Why Your Small Business Needs Standard Operating Procedures (and How They Can Help You Better Manage Your Time and Resources)
At the core of any successful business operation are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs have many benefits, from helping to define your business goals to ensuring that you stay compliant with industry regulations and laws. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the benefits of SOPs, how they can help you better manage your time and resources, and some tips on how to create effective SOPs.
What are Standard Operating Procedures?
To keep your business running smoothly, you need to have procedures in place for each major department. These are essential tools that can help with problem-solving, decision-making, delegation, and employee communication. For example, you might want a procedure for hiring new staff members or deciding how to develop a new product line. Similarly, having regular meetings with employees allows you to share expectations and find out if they’re struggling to meet them. Having clear SOPs also helps you get rid of tasks that take up too much time and resources — for instance, by delegating tasks to other team members or by letting them know what tools they need to use in certain situations. If you don’t already have SOPs in place, now is a good time to start creating them!
The Components of a Good SOP
SOPs are a great tool for making sure that processes are adhered to, no matter who is doing them. To create your own SOPs, you have to have a good understanding of both your business and its industry. First, figure out what your business needs to make sure is happening each time one of these tasks is being done. Then, think about which tasks need to be performed more than once by more than one person. When it comes to developing an SOP you can use it as a reference in training new hires or reminding existing staff members what needs to be done, think of everything as well-rounded circles or squares — that is, each component should touch every other component in some way.
Examples of Good SOPs
A standard operating procedure is something that most businesses are expected to have, especially if they do anything out of the ordinary or that requires a lot of skill or thought. These documents can vary widely, depending on what type of business you run, but they all share common elements. For example, a food-service SOP will likely detail how your restaurant should go about cooking food in order to ensure quality; an auto shop SOP might cover everything from what sort of grease should be used to service customers’ cars to when certain brake components need replacing. Some SOPs even include contact information for different staff members — for example, a technician’s cell phone number — so that customers can reach someone in case of emergency.
For companies that work remotely, standard operating procedures can detail important duties employees need to work on daily. For example, an assistant needs to review the calendar daily for upcoming meetings and send reminders, or a web developer needs to check certain pages each day to ensure they are running smoothly.
SOPs are really up to you and can be whatever you want — the main thing is that you have them in place so employees can use them as references to get the job done. What are some SOPs you have in place for your business that you think others would benefit from replicating? Reach out and let us know!