Documenting standard operating procedures (SOPs) is important if you want to scale your business. According to Merriam-Webster, standard operating procedures are “established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations.”

When I think of SOPs, I immediately think of military operations, but they are very relevant for a small business. Even if you don’t want to grow a big company, they are still important for creating consistent customer outcomes. 

And maybe for your sanity.

Creating a consistent and positive customer experience is a goal for any successful business. Consistency benefits your brand and reputation. It also makes you and your employees’ work life more predictable, which in this case is a very good thing. 

Also, when you are onboarding new employees and contractors, you’ll want to have your SOPs ready and not be scrambling to capture that information.

When people work for you, you want them to be doing things your way. They don’t come in knowing how you like things done – you have to train them. 

We haven’t talked much about how important SOPs are here on the blog, but we probably should. It is easier to do this as you go and grow than to try to figure out each step you go through when you have been doing it for so long that it’s automatic. 

What got me thinking about this was a post from my colleague, Karl Staib. I met him when I was a guest on his Dig to Fly podcast. Karl posted this on LinkedIn:

I will admit that I cringed at a few of these reasons because they were definitely true for me. I am guessing some of these are true for you. 

It could be helpful to document how you onboard clients. What do you send them to welcome them? What do they need to do when they start working for you? How do you capture their information in a CRM or other system? 

I am embarrassed to say that I only recently created a standard onboarding letter that I will send to all new VIP clients. It will make my life much easier and the client will know exactly how to get started with us.

Currently, I am bringing on someone to help me with social media. I started documenting everything that I do and what platforms I have. It was kind of a shock. It is way too much for me to do, and now I know why my social media presence is a little haphazard.

I needed to document what posts should get shared on what platforms and how often. I also wanted to ensure that we are creating content that supports all the different aspects of my business, including my career transition coaching, small business strategy consulting, and my book. In addition, I wanted to consistently promote some of my evergreen cornerstone content like my TEDx talk, some webinars I have done, and a few videos that everyone tells me are helpful. 

I am going to continue documenting how I want things done so I can stop doing some of these things in my business. If I have SOPs in place, I can easily train someone to help me and be confident that they will be doing things the way I want them done. 

That said, if they have a suggestion for improving one of my processes, I will absolutely be open to that. Process improvement is something you always want to be thinking about as a small business owner. 

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