If you read our first and second posts in this series on Standard Operating Procedures, you may be wondering how to get started. How do you find a good template? How do you know what works for you? What are the best steps for small business SOPs?
Today, we’re looking at 5 steps to get started.
Do You have an Outline?
To being creating your SOPs, you’ll need an outline. What should be included? Well…everything. That may sound exaggerated, but to have a proper SOP document in place, you will need an outline of every task and procedure that takes place within your company.
Whether your business has 5 employees or 300, it’s important to have an outline of each step that factors into the day to day running of the company. You will need to ensure that your outline is thorough, but that may require help from people within the individual departments.
Do You Know Your Departments?
Does your company have two people covering everything from operations to sales to media and more? No matter what size your brand may be, you need to know each departtment. Without having them broken down, it’s hard to get to the bottom of those steps mentioned above.
For instance, your sales team alone may have 8 or 9 different SOPs, from the steps used in generating leads, to the processes of cold calling, all the way through to passing a closed sale onto the fulfillment department. It’s important that each department thoroughly track each task so your final SOP document contains all you need.
What’s the Order of Steps?
What’s the order of each task and how will you arrange your document? Chances are, you will want your SOP document arranged by department so that new employees can easily find what they’re looking for. But you may also want some guidance on the chornological order. For instance, your billing department may need to take half the payment before the completion of a project, and then come back at the end of the project for the remainder.
Even within the departments, ensure that you have everything in order. It’s important that if a document starts in marketing and ends up in operations, that document must be included in the SOPs for both.
What Should be Included in Each SOP?
So, what actually goes into your SOPs? That’s really up to you. A few things to include on each individual procedure may be:
- The purpose of the SOP
- People or departments involved in the SOP
- The list of individual tasks involved in that action
- The desired result
- Any internal documents or legal requirements necessary
- Additional notes
In truth, what you include can go way beyond this, just depending on what you need. There are templates available online, but it’s best to work with someone who can customize your SOPs to what your brand or business needs.
Who’s Going to Create Your SOPs?
The biggest step to consider when creating SOPs is simple the matter of Who?
Is someone in your operations department going to complete it? Will you have each individual department fill out the outline and then have a higher-up aggregate and edit them to be in line with what the owner wants? Or will you reach out to someone outside the company who isn’t lost in the weeds of their day-to-day tasks?
If you don’t have anyone within the company ready to take on the task, Planify™ is here to help. We work with companies to create and sustain their SOPs, gathering information, conducting interviews, writing, and compiling your company’s processes.
Having documented SOPs for your business are extremely beneficial. Whether you intend to do them in-house or hire outside, they are worthwhile to have on hand. What matters most is getting started. Once you create your outline, know your departments, understand the order of steps, know what needs to be included, and know who is going to create your document, you’re ready to move forward.