation to the same exact standard.
Why is it important to have easy to follow SOP’s?
Creating a calm, confident working environment
I’m sure we can all agree that most people do not enjoy working in an environment that is always frantic and chaotic, how is anyone supposed to get anything done when they’re not sure that they’re doing the task correctly, making tons of mistakes and having to redo tasks all the time.
This is where a well written SOP steps in to save the day, it’s going to allow everyone to perform their tasks from a place of certainty and predictability. When people can perform their tasks without constantly questioning the how and the why’s of the task they are freed up to perform at their A-level which fosters a positive outlook of the work environment and builds confidence within the entire team.
Ensuring consistent results
The very nature of an SOP is to ensure consistent results of the highest possible standard. I’m pretty sure nobody starts a business with the idea that they would like to deliver a mediocre product or service.
Mediocrity is the fastest way to find yourself out of business, when you have highly effective procedures in place it is going to prevent you or your employees from making mistakes, skipping critical steps in a process which if left unchecked invariably lead to a sub-par product or service delivered to your client.
Creates a culture of accountability
In an Ideal world everyone behaves in a responsible manner and everyone takes ownership of their mistakes. The reality is a bit different in most working environments, it’s all too commonplace to hear things like “ I didn’t know this was my responsibility” , “ Nobody told me” or “ this is how it was taught to me”.
Having effective SOPs in place takes all the ambiguity out of a task allowing for a step by step analysis of the task, determining who was responsible for the task and at which point the person deviated from the proper execution of the task. This will hold owners, managers and employees accountable.
The last thing any business needs is to be hampered in its decision making process, missing out on an opportunity could literally be the end of a business. Imagine if it was your business which missed out on a golden opportunity because it was unclear as to who needed to sign off on the deal.
SOPs help to eliminate time wasting when it comes to making important decisions and allows you to make the correct decisions every time.
In any competitive market there is a constant need to refine and improve your products or services, failing to do so will see your business rapidly fall behind the competition.
Having effective SOPs in place allows you to quickly and efficiently identify where improvements and adjustments are needed on an ongoing basis, always keeping you at the forefront of your industry.
Most business owners’ eyes glaze over when they hear the words, SOP’s, systems and automations, but this is literally our happy place, so if you need help with this book a discovery call and let’s chat about how we can help your business become more streamlined and productive.