If you hired someone today, how would you show them the way you like tasks to be completed? Or, for that matter, what tasks are even needed? Chances are you have a dusty binder with instructions from a few years ago, a few email threads, and maybe a shared doc that a former team member updated to the best of his or her abilities. If this sounds like you, then we need to chat about Standard Operating Procedures, aka SOPs.
WHAT ARE STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES?
Experts agree that as your business grows, you will begin to need standard operating procedures more and more. After all, eventually you will move from making all the decisions and actions internally to delegating some of them. This is also a big part of moving from Rainmaker to Architect in your business. (That’s a core concept here at Business Growth Curator.) Remember, you can’t delegate a task if your team has no way to learn how you’d like it done.
Maybe you’ve heard of SOPs before. You probably even have something along the lines of them. However, there is a really good chance that what you have isn’t serving you. Your team may forget to ask for help. They also might find the instructions unclear or outdated. Or, those instructions simply don’t exist. Any of these situations, or a combination of them, will lead to you and your team being frustrated. And why not? If the instructions exist, then you will wonder why they aren’t being followed. More importantly, your team will begin to ignore your SOPs, because they do not find them helpful.
I think the use of SOPs is like the assembly of furniture from IKEA. If you aren’t family with IKEA, think of any big box store with DIY assembly furniture. A few years ago, I ordered a desk. If we’re being honest, every time I have to assemble furniture, I’m the worst about reading the instructions. I just don’t do it that way! Instead, I like to try to figure it out. Then, whenever I get stuck, I try to go back to the instructions.
This is probably similar to how your team uses SOPs. Someone might be like me. They don’t like to follow instructions. If this is you, then you’d rather figure it out yourself along the way. However, the way you like to do things may not be the way your team likes to do things. Unfortunately, your way may not be the most effective way to do it.
HOW TO CREATE GOOD SOPs
So how do you make standard operating procedures more user-friendly? You’ll need to think about learning styles, training, and delivery.
Let’s talk about learning styles first. People learn a few different ways. The main learning styles often recognized are auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and reading and writing. You may be a combination of these, and your team probably is too. However, the your team needs a documented way that you want things done in your business. Even more importantly, it needs to be useful for them.
Unfortunately, we often default to something we put down years ago. And while written out instructions are great, our teams may not use them. In fact, they are often used to other methods of gaining information. They’re on social media and watching videos throughout the day. They might watch fifteen Tik Toks on their way to the bathroom!
This learning gap leads to one of my biggest tips. I think that you should use video whenever you create SOPs. This allows people to see, hear, and follow along. They can even take notes if they want to! One way I really like to store video SOPs is through Trainual. It allows you to store all your business assets. In addition, you can upload written instructions. When you use something like this, it immediately up-levels your SOP delivery. It also makes them easier for you team to use.
A lot of times people don’t want to go through an instruction manual, but they’ll access videos anytime. Videos less than 5 minutes are best whenever possible. If you’re trying to show computer work or cloud-based software, consider creating videos with Loom. There is a free version of this app, and it allows you to share the screen and record audio as well.
Then, consider how you’re delivering instructions. Short, clear, and simple instructions are best. This makes them easier to follow and reduces room for confusion. If you’re following the five minute video rule of thumb, it will be easier for you to keep things short and to the point!
CREATE YOUR SOPs
If you need help getting started with SOPs, this article will help you get started. Then, you need to set some time aside to create a few SOPs. They are so important if you want to grow your leadership and scale your business! Even if you don’t have time this week, try to get it done before the new quarter.
Because I believe that SOPs are crucial assets in your business, I’ll be teaching a workshop all about SOPs on January 20th, 2022! Remember, income follows assets. SOPs will create additional income for you as your team follows them.
Be sure to register today for that workshop. We will not only move step by step through creating them, but I’ll guide you through pitfalls and questions in real time.
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