Episode 133

Get Excited About Your SOPs

September 20th, 2023


Today we’re exploring into the world of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and why we should be excited about them in our businesses.
We dive into:
  • Understanding the sub processes in your business
  • Why you should be capturing the information in a central place
  • Benefiting from less mistakes
  • Transforming your intellectual property to business property
  • Tips for creating SOPs
Connect with Nicole on Instagram and LinkedIn


Welcome to Take Control with Nicole. As business owners, we experience first hand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be.

If you are looking for smarter ways to work, And create space and time freedom in your day, then you are in the right place. All right, let’s go. Hello, I’m Nicole Smith, c o o, operations specialist and systems designer from the Artisan Business Solutions, and welcome to Take Control with Nicole. Ooh, today is an exciting one.

Something that gets us so happy and thrilled over here at the Artisans is the art of the s o P. Now, what is an SOP I hear you ask. Well, Today, we’re going to explore all about that. And why is it that we should actually really be excited about them as well for our own businesses? Right, let’s dive in.

SOP, Standard Operating Procedure. These are those documents that you hear about all the time in business that really capture the experience that you are creating there for your internal processes. These are the steps that are to be followed, the experience to be experienced, the process, the systems, the people, all the things that coming together, create that beautiful way of working that is perfect and unique for the way that you want your business to be done each and every day.

Now these are focused around a specific task, a specific action, a specific something in your business. You may have multiple of them. One of our fabulous clients we’re working with at the moment, they’re in the HR field. Uh, we are looking at multiple sub processes for them to support their retainer clients.

Being able to really outline all of those individual actions that they go through each and every day. Now, boy oh boy, is this an activity of awareness. We go through the day-to-day easily. Don’t dancing in between those actions when you create that space to actually have a think about what is it that goes into the delivery of project, the delivery of service or creating that new product and you actually have a look at all of those steps involved.

You may be quite surprised as all of those micro-moments link together in a beautiful workflow if that’s the way you’re going to go all come together to create that way of working for you. So why are they really important? Why should I, as a business owner, it’s only me, if I’m a solo printer, or maybe I’ve got a team of one or two, maybe I’m growing to a team of 50.

Why is it that it’s really important for my business to a have SOPs and actually why would I need to refer back to it? I know what I’m doing. This is easy. I’ve worked this way forever. Why should I actually capture that information into a central place? Well, here’s a little secret for you. By the creation of your standard operating procedures, you are encouraging consistency.

You’re encouraging improvement in efficiencies. And as a result, the quality of the output of your work for your clients, for your team as well, you know, where we’re at day and day. And we’ve got multiple people operating in and out of things. We all have our own personal unique way of working. However, when we are working for an organization where we’ve got clients, the experience from the external internal, we want that to be seamless and beautiful and easy and enjoyable for whoever they are dealing with within your organization.

How that is achieved is through standard operating procedures. Let’s put a lens on it from a call center. We’ve all had those calls from the health fund or, uh, you know, someone trying to, uh, sell solar panels or update the lights in the kitchen. And you will find that they have a script that they follow.

They know that, uh, on their board. They’ve got the first. Hello. Is Mrs. Smith available to speak with? Yes. This is Mrs. Smith. If I feel like I’m in the mood to talk to someone, I don’t know who they are. Fabulous. Have you heard about X, Y, Z, da, da, da, da. We’re going to come to a junction. We’re going to come to that logic.

Yes or no. And so the caller, the person in the call center has their logic tree, has their SOP scripts that they know. Okay. Caller has said yes. We’re going to go this way up. Caller has said, no, fabulous. We’re going to go this way. Now without that guide, without that map, that operating process, your team are just going to be making the best decisions that they can with the capacity that they actually have.

Is it the right decision? Maybe if they’ve been around for long enough, they may have really picked up your unique way of working. They’re almost working side by side with you. And if they were you, however, with a new human that comes into your business, they’ve not yet had the time or the energy, the capacity to actually start to pick up those intricacies that just daily happen in the office.

Or if you’re working remotely, there’s even more of a barrier and a challenge there. So when we invest that energy in their time to actually outline your way of working in your process document, you’re supporting the success of your team. You’re the supporting the success of your business and you’re supporting the experience that you want to create for your clients and your internal operations.

Something to think about as well as SOPs can really help to reduce errors and accidents. Oh, we don’t want any of those accidents to happen if you are a remote user or wherever it might be, regardless of where you are. To be fair, having an SOP in place really supports your team to feel confident in what they’re doing.

So as part of your onboarding for your new team members, your new people in your business training. A big element.

And it’s not just training on how to use a system, say like ClickUp, anybody can go out there and use ClickUp right? They can press some buttons, they’ll learn about the things they’ll understand the statuses and you know how to do this, but it’s the wise. Why do we design it this way? How can our clients benefit from the knowledge that we’ve acquired over the years to work with their systems, uh, to be able to structure their processes in place, to give them really great example.

Now, when you have that training and that real focus on support at the front end of your new employment journey or your contractor journey, you’re going to support them to make less mistakes. Because you’ve already given them the foundations and the tools to set them up for success going forward. Now, we already mentioned a few of the benefits of SOPs, but there are so many far and wide, but one that some people do not connect with right now is that investing energy and time to develop your SOPs will actually.

Return on investment is, is amazing. You know, if you go in the future to sell your business or have a merger or whatever it might be, and you’ve got a set of documentation, all beautifully outlined, that is really clear and concise on the flowing through and, and really giving that client experience or that experience that you’re looking to create.

You’ve now transformed the business IP that is sitting currently in your mind or in your team’s mind, which is even more of a risk over into business IP. Right? So you’ve transformed it from just a business to a turnkey operation so that anybody who comes in as a new business leader, they don’t need to sit there and sift through all the things and like all of that IP just walked out the door with you as you’ve celebrating the sale of your business.

They can walk in confidently. Having all of those documentations ready and raring to go and the cost of your business, the investment of your business has gone up because of this particular asset that you have created for your business. Oh, so exciting. Now, obviously there may be some challenges starting.

Where do we actually start? Why do we actually start? Look, the thing is, I think if you have something that you’re repeating day in, day out, or if there’s something that you definitely going to delegate outwards, Just start small. Think about those really key areas in your business that you want to capture that are really important.

They might be the revenue-driving processes. They could be something that you feel has been a bit clunky for a bit and you’re not sure why. That’s where you can start. Start with a few key processes and gradually continually build on them over time. This is not something that we need to get done straight away.

This is something that you can gradually acquire and accumulate over time, really starting with those key areas, getting really beautifully in tune with. How that works and then all of a sudden you’ll have this gorgeous SOP library in your business ready and raring to welcome on any team members as they come in.

You’re going forward as you continue to grow. Now something that I was having a conversation with just earlier today. It’s around the input from your team. Now, when we’re doing any change management, any shifting from A to Z or A to B, even in the smallest of shifts, being able to actually bring our team on board is a really important exercise.

And the other thing as well, when we’re creating our SOPs, uh, if you are not the primary person that is creating or doing that action, are you the right person to be able to actually document that process? I would always look at who is it in my business who is completing that action right now. Fabulous.

Let’s capture their IP because this is one of those, like a little holes in the wall. We look at ourselves as the business leaders to be the only holders of the business information, but every person that comes in your door is collecting pieces of IP that will support them to understand how you work.

Absolutely. And for the time that they’re there are going to serve you and your clients beautifully. But as they evolve and they learn more, every conversation, as we know, we learn more. They’re going to be moving and shifting and shaking and really creating these new ways that are You need to them. I’ve seen it happen before where we’ve had people in businesses for 15 plus years and no documentation, they’ve now left the business and there is this gaping big hole of, Oh my goodness, what actually did they do now?

They may have been. Uh, hiding some things that weren’t being done correctly. So that is also a bit of a warning sign. If anyone is resistant to supporting the SOP process journey, there might be a bigger question at play there. Maybe not, but have that opportunity to take that lead on this journey of documenting your processes for your business as in the longterm, this is going to really pay off in, you know, to really give you that efficiencies and streamlines that you’re looking for.

Keep them simple. I have read some technical documentation from IT platforms before that it was so convoluted that you had to basically had a degree in tech to understand what was going on. Why are we doing this thing? So many analogies, not analogies, what are they called? Little intricacies that really, all the terms, the technical terms that Really, we didn’t need to be using that to be able to explain.

So keep it simple. Remember, the people that are going to be accessing these SOPs have never done the job before your way. They may have done the thing before, but they haven’t done it your way before. So keep it simple. If there are particular pieces of jargon or technical terms that you are needing to reference, have a glossary at the start, word, meaning, in this context, this means this.

More information, be really clear. Sometimes our processes do have to be a bit meaty. They have to really involve a lot of steps, and that is just how it is. However, where we can, let’s keep them really simple or provide that extra information that is really needed. And finally, make them accessible. So, we’re not only talking about location in a central library, have a really good reference system in place, naming conventions, all of that stuff, which is really important.

But what we’re talking about here is accessibility. Have them in different formats. So, So audio, video, text, workflows, diagrams, whatever it might be that supports you to get your message across. This does or may take a little bit more time to perfect the way that you like to see it. However, in the longterm, again, you don’t know who’s coming in your door in the next six months, year, three years, five years, whatever it might be.

And investing in that energy now to shape these beautiful processes and SOPs in a way will support you. Long term, these investments of time are foundational investments for the duration and longer of your business. We’re not looking at just tomorrow. We’re thinking future state. Where will I be in five years time?

And how can I look at doing these things now that are going to support us through each iteration of our business? Well, I hope you’re getting excited about SOPs because we love it over here. We’d love to hear, have you already started your SOP journey or are you really inspired after this conversation today and you’ve already opened up that ClickUp doc and you are creating a way.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope you have the most fabulous rest of your week creating clever systems. For your business. Bye now. Well, there we go. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such a pleasure having you on board. Have we connected on the socials yet? If not, please come on over and say hi.

I’m on all the platforms @theartisanssolutions So I’d really look. you over there. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, don’t forget to tag me and I’d love it if you could leave a review and of course share this with others so others can come and join us next time. All right then everyone, have a fabulous rest of the week and until next time, see you then.


Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.