Standard operating procedure or SOP is an important document to any organization. It’s a set of instructions to help team members carry out routine tasks. It helps ensure everyone is operating on the same page.
I regularly frequent the same Mexican restaurant. In fact, my husband and I probably go on average every couple of weeks. I always order the exact same thing: a chicken burrito. However, what either one actually tastes like varies. Most of the time my chicken burrito is just shredded chicken with cheese and red sauce on it. Occasionally, though, the burrito has refried beans in it.
Other times, it has no refried beans but has green peppers and onion (sometimes quite a few). Every now and then, it comes with no cheese – yikes! I need my cheese!
This restaurant could use a standard operating procedure for their kitchen. My bet is there are different cooks, and they aren’t following the same recipe, if you will. As a consumer, I’d like to know what I’m getting when I order – and since I order the same thing every time, I’d like it to be consistent.
We have just discovered a new to us Mexican restaurant in another town, but about the same distance as other restaurant, and have decided due to the lack of consistency, we’re going to give the new restaurant a try for our regular Mexican meal! We’ve eaten there once and the chicken burrito was FULL of chicken! I’ll let you know if it is that way CONSISTENTLY!
As an entrepreneur, maybe it’s only you right now. It’s still a great time to write up procedures. I’m speaking from experience here. Even though I have a team, I do quite a bit of my own stuff, and I’ve also had to transition some tasks from one team member to another. It’s been eye-opening how important it would have been to have procedures written down for the administrative side of my business! I didn’t and hindsight is 20/20 on this.
I’m telling you… You may not think that right now it’s important to have your procedures written out, but it is.
What if your assistant got hit by the proverbial bus? Would someone else be able to step in seamlessly and take over those tasks? In my situation, fortunately, myself and the old team member were available to answer questions, but it would have been so much easier for the new team member to have procedures to follow.
What do you put in your procedures? This varies. Some people believe that the SOPs should be a step-by-step how-to-do-it. So it’s literally, go to the upper left hand corner and click, go to lower right-hand corner and click this, do this, do that.
Other people believe that the standard operating procedure should be written for people who already know how to use the system, but it gives information specific to your company. For instance, in the case of sending your ezine through Infusionsoft. What day/time do you like it to go? What tags receive it? Do you want to see a test before it goes? I don’t believe I need to tell someone to go to CRM, then to Contacts, then down to Tags and search for “Ezine”. I believe just saying that the “Ezine” tag is who gets the newsletter is sufficient.
The caveat to that might be if you’re using a system that is proprietary to your industry and not very many people know how to use it, then you may want to consider doing the step-by-step how-to-do-it type of procedure.
For my business, we have multiple SOPs. They’re in the works now, but we have one for our Client Success Managers, one for all team members, one for our admin staff (this one deals with my own business-related stuff like onboarding new team members, setting up blog posts, sending my ezine, etc) and then we have a standard operating procedure for each client.
If you’d like help getting your standard operating procedure in order, schedule a call with me now!