How To Set Up Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) In Seven Simple Steps (And Why They’re Important)
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are simple step-by-step guides on how to perform the necessary tasks in your health coaching business. They are critical if you want to grow your business quickly. Today we will look at how to set up standard operating procedures (SOPs) in seven simple steps (and why they’re important).
You can – and should – create SOPs for everything from publishing a new blog post or creating a Facebook ad to getting a new client set up in your system and ready to coach! They remove the guesswork from all the tasks in your business so that you – or someone you hire – can essentially go on autopilot and still run mission critical tasks.
Think about this… you’re sitting on a plane, comfortable and ready to roll with your organic cotton blanket and gluten-free snacks. You take a deep breath to relieve any last-minute anxiety (and because you’re a great health coach and you know the importance of breathing) and look out the window.
But what you see doesn’t help your anxiety.
You see the airline crew going in all different directions, unsure of what to do next. You see them arguing with each other and looking confused. One man tightens the wheel while another one comes along after and loosens it.
The pilot comes on the loudspeaker and tells you to sit back and enjoy the flight and that in just a few minutes you will be well on your way to Los Angeles. The only problem is you’re going to Japan.
At this point, I don’t imagine you would feel very confident about this flight, the crew, or the ability of the pilot to even get you to the right country.
This kind of situation is exactly what SOPs can help you avoid in your own business.
SOPs are step-by-step instructions on how to perform routine operations in your business. They ensure that things get done right every time by removing the guesswork from day-to-day tasks which leaves your clients and followers feeling confident in your and your company’s abilities.
Your clients may never see your SOPs but they will absolutely be able to tell if you have them based solely on how your business runs.
The right SOPs can help you deliver high-quality service, grow your business quickly, and focus on doing the work that matters.
Let’s take a look at how to create an SOP in seven simple steps:
1. START WITH THE BASICS
When writing an SOP, the easiest and honestly the ONLY way to do it is to start is with the basics. What are the most basic steps to running your business? Is it sending and receiving your client intake forms, processing payments from your clients, or posting articles to your blog? Make a list of the routine tasks you do on a regular basis. You will use this list to create your first SOPs.
Once you have your list, choose the number one most important task to your business, such as processing payments. This will be your very first SOP!
Keep in mind that an amazing SOP will be written to where anyone off the street or can read each step and complete the process without any other training! As you grow, your SOPs will make it easy to hire people to do the routine work of your business at the high standard you’ve set while you focus on getting and coaching clients.
2. DEFINE THE GOAL OF YOUR SOP
What is it that you want the SOP to accomplish? The goal of your SOP could be to instruct others how to publish a blog post or it could be a checklist for onboarding a new client that removes the guesswork so you don’t miss a thing! This is the very definition of how you can scale your business and so it doesn’t just live in your head!
3. CREATE A FORMAT FOR YOUR SOP THAT WON’T CHANGE
SOPs don’t have to be complicated. You can choose the format to be a simple checklist, screenshots (ITN’s favorite), or even a video. Also, make sure the format for your SOPs are consistent so they are easy to understand, reference and use.
4. WRITE YOUR SOP
When writing out the steps in your SOP, go through the process simultaneously so you don’t miss a thing. Recalling the steps from memory is never a good method. Be sure to take the time to document every single step and detail, no matter how small!
5. PUT IT TO THE TEST
Never assume your SOP is good to go after creating it. Have the person who is actually completing the process (even if that’s you) use the SOP to ensure there are no missing steps or details.
6. EDIT AND CORRECT AS NEEDED
Make any necessary corrections to the SOP and save it as a finalized file. A great naming convention we like to use at ITN is “SOP_NAME OF PROCESS_DATE_V01”. The V stands for version, every time you make a change, the version will change to the next number V01, V02, etc. This will ensure you are always using the most up-do-date process.
7. STORE IT SOMEWHERE THAT IT CAN EASILY BE SHARED
Place your SOP somewhere it can easily be accessed by anyone needing to use it – you included! You can save it as a Google Doc or toss it into Dropbox. You can also check out SweetProcess, an online software made specifically for storing your SOPs. Find what works for you and then use it!
Keep in mind, creating SOPs is important even if you are the only person working in your business and you think it will stay like that for a while.
SOPs make doing the work you need to do easier and faster. They help to ensure that you don’t leave anything out and that things are done consistently saving you time and money so you can focus on the important things.
And, when you are ready to grow, they save time, money, and sanity as you are delegating work to others!