As incredible as it might sound, a century ago “Made in Japan” meant quite the opposite of the quality seal we think about today. All that changed after WWII. Part of the reconstruction plan included standardizing the production. The lesson to be learned here is that standards create quality and replicability.
What are SOPs?
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are sets of rules which dictate how you operate as a business. These are instructions which help you train your people and continue running in case of illnesses, unplanned leave or other chaos situations.
As a coach, you know the things can get hectic. That is precisely why you need always to know who is in charge of what and how things are getting along.
You don’t have to think it’s complicated. A standard operating procedure is simply a list describing who is responsible, what are the expected outcomes, the milestones of the project any resources necessary as well as the skills which are required, and, eventually, the place where the task is performed.
The document also includes a step by step description of the actions to be performed together with the expected performances or results. To create an SOP, you need to walk through the entire process as you would explain it to a newcomer. The significant advantage is that you only have to do this once.
Why Do You Need SOPs In Place?
Creating an SOP is a useful exercise for any entrepreneur. It gives you the opportunity to test if your process is clear, if you have a good understanding of the necessary resources, and if you are aware of all the intermediary steps. This gives you great insight into counseling your clients too.
You might be tempted to say that your business is too small for SOPs. Even if you are the sole owner working with one virtual assistant or more, you can still reap the benefits. Imagine that you have to change VAs. Instead of wasting time and money or training them how to process email, schedule your appointments, or book your vacations, you just send them the SOPs and check if they understood.
Of course, SOPs are most useful in large organizations. Having these documents in place makes managerial decisions more comfortable and less biased.
Not Set In Stone
It's important to understand that Sops should be flexible. Take your time to review them annually and identify any necessary changes updates. Having sops in place shouldn't hinder your development but provide guidance.
Sops shouldn't stop your stuff for from being creative but offered them the comfort of knowing that they are doing the right thing. The final goal is consistency and quality. You can say that the SOP is the recipe which ensures your success.