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Why SOPs are important and how to create one

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Have you ever worked with a Virtual Assistant before, assign a task, and the way they execute it, as well as the results, are completely different from what you expected? 

You have this clear picture in your head of how things should be done together with the outcome, but time and time again, you get disappointed, and now you’ve become frustrated.

Fact: No one will be able to know how you wanted things to be done unless you explicitly tell your team how to do it and let them know the expected outcome. And what better way to do this than by creating an SOP?

Let’s define SOP and why it’s a must for every business owner.

SOPs or Standard Operating Procedures are step-by-step instructions describing how to perform a certain task. Pretty straightforward, right? 

But, why does it sound too tedious and time-consuming? Because it IS  tedious and time-consuming. On the other hand, once it’s properly set up, you’ll reap tons of benefits from it.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll have:

  1. Efficiency
    When there isn’t a defined way of completing a task, your team will spend most of their time figuring out how to do it which means, it would cost you time and money (especially if you’re paying by the hour). Using SOPs gives your team a definite way how to get things done.
  2. Consistency
    Having SOPs in place will help your team produce consistent results. Even your most recent hire can execute a task and generate the same outcome because the step-by-step procedure had already been laid out.
  3. Scalability
    SOPs can save you time and money which means you can allocate these to growing your business and training new team members. No more spending countless hours on zoom training your new hires when you can give them access to your SOPs and they can get things done quickly and effectively. 

Now that we’ve established the importance of SOPs, let’s look into how to get started with creating one for your business.

  1. Online Storage – figure out where you would like to store all of your SOPs. This could be on GDrive, Box, Dropbox, Notion or whatever online storage or database you prefer.
  2. Outline your process – your process document should at least have the following information:
    • Process title
    • Department/Category – This could be Admin, Tech, Finance, etc, depending on the structure of your business
    • Owner – the person in charge of creating and updating the process
    • What you need – list down everything that is needed to perform and accomplish the task
    • Step-by-Step Instructions 

Tip: Record yourself doing the task and then document it that way you won’t miss a step. 

  1. Test the SOP and make adjustments – have someone from your team test the SOP and make adjustments if necessary.
  2. Keep your SOPs up-to-date – As your business grows, there will be instances that some of your existing platforms will change and your way of doing things will be modified as well, so to keep you and your team on the same page, make sure to keep your SOPs up-to-date. Also, this is where the owner of the SOPs comes into play as they will be responsible for updating the SOPs accordingly.
  3. Make it your own – Feel free to customize your SOPs – add details that you think your team might find useful, or add stickers or images to make it more fun and enjoyable to read. 🙂 

Now that we’ve laid out the foundation of a good SOP, here are a few sample tasks that you can get started with:

  1. Client Onboarding Process
  2. Uploading blog posts
  3. Scheduling social media posts
  4. Or any tasks that you don’t enjoy doing so you can easily delegate them to your team!

If you’d like your team to succeed in their roles from the get-go, having SOPs in place will definitely help you make that happen. As a virtual assistant, I know very well how time-consuming it is to learn a process for a client who doesn’t have SOPs in place.  Having SOPs can also help make your team independent – less hassle for you. 

So what’s your next step? 

Do you want to get started setting up your own SOP? Drop me a message and we can get the conversation started. 

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